At the Beerfest Asia 2015 trade event I had the opportunity to get up close with Archipelago’s new Head – Malcolm Davies – who enthusiastically shared his plans and vision for the local brewery.
A bit of background:
Archipelago is Singapore’s first and oldest brewery – founded in 1931. Falling under the Asia Pacific Breweries brand, and later bought over by Heineken – they went craft with Brewmaster Fal Allen in 2006. Since then, they’ve been churning out local brews with creative elements. Check them out here.
Back to the event…
Malcolm has been with Archipelago for just a month and he is already hands deep in the beers, marketing and beer culture of Singapore. The new beers released – Hopsale and the more recent Coco’s Cream – had all their artwork done in house. The two beers also get their own tap logo, instead of the standard black motif of the Archipelago Seasonal.
Robert Beck, Brewmaster, shares a little about Hopsale and Coco’s Cream:
“For Hopsale, we were aiming for low bitterness with huge hop flavor and aroma. We utilized the technique of first wort hopping, which involves adding hops as the wort is running to the kettle. This technique has been known to give a smoother perceived bitterness in the beer. We used 7 types of American and New World hops, added at 7 points during the last 15 minutes of the boil for flavor and aroma. Finally, we dry hopped it with whole leaf Chinook and Cascade for 5 days cold.”
“With Coco’s Cream, we added a huge load of white chocolate at the start of the boil(yes, you read that right – White Chocolate). Massive slabs of it were chopped, ground and went into the kettle. We were a bit worried about the head retention as oils from the chocolate are known to affect foam. Post fermentation, the aroma was not up to expectations, and we adjusted it with natural vanilla extract.”
Archipelago will bump up its production of seasonal beers – in the past it was common to wait till one ran out before releasing the next one a few weeks later, but now they are looking to keep a seasonal on all the time. Great news for craft drinkers here!
Malcolm sees craft beer developing in the vein of wine, with the local market getting accustomed to appreciating the flavors and nuances from the hops, and eventually even the barley used. He has exciting plans for the future – Archipelago will be looking to employ filtration to improve the shipping stability of their beers, and possibly increase production for packaging operations in the years to come.
It looks like Archipelago, with the backing of Heineken, will be a key player in the craft scene of Singapore for the future to come.