Hong Kong: The word “evocation,” or the act of bringing or recalling a feeling, memory, or image to the conscious mind, technically should work as a band name for musicians in any genre. Black metal has well and truly cornered the term, however, as a quick Spotify search yields four artist results: Death Evocation, Putrid Evocation, Evocation (Sweden), and Evocation (Hong Kong). While each band grinds and otherwise smashes brains with aplomb, the Hong Kong outfit is the only one that will soon also be doing so with its own heavy-hitting beer. Brewed in late November with Moonzen Brewery head brewer James Waters–who is also a member of HK-based hardcore band Dagger–this 20% ABV imperial peat stout (name TBD) continues Moonzen’s series of collaboration brews with like-minded bands; Waters has already brewed with The Red Stripes and Marijannah.
Check Moonzen’s Facebook for updates on the Evocation peated stout release date. In the meantime, the brewery’s limited-edition 16.5% fifth anniversary imperial stout–coming January 2019–should tide you over.
Hong Kong: We tipped this earlier this year in our profile of The Guild Singapore, but the growing regional powerhouse that is Young Master Brewery–which like Moonzen also recently celebrated its fifth birthday with a huge imperial stout–is finally ready to open its “Bauhaus-inspired” venue in neighboring Shenzhen. According to The Drinks Business, Goon Goon will, of course, feature the brewery’s full range alongside food that “reimagines beerhall cuisine in its local context.” To date, few Asian breweries have achieved sustained success outside their home turf, but this one is well on its way to doing so with consistently great beers and what so far feels like a well-executed expansion plan (though those beer prices at The Guild–bloody hell). And speaking of collaborations, Young Master has recently done those with Cloudwater Brew Co and Moondog Craft Brewery.
Singapore: Nearly six months after its official launch date, Little Creatures Singapore has finally received its license to brew onsite. Core beers like Pale Ale, Bright Ale, and Rogers’ Beer will still come from overseas, so expect small-batch experimentals and seasonals from the Singapore crew. This is a lovely venue in which to put back a few, by the way, with ample outdoor seating and a handful of tables tucked around corners and into private little nooks for those seeking refuge from the after-work CBDers.
Singapore and other major Asian booze centers wait, breathlessly, for the inevitable arrival of the next chain brewpub/beer bar. Will it be from Goose Island (now up to six int’l locales, including in Shanghai and Seoul)? BrewDog (bars in Seoul and Tokyo, and a massive brewery in China in the works)? Stone Brewing, which this year chose Shanghai for its first Asian outpost? Is Young Master Brewery, respected though it is, veering into “chain” territory? Are branded chain bars the future of successful craft breweries, and if so, is that a bright or boring future? Debates for another day…
Southeast Asia: Perhaps a little insider-y for casual beer enthusiasts on the move, but for those curious about the state and direction of Southeast Asia’s craft breweries, check this new survey of more than 100 regional breweries and brewery owners. One thing that jumps right out is the massive influx of craft breweries in the Philippines over the past five years–from just five in 2012 to 48 in 2017. Furthermore, from 2015 to 2017 the region’s total number of craft breweries grew from 46 to 154, and that last number surely rose even further in 2018. Coupled with increased and deeper penetration of imported craft, Southeast Asia travelers are finding it easier and easier to find good beer on the road.
South Korea: Wild Wave Brewing Co, which brews in Busan and claims to be Korea’s first brewery focused on sour and wild beers, is near the top of our radar in 2019 and beyond. Contract brewing for two years before opening its own facility in 2017, Wild Wave hosts its fourth-annual FunkFest on Saturday, December 15, and we’d consider selling our next-born baby to get there. Taking place at Wild Wave’s taproom, FunkFest includes brewer chats on sour beer-making and the country’s largest sour beer bottle share. For now, this feels like a relatively small-scale, homebrewer-friendly shindig with the potential to snowball into something far more expansive in the coming years.
Papa New Guinea: Finally, here’s an interesting project between Heineken-owned South Pacific Brewery and The International Finance Corporation (IFC) worth following. In Papa New Guinea, the IFC–the planet’s “largest global development institution exclusively focused on the private sector in developing countries”–is supporting the production of cassava, which SPB will use for its starch to replace malts in its standard beers. The brewery will also produce a cassava beer, which according to our source will help reduce importing, support local farmers, and create jobs.
Half Pints is a new semi-regular series focused on noteworthy news, events, and other developments in beer and travel across Asia-Pacific. (We’re still working out the kinks.) Have a tip about great new beer bars, breweries, or other such things? Drop us a line on Facebook or at info [at] beertravelist dot com.