There’s a lot you can discover about a culture from the way their local craftspeople work. This is certainly true when it comes to Singapore’s homegrown brewers and distillers, who tend to favour the use of local flavours and native ingredients in the pursuit of their craft. While there’s certainly plenty to glean from consuming the beers and spirits they’ve produced, there’s nothing quite like joining brewery or distillery tours in Singapore to truly appreciate the work that goes into making each batch.
At these following places, the public are actually welcome to visit their production grounds through guided tours, allowing a rare behind-the-scenes look at how they go about doing what they do best. You’ll even be able to get to drink as close to the source as possible. So head on over to these far-flung sites for a visit. We promise the trek is worth it.
1. Lion Brewery
Founded in 2018 by three beer enthusiasts, Lion Brewery specialises in craft beer that drinks well in Singapore’s tropical heat. Using all natural ingredients and sustainable techniques, the brewery offers a range of beers that include standards like the Straits Pale Ale, Island Lager and the New England Session IPA, along with seasonal specials. If you’re fascinated by the science behind their high-quality beers, Lion Brewery has resumed guided tours of their brewing facilities. The 30-minute tour of the “Brewlab” ends with a Q&A session followed by a tasting flight of six beers. You’ll also get to take home a Brewlab pint glass and a cap as a souvenir.
2. The 1925 Brewing Co.
With this tour, you’ll not only get a rare look at how brewing is done locally (its facility can produce up to 24,000 bottles of beer a month), but get to taste special never-before-released brews as well – talk about being rewarded for making it all the way to their facility in Mandai. If you’re a fan of this family-run microbrewery’s core beers, fret not, for a tasting flight of its usual range is included too.
There are actually two types of tours to choose from. One is a full tour of the brewery inclusive of the tastings as mentioned above, while the second throws in a shuttle service that brings you to the brewery, then to 1925 Brewing Co’s restaurant and bar at Joo Chiat. There, you’ll be treated to a Teochew dinner and, of course, more beer! Bestsellers include local-themed Liang Teh Lager, Yellow Van Pale Ale and Kaya Toast Stout.
3. Brass Lion Distillery
Touted as Singapore’s first micro-distillery, Brass Lion produces some of the best gin in town, as evidenced by its spirits claiming accolades from major international competitions. Start your tour at its Alexandra Terrace location with a welcome drink, get to see the heart of the distillery (we’re talking about its handcrafted hybrid copper still, affectionately named Nala), hear how its gins stand out from others, then conclude with a tasting flight of its three flagship gins.
For an even more immersive experience, go for the Gin School workshop instead, where you can actually try your hand at being a distiller. You’ll spend 2.5-3 hours learning and making your very own gin, using any botanical, spice or fruit at your disposal to create the flavour profile of your dreams. After that, don’t forget to bring home the distillery’s flagship gin: the Singapore Dry Gin.
4. Tanglin Gin
Sequestered away in the lush Dempsey Hill area, Tanglin Gin’s distillery is the very first of its kind in Singapore. The tours are lead by the distillery’s gin experts and offer an inside-look at how the company produces their unique Singapore Gin which features Asian flavours drawn from liquorice powder, ginger and even dried chilli seeds. You’ll also get to visit the Tanglin Creations Lab where they experiment with more esoteric flavours. To conclude the tour, you’ll get to enjoy a gin tasting flight along with a gin and tonic cocktail at the Tanglin Gin Jungle, the distillery’s striking modern bar. Here you can continue your gin journey by sampling Tanglin Gin’s extensive range of craft gins. Tours for 2022 start from $45 per person.
5. Brewlander (tours will resume soon)
A household name among local craft beer lovers, Brewlander’s brewing facility, conveniently located beside Tuas Link MRT, is one of the largest in Singapore, and its founder John Wei actually pieced together most of the machinery you’ll see there himself. Talk about dedication!
The tour begins at the Tasting Room with a telling of how Wei began his craft brewing journey (while you enjoy a welcome beer), leading to a guided walk of the brewery where staff will take you through what each machine does. You’ll then head back to the Tasting Room to sample a selection of beers on draft, armed with a finer appreciation for every drop you’re about to savour.
While tours have temporarily been put on hold, stay tuned to Brewlander’s socials for updates on future tours.
Fancy a tour of the world’s highest microbrewery? That’s exactly what you’ll be able to get at LeVeL33, located in the heart of Singapore’s downtown Marina Bay. Find out how its two copper kettles and 12 fermentation tanks work (including the amazing way it managed to transport them 33 floors up) to produce their delicious brews. Then be treated to a beer tasting flight of its regular and seasonal brews at the end of the 1.5 hour guided visit.
Being a restaurant and bar as well, you can stay on for a meal after you’ve concluded the tour. Grab a seat by the terrace where you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the cityscape while imbibing quality brews fresh off the taps.
This ubiquitous beer brand requires no introduction. Being a major commercial brewery, you’ll be able to get a look at the entire beer manufacturing process via an experiential, guided tour of its premises. Learn about Tiger‘s long heritage, see and touch the raw ingredients that goes into brewing, find out the brand’s success story overseas and even understand the importance of packaging and distribution. Then comes the highlight of the trip: a visit to the Tiger Tavern. At this old-school bar reminiscent of Singapore in the ’60s, you’ll get to taste a wide range of Tiger’s brews that are as fresh as it gets. Did we also mention you’ll get a chance at tapping your own pint of beer?
Please check the establishments’ respective websites for opening hours as well as booking and seating requirements before visiting, and remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about.