Crafting a change in beer trends
British brewmaster Robert Beck is the mastermind behind the range of beers at Asia Pacific Breweries' craft-beer brand, Archipelago Brewery.
The 35-year-old, who has been brewing beer for eight years, will be unveiling a limited- edition British India Pale Ale at the fifth Beerfest Asia, which features at least 400 types of beer and runs till Sunday at the Marina Promenade.
What is your definition of craft beer?
Craft beer is a type of beer that is brewed with all-natural ingredients, crafted with a specific flavour profile for that style of beer, and is not pasteurised.
It is typically handcrafted in small batches, often experimental or innovative in style or flavour profile.
There has been an increase in breweries offering craft beer here. How sustainable is this?
Today's modern beer drinkers are savvy, well-travelled, educated and digitally- connected, who have a continuous curiosity to explore uncharted waters.
The local craft-beer scene is growing quite fast. New premium speciality brands, imported brands, craft-beer brands, microbreweries, brewpubs - it's all happening.
Within a short duration of two years, we now have 10 concept outlets.
As a foodie nation, Singapore has a growing interest in what brew goes well with the food choices in a menu.
We also work out various permutations of pairings with the chef so, the next time, instead of seeing the common "chef's recommendation", don't be surprised if you spot our "brewmaster's recommendation".
Are there any trends you foresee in the near future?
Craft-beer trends remain an ever-changing landscape which is true to its form and art.
We certainly see an increasing consumer base trying out new beer styles and increased awareness for craft beers, including a growing familiarity with styles (it is exciting to see consumers talking about ales, India Pale Ales, Wit, Weizen, Porters, to name a few).
Beers which use smoked malt and wood-aged beers are popular.
We are also seeing growth in the discerning-female-drinkers target audience who are comfortably gravitating towards craft beers, which is really great for beer as a drink category overall.
In the short term, say one to two years, we still do not foresee explosive growth of craft-beer styles that are too challenging.
The consumer palate in Singapore is slowly evolving, but it is important to ensure that the different world-beer styles that we are presenting to Singaporeans are still very accessible.
What are some of the most memorable craft beers you've had so far?
I've had bacon-and-maple beer, Earl Grey tea beer and brown ale that was aged with strips of cedar soaked in black rum.
Beerfest Asia runs till Sunday at the Marina Promenade. Tickets start from $15 and are available from Sistic. Visit www.sistic.com.sg