THE return of themed events after the pandemic is providing opportunities for those who like a certain type of beverage to have a wider sampling of what’s on offer and make up for lost time.
In the spirit of exploration, the Urban Beer Fest Singapore at Urban Park at Guoco Tower, Tanjong Pagar, proved to be an absolute blast, with a fantastic selection of craft beers and delicious finger foods that made for a perfect afternoon out. The cool Saturday weather made the experience even more delightful.
The wide range of over a hundred craft beers included lagers, pale ales, sours and stouts, many which are brewed in Singapore. Each beer had its unique flavour, fragrance and texture and with our personal capacity limits, it was a challenge to get through more than half a dozen pints without having to make multiple trips to the lavatory.
The beer was served in plastic mugs, which probably deviated from the desired effect of the beer. And what does it say about sustainability practices, or the lack of it? Why weren’t the beers served in the glass mug that comes with the ticket price, with washing points to clean the mug between tastings?
The alcohols were complemented by a range of finger foods and bar bites prepared by Gyu San, Wagamoto and Frenchie restaurants. I sampled a few, including deep fried beef tripe and ox tongue, and they were all excellent accompaniment for the beers.
This year’s festival ambience was enhanced by the breezy cool weather. While the event opened from 12 noon on both days, the crowd built up quickly and by 4pm, all the tables, including standing tables, were taken up.
The cost of entry was $35, which gets the ticket holder one beer glass, a pint of beer, a pack of anti-hangover pills, a voucher to the ALKY app for a month of free beers and a free entry ticket to a club which can be used on the 2 evenings of the festival.
Additional beers and the food items were available for attendees who had to purchase tokens with cash in order to exchange them for beer and food. A $50 purchase got you 15 tokens. Each pint of the craft beers ranged from $6.70 to $10 (2 or 3 tokens) and the dishes of finger food cost $10 (3 tokens). By the time my friends and I had three beers each and a few portions of snacks, our bill had exceeded $300.
While the event was well organised, the lack of free beer sampling options left a sour taste in my mouth. Most beer festivals offer tasting portions or flights, allowing visitors to try a variety of beers without committing to a full pint. This is particularly attractive as we can try many different types of beers and learn about the wide range of ingredients and methods used in brewing these craft beers.
Overall, the Urban Beer Fest Singapore was a fun event for those who want to splurge on a fun afternoon with friends. Craft beer enthusiasts just need to note that there is no free sampling of the wide range of beers and that we may need to make a few trips to the cashier counter to buy tokens.
Perhaps with a detour en route to the lav.