Brewing in Singapore

One man's adventure of brewing beer in Asia.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Beer Fest !! (!!!)

"Putting on a beer festival, that's just like throwing a big party" or so people keep telling my friend Tom. Yeah, much like to make great beer you just gotta boil some grain, beer festivals are that easy. Well, not really. But there is a grain of truth in that thought - to be able to put on a good beer festival you have to know how to throw a good party - and in that sense the Singapore Beer Festival (SBF) has got it right. The three guys most responsible for this upcoming event (Irvin, Matt and his brother Tom) have a good party sense. They know the essentials; Good entertainment (music, dancing, a guy to crack a few jokes), nice food and most importantly a whole lotta interesting things to quench the thirst. The beer line-up for SBF promises to pique the interest of even the most discerning beer connoisseurs. Matt and Irvin went all over the world to procure the beers for this event. There will be over 300 beer from over 50 countries across six continents (what, no more beers from Antarctica ?) . It's a pretty amazing list, especially for their first year out.

So - the bottom line; even if they make a few minor mistakes and forget a few of the small, small beer fest details (note: next year order more portable toilets, don't hire the biker gang for back stage security, and #@*! sake - ban the Durian beer!) they will definitely have the key elements covered.

Go see for yourself October 2 thrugh 5 at Fort Canning Park. Over 300 beers from around the world, packed with great entertainment from a cast of international and local artists, (live music, DJs and stand-up comedians some more) and plenty of good Makan. Check it all out ahead of time at

also check -

Sunday, September 14, 2008


I was just in Bali for the weekend (which, BTW, is nowhere near enough time for even a short visit to Bali). We were driving down the road and as we drove we are talking about how great lunch had been yesterday ( ) My friend Martin said "and there's this place just up here that sells live bats to eat - for only 20,000 Rupiah". Well, I thought "Bloody hell, only 20,000 Rups, I have about a million Rupiah on me, I could buy every bat they have and let them all go free" (you know like they do with song birds in Cambodia - as an act of good Karma). I sat there imagining myself giving some guy 600,000 Rupiah as bats squeaked off into the sky around us - and him, with this look of 1/2 Super happy (because this moron Bulay just gave him a months salary) and 1/2 totally confused (because some moron Bulay just bought 30 bats and let them all go). In mid-thought of my bat exodus we came around the corner and there they were.

I had imagined little bats (like the ones that dart around Singapore eating bugs under the street lights), but these bats were anything but small.Tthere they were - hanging upside down from their day time perches on the side of the road like black cocoons - two fairly larged sized Moakirikiri (the Maori name for flying fox - as they are more commonly known in Austral/Asia). WOW!! Moakirikiri ! I had wanted to get a close look at one of these guys ever since I had first read about them 25 years ago. And now there they were, and I could save them - and at a price some more - a mere 20,000 rups. I told Martin we HAD to pull over.

Thoughts raced through my head - I'd buy them both - and .... let them go, or ..... I don't know, look how cool they were, maybe, maybe smuggle them back to Singapore with me. (
). Martin (I think reading my thoughts) said "No way you are bringing one of those in the car"

I popped out of the car. I had to save them from being eaten (I knew that they were considered a great delicacy in some areas, but they looked way to cool end up as dinner). As I walked up the guy beamed a big smile at me. I walked over to look at the flying foxes. "Can I touch them" I asked. "Yes 20,000 Rupiah only". With relief I understood. These flying fox were not for makan (eating). They were this guys pets and livelihood and for 20,000 Rupiah you could pick them up, pet them, play with them and he would take a few pictures for me

He put his hand out and the giant bat reached out and grabbed it. He lifted the hanging bat from his perch and he pasted him to me. The Moakirikiri was heavy, about 6 kg and he looked exactly like a small dog, except with expensive glossy leather wings, thick hook like "hands" and substantial clawed feet. He was totally tame and use to being picked up and pet. I stood there enthralled - Attached to my arm was the largest flying mammal in the world, his wing span easily 5 feet or more.

The flying fox stretched out his wings and flapped a little. He twisted around to look up at me. He was clearly curious, I reached down with my other hand and gave him a little rub. His fur was very soft and clean. He smelled my hand and gave my finger a little playful chewing on. Did that mean he liked me (??) or maybe it was just the boiled peanuts I had been eating in the car earlier.

I petted him for a few more minutes totally amazed at how friendly and dog-like his behavior was. Unfortunately we could not stay longer as I had a plane catch. If I hand not already discovered a dozen other reasons to return to Bali this one would have been reason enough. What a Super cool road side attraction par excellance.