Held from 16 to 19 June, Beerfest Asia is back for its eighth run at Marina Promenade. With over 500 beers from more than 350 exhibitors present at the festival this year, it can be a daunting task deciding what to order.
So, what’s a beer noob like me going to do in preparation for the largest beer festival in Asia? Turn to the experts, of course. We chatted with four of Beerfest Asia 2016’s exhibitors to guide us on how to order the right brew(s) this week. Read on to find out more!
Long menus intimidate me! How should I go about choosing what to order?
First of all, decide what you’re looking for in a beer. Want something sweet? Go for a fruity beer. An IPA is more bitter, and a Weissbier or Weizen (German wheat beer) is crisp and refreshing.
Or simply leave it to chance – “If you are still unsure on what to order, just order randomly. Beer is all about experimenting. There is no such thing as ‘you only like wheat beer’. Your taste buds have yet to mature and there could be other beers that will grow on you,” says Winston Kwang, owner of Beerstyle Distribution.
Asking for suggestions is a great way to start as well. “You should always ask the server for help! Normally they are well-trained to guide you through the extensive beer menu,” shares Seren Nah, sales manager of beer distributor Bev Traders.
What’s the difference between lagers and ales?
Lagers and ales are made from different types of yeast. Lagers are brewed slowly at cooler temperatures at the “bottom” of the fermentation vessel, while ales are fermented at the “top” of the vessel, at higher temperatures, which makes for a quicker fermentation period.
“Generally, lagers are lighter in color and taste. They also tend to be more carbonated, which gives them the crisp taste. Ales include a much greater variety of beers and are typically the more fruity beers; those with more complex flavors and aromas,” explains Campbell Roydhouse, importer of Cockies Beer and son of its brewer, Jamie.
What exactly are hops?
“Hops are like beer seasoning; they prevent spoilage from wild bacteria and balance a beer from the malts. They create unique characters and flavours in the beer. Simply put, hops put the “bitterness” into a beer,” says Kwang.
I don’t like bitter beers. Should I avoid hops entirely?
“Most countries require hops to be present to be able to label it as a malt beverage. It acts as a stability agent so no preservatives are required. If you dislike bitter beers, you should try fruit beers like Mystic Peach or Lambic. Alternatively, you can try cider. Ciders are normally fermented fruits without the use of hops,” says Nah.
Malcolm Davies, head of Archipelago Brewery, wants to encourage beer amateurs to give hops a chance. “Hops are magic! Please do not avoid hops. They are used to add bitterness to beer (alpha acids) as well as to increase aroma (beta acids). We add bittering hops during the boil and more at nearly every other part of the brewing process, right up to the beer glass. Hops do not just mean bitterness.”
Beerfest Asia 2016 is held from 16 to 19 June at Marina Promenade. Get your tickets here.
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