Brewing in Singapore

One man's adventure of brewing beer in Asia.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Pitaya Rosé

Archipelago Brewery has a new beer - We designed and brewed especially for World Gourmet Summit and it is their official beer this year.

When we designed the beer I knew we wanted to make something special, something unusual, with unique ingredients that we had not tried before, something that would wow the foodies that come to the WGS from around Asia and the world. We have already used a lot of unusual Southeast Asian fruits, herbs and spices in our beers - things like Assam, Mangosteen, young Ginger, Goji berry, Gula Malaka, Língzhī (never sold*) , Ba Jiao, Pandan, Lemon Grass, Coriander, Chinese Orange peel, Lychee, Kalamansi Lime, Tongkat Ali (also never sold*), and even Durian - so what to use this time - I was stumped.

Then one day a friend offered me a Dragon fruit (Pitaya or Huo Lóng Guo). I had tasted it before and was not really that impressed with the flavors, but when they cut it open instead of the normal pearl white color this one was a vibrant dark pink - I knew instantly that I had found my new ingredient. The Flavor of the Pitaya is mild and slightly sweet, the aroma is delicate and floral, but that dark pink color - that was it. It was exactly the thing I was looking for. The flavors and aromas matched perfectly with the ideas I had for the new beer; light and subtle yet unique, and the color - that was the wow factor I was hoping to find.

We had some unusual (and amazing) New Zealand Hop that I wanted to try (the Nelson Sauvin). It is the unique aromatic character of crushed Goosberries and Sauviougn Blanc wine grapes. To this I wanted to blend in a touch of Lavender for added aroma. We planned to use a light golden ale as the base beer and I added in a small amount of Galangal to spice up the flavor.

Finding the needed amount of red Pitaya turned out to be more difficult that I had thought. My initial search turned up only a few fruit, but I did learn that locally the red Pitaya were referred to as Malaysian Dragon fruit. Armed with this scrap of knowledge I headed to my favorite market - the huge Pasir Panjang wholesale market. It did not let me down. After wandering around for about an hour and searching over a dozen stalls I had procure about 30 kg of Malaysian Red Pitaya. The Lavender and Galangal were much easier to find.

The Pitaya Rosé will be at several events during the three weeks of the World Gourmet Summit including the Opening Event (April 19th) and the Chill & Grill with Archipelago event (May 2nd - hurry, and get your tickets now). Starting April 22nd will also be available on draft at the Queen & Mangosteen (in Vivo city) and Archipelago Beer Hub (Circular road).

The Pitaya Rosé is a limited addition beer, maybe never to be made again so look for it during the months of April and May - after that it could all be gone.

* these two very not nice tasting in beer (both are very bitter and taste of wood)


At 11:56 PM, Blogger muser said...

After trying the sample you guys sent to my office, I must say it's one of your better combos. I'm curious though - are you using your Straits Pale as the base, and blending in a puree of the fruit and ginger like you've done for lychee, mango and durian, or did you create a base beer just for Pitaya Rose? You mentioned in your blog post that your base beer was a golden ale - do you mean that literally, or did you use a lager, since it tastes like a lager? Anyway, it's a wonderfully distinctive beer. Hats off.

Chris Lim, The Business Times

At 3:06 AM, Blogger Fal Allen said...

Hi Chris,

Thanks but there were no Samples - not of this new beer. The only bottle ever done was today for our lab testing. I think that maybe you got our teaser package that had our Pale ale in an unmarked bottle along with a Dragon fruit and some ginger (but really we used galangal, not ginger). The Pitaya Rose is a whole new beer (the base of which is lighter than the Straits Pale) we used all new hops (Nelson Sauvin) in the brewing and then added the dragon fruit fruit and spices to the beer (both before and after fermentation). It it a wholey new beer and not like the "create-a-fruit-beer" thingy we did for the last Singapore Beer Festival (which was to give people an idea of WHAT beer flavor could be like) - Hope we will see you at the release next week.

cheers - Fal

At 7:15 PM, Blogger JP said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 7:24 PM, Blogger JP said...

Tonka Ali and alcohol = great power. hmm... well, it’s an interesting idea- though the results the next morning may be dissatisfying. You didn't call this beer "coyote ugly" by any chance did you?

At 11:14 PM, Blogger Dav said...

I find some 'basic' / generic beers to beers to bee too "hoppy" (that's a new word I've coined, too much hops) for my taste. Either I don't know what a good beer should taste like, or my taste buds are dead.

However I do enjoy a nice cold Paulanar or other German wheat beers, so I guess my palate is just different.

At 4:42 AM, Blogger muser said...

Ah, I see, in that case I got the teaser package, which confused me a bit (I was wondering how on earth you were going to replicate the tedious process in the bars) though I liked the results. I'm glad to hear this will be a whole new beer created from scratch. See you at the launch; new craft beer launches in Singapore are always worth celebrating.

At 8:03 PM, Blogger Fal Allen said...

At Chris - great look forward to seeing you trere

At JP - Tonka Ali taste is NNL (not nice lah) - to the effects of Tonka Ali I can not speak

At Dav - Hoppy - yes a good word. Many American Craft beers are very hoppy, but so is a good German Pilsner. It is good that people have different tastes - think how boring the world would be if we all like the exact same things

At 8:28 PM, Blogger Dav said...

Is there a beer with very little hops? I know hops are added for a few reasons, contrast the sweetness of the malt, natural bacterial inhibitors and clarifying agents etc, but I wouldn't mind a sweet beer!

Also, it took me a while to figure out what 'tonka ali' was, coming from Malaysia and all. Its 'Tongkat Ali' over here. "Tongkat" being walking cane in the Malay language.

At 10:28 PM, Blogger Fal Allen said...


very little hops try Killkeny or any other Nitrogenated beer (maybe Bodingtons or Guinness)

At 10:33 PM, Blogger Dav said...

Killkeny is on the top of my list, sadly its priced at a premium over here in Malaysia. Will keep an eye out for tasty stuff as well :)

At 12:46 AM, Blogger muser said...

For low hops I'd also recommend Newcastle Brown Ale (nutty with a bit of caramel), John Smith (low hops, smooth, but a bit lacking in character).

By the way, after trying the bonafide version of Pitaya Rose recently, I have to say it was particularly good because it doesn't sound like a promising combination. I'm particularly impressed how Fal managed to avoid any vegetal bitterness, which is present in a certain other Singaporean green-coloured microbrew.

At 3:49 PM, Blogger = Christine = said...

I'm looking for sweet beer as gifts. Do u know which brand is good and where I can get it?


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