CRAFT BEERS @ CHINATOWN COMPLEX
For the longest time, the only thing I would go to Chinatown Complex hawker centre for is the good fish head noodle stall “near the toilet”. Now, thanks to a fellow cheap-beer-and-good-food pal of mine, I may be going there for good, cheap craft beers as well!
My pal recommended that we meet at The Good Beer Company (#02-58) located at a rather hard-to-find corner of the hawker centre, where you can see the view of People’s Park Complex as seen in the main picture. Said to be the first hawker stall to specialise in craft beers (stated by The New York Times no less, the article of which is hung proudly in the stall), Good Beer is owned by her friend Daniel Goh who, with another partner, also owns another craft beer outlet, Smith Street Taps (#02-62) just a few doors down.
By a quick count, Good Beer Company offers 40-50 craft beers, ales and ciders from all over the world and decently priced from $6. A sign clearly states “no Tiger, no Carlsberg!” Well, I never thought I would ever get to order a Belgium trappist beer in a hawker centre in Singapore. What’s cool is that they even serve the beer – a Trappistes Rochefort 6 – in a proper trappist beer glass. Not cool was that the glass was not chilled and in the hot and humid eating place, the beer does get warm rather fast even if you managed to find a table or seat under a fan.
My friend was rather adventurous – first she tried a fruity Badger Pearwood Cider, then she went for this rather cute Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale which is kinda like sake-meets-strong-pale-ale. It’s an acquired taste to say the very least.
Th best thing of having beers at a good hawker centre is the variety of great food you can order. Needless to say, the satay stall at #02-79 is extremely popular as are many of the zi char stalls that seem to specialise mainly in fish dishes (fish head noodle, fried whole fish, steamed fish etc). We didn’t find any nearby stall selling chicken wings but halfway through our meal, a hawker came around asking us to try his breaded mussels to see if they went well with our drinks!
For my second beer, I decided to patronise On Tap (#02-75) which is located round the corner from Good Beer ‘cos I kinda feel bad that the uncle managing it didn’t seem to have much customers.
On Tap is a simple mini-bar that offers primarily 7 types of European beers, ales and ciders on tap, such as pilsner, wheat beer, brown ale and English bitter, priced between $5.50-$6.50 for a 330ml mug and $16-19 for a jug. According to the same NYT article, it is owned by two brothers Patrick and Steven Lim who brewed their own beers in small batches locally. I tried a German Dunkel ($6) which is a heavy dark German lager. It wasn’t half bad but I think I still prefer light lagers.
Smith Street Taps opens later (6.30pm) than the other two outlets (6pm) and judging by the crowd that gathered, you can see it is rather popular. Their craft beers on tap is an international mix: tonight’s sampling includes Sapporo, Weihenstephan Weisse, Kaiju! Beer, Stone Browning and homegrown Archipelago, priced from $8-$18.
It was whilst here that my friend met up with Daniel Goh himself who was busy swotting for a “wine exam” at a nearby table. The affable guy definitely appears happy with the little craft beer corner he has created in the heart of Chinatown. Well, that we can get to try good craft beers at decent prices, we are very happy that he did so. Cheers mate, here’s to many more!