Half Pints #2: Fancy New Beers in Singapore and Hong Kong, New Saigon Taprooms, and More

Pirate Life LimeburnersCourtesy Pirate Life Brewing

Singapore: Adelaide-based Pirate Life Brewing, which we’ve previously covered in an in-depth feature story, teamed up with award-winning Western Australia distillery Limeburners Whisky on a rich 8.6% barrel-aged stout that was recently unveiled for the first time in Singapore. Released in wax-dipped 750ml bottles packaged in the type of fancy box known to move burly bearded men to tears, the stout won’t be around long with only 20 bottles scattered across the island. Temple Cellars, which is managed by Pirate Life’s local importer, for now has a few bottles for in-store purchase only ($46.30). Pirate Life and Limeburners will soon release the stout in Hong Kong and Thailand, too; we’re positive that regional importers Amber Rebellion (HK) and Beervana (TH) would be thrilled if you nagged them for the exact timing.

Thailand/Indonesia: Speaking of our friends at Beervana, they’re one of the first and most successful craft import companies in Thailand and Indonesia. In addition to mainstay breweries like Deschutes, Stone, and Rogue, these days Beervana’s portfolio also includes such breweries as Melvin Brewing, Founders Brewing Co, and Behemoth Brewing Co. October Magazine (which is partly funded by AB InBev) spotlights co-founder Aaron Grieser in their decent little profile of the company, which plans to soon expand its reach to Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Bangkok: SEA Brew has come a long way since its debut five years ago in a mid-sized conference room in Singapore. This year more than 400 brewers, distributors, and others from Asia’s brewing community are expected to attend the annual roving event, which organizers recently announced is pegged for September 26-27 in Bangkok (in Pratunam, a neighborhood long near and dear to our heart). While the actual conference is exclusively geared to those in the trade, there are bound to be scads of special beer events open to the public, including the 2nd annual Asia Beer Championship. So, if you’re a beer enthusiast looking for an excuse to visit Bangkok—yo. Discounted tickets ($165/$185) for SEA Brew 2019 are on sale and available through June 30; $235 thereafter.

Saigon: In late December, Pasteur Street Brewing Co—one of Beer Travelist’s biggest fans—opened its fourth hometown taproom, this one in District 2. Expect 12 taps and room for up to 115, making it the brewery’s largest venue yet. In 2017 PSBC launched its first non-Saigon taproom up north in Hanoi; we wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a showcase bar pop up in Hong Kong, Singapore, or perhaps Bangkok in the near future.

Heart of Darkness Brewery

PSBC isn’t the only Saigon craft brewery expanding to District 2. Kurtz’s by Heart of Darkness is the second taproom from Heart of Darkness Brewery, which like its neighbor can also be found in Singapore and Hong Kong, plus Thailand. Details of the new venue, which the brewery soft-launched on January 23, were scarce when we went to press, but we have a hunch it’ll have plenty of beer on tap; there are up to 20 running taps at the flagship bar. Kurtz’s by HoD is a five-minute walk from PSBC D2.

Hong Kong: It’s hard to believe it’s been over a year since we popped into Yardley Brothers Beer for a chat with co-founder Luke Yardley and assistant brewer Joseph Gauthier. It’s been about a year since the brewery began its barrel-aging program, too, and several of those fancy single-batch beers have trickled out in the past few months. The latest is the Hong Kong-exclusive Double Barrel, an 8% IPA aged for eight months in red and white wine barrels. Yardley Bros. only released 270 bottles (640ml) of the stuff on January 17, so best skedaddle to The Globe, Craftissimo, or Yardley’s weekend-only Beer Shack on Lamma Island if you want one.


Half Pints is a new semi-regular series focused on noteworthy Asia craft beer news, events, and other developments in beer and travel across the region. Have a tip about great new beer bars, breweries, exciting releases, or other such things? Drop us a line on Facebook or at info [at] beertravelist dot com.

Brian Spencer
written by: Brian Spencer
Brian Spencer is a Singapore-based freelance journalist and the founder of Beer Travelist. Say hello at brian [a] beertravelist.com.