Mix Picks: Microbreweries
Check out this selection of microbreweries where you can host events and treat your guests to unique craft beers.
The Shakespeare Hotel and Brewery
Location: 61 Albert Street, at the corner of Wyndam and Albert Streets and near Freemans Bay.
Background: This 10-room property was established in 1898 by a man named Thomas Foley, inspired by the hotel owned by his parents on Wyndam Street and where he was born. In 1986, then owner Peter Barraclough put in a microbrewery that was one of the first in the country, and it is still functioning today.
The food: An extensive Western menu consisting all the staples such as salads, pizzas, pasta and steaks.
The beer: The choice of beers changes regularly, and currently there are Kubee, a pilsner, and Hopdoggy, which is an Indian pale ale.
Event possibilities: This hotel is a popular venue for private functions and it has hosted everything from glamorous balls and concerts to birthday parties to small conferences. The beer starts from NZ$7.5 (US$6.2) for a glass, and a pitcher costs NZ$35 (US$29). Food-wise, it starts from about NZ$12 (US$10) for a Shakespeare burger with 250 grams of New Zealand beef. Buffets can be arranged for groups.
Group size: Sizes of functions held here ranged from 25 to 200 persons.
Great Leap Brewing
The courtyard (left) and interior of Great Leap Brewing
Location: Tucked away in Dou Jiao Hutong #6 in Dongcheng (East City), this place is near the legendary Drum Tower (Gulou).
Background: This bar has been facilitating a craft beer revolution in China, having held the first Beijing Craft Beer Festival earlier this year.
The food: Great Leap does not have a kitchen but food can be ordered from nearby restaurants, ranging from home-style Chinese for at little as RMB15 (US$2.38) per person, to more expensive Western food for about RMB100 per head. A glass of beer (roughly 450ml) costs RMB25 (US$4) to RMB50 (US$8).
The beer: At press time there were 11 on tap, including the signature Pale Ale #6 and Little General IPA Indian pale ale, but one of the most unique is Honey Gold Ma, which consists of Sichuan peppercorn and organic honey from the Chinese province of Shandong.
Event possibilities: This place has held many events before, ranging from charity functions to Thanksgiving potluck. It is possible to hire the venue for private functions and the manager is always happy to work out arrangements according to your needs. The cost of booking out the venue for events depends on days of the week. To rent out our bar on Sunday to Thursday typically costs RMB2,000 (US$321), not including beverages. On Fridays and Saturdays the price doubles. The beer ranges from RMB25 (US$4) to RMB50 (US$8) per glass, about 450ml each.
Group size: There is an indoor area that can hold up to about 20 people, and the courtyard bar can fit in about 100 people, but reaching that number would feel a little crowded.
Brewerkz Restaurant & Microbrewery
Buffet arrangement at Brewerkz's Indoor Stadium location (left), and the interior of Brewerkz on Merchant Road
Locations: There are two, with one at 30 Merchant Road, near Boat Quay, and another at Singapore Indoor Stadium
Background: Founded in 1997, Brewerkz Restaurant & Microbrewery was developed by US-born Devin Otto Kimble and Daniel Flores, who modelled it after similar concepts in the US and Canada.
The food: American-style
The beer: Handcrafted on-site from the 10hl microbrewery attached to the restaurant, the 2,500hl of beer produced every year is served mostly at Brewerkz locations and at sister outlet Cafe Iguana, with a small amount supplied to a number of other bars in town. There is a wide range of signature brews, such as the best selling Golden Ale, Hopback Ale straight from the cask, Indian Pale Ale (IPA) and Oatmeal Stout – a very dark beer with a silky texture and rich notes of chocolate and coffee.
Event possibilities: Packages start at S$30 (US$25) for lunch, S$50 (US$41) for dinner with two pints of beer, and there is a minimum spend of S$75 (US$61.5) per person on Friday. A popular package for large groups is the trivia night option, which costs S$300 (US$250) per table, with a minimum requirement of eight tables (48 persons). The price includes a tower of pilsner, IPA or Golden Ale per table, matched with a lineup of beer-friendly dishes such as pizzas, crispy calamari, wings and tortilla. Also included is a $S20 (US$16) voucher per table as prizes. A quizmaster and one set of trivia questions (five rounds) can be arranged for S$100 (US$82) per session.
Group size: The maximum group size that can be accommodated at one time is 200.
Baird Brewing Company taprooms
Locations: There are two "taprooms" by this brewer in Tokyo, in Harajuku and Nakameguro, both near Shibuya; one in Yokohama and another at Numazu Fish Market in the home city of the company.
Background: Baird Brewing Company is a family-owned craft beer brewer based in Numazu, at the northern end of the Izu Peninsula 130 km west of Tokyo. It is known for its hot springs and the view of the Fuji Mountain.
The food: Every taproom serves a different style of food. The Harajuku location serves yakitori, while the Nakameguro location serves New Haven-style pizzas and fresh salads.
The beer: According to Baird, the water at Numazu, together with the use of traditional floor-malted barley and whole flower hops, contributes to the brew's unique flavour. The year-round choices include cloudy and golden-hued Wheat King Ale with delicately floral character; the more complex Rising Sun Pale Ale; clean, soft Numazu lager; and the intense Angry Boy Brown Ale. There are also seasonal brews.
Event possibilities: The two Tokyo city branches are convenient locations for functions, but the other two are only short train rides away and they are both well equipped for functions. The Bashamichi Taproom in Yokohama consists of three floors, including a roof-top beer garden and Japanese-style garden house. Live music is played regularly on the second floor. The Numazu Fish Market location is near the Baird brewery itself, brewery tours can be arranged by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org about a week in advance. This taproom is an ideal place to taste the full line-up of Baird beers and enjoy the atmosphere of Numazu port. Food and beverage packages are provided for groups, and depending on each group's needs and preferences, the per-person cost is generally in the JPY3,000 (US$36) to JPY5,000 (US$61) range.
Group size: The Numazu Fishmarket Taproom and Harajuku Taproom can accommodate a group of up to 40 persons while Bashamichi Taproom can fit in 30 on the second floor and another 30 on the third. The Nakameguro Taproom can accommodate 60 persons.