Siloso Saison Blanc: An Interview with Brewerkz Owner Tan Wee Han at Sentosa GrillFest 2019
As Singapore’s longest running craft brewery, the 22-year old Brewerkz has slowly but surely remained incredibly relevant throughout the years, practically an institution that has laid the ground for plenty of newer companies to come through in recent years. From its humble beginnings in Clarke Quay, the brewery has since expanded to include restaurants and large-scale outdoor events catering, such as Sentosa GrillFest 2019 right now, with the F1 Singapore Grand Prix 2019 and the Singapore Air Show 2020 soon to follow.
On staying relevant, Brewerkz owner Tan Wee Han comments: “Brewerkz has been popular for so many years, but over that time, the scene has really changed. You still can’t get a seat at our restaurant on Fridays, but to stay relevant, we’ve needed to up our social media presence, and really plan to be visible. This year, there’s a very deliberate positioning of ourselves as an experience. As the only brewery around who can cater a large scale event, who has the capability to even can our beer, we can steer the craft beer scene in Singapore.”
“Brewerkz is not about who can drink faster or more, but about the ambience and food coming together to create this all-encompassing experience,” he adds. “It’s about constantly improving on the experience, and figuring out how we develop from here, and that’s why we came up with the Siloso Saison Blanc for GrillFest, where the event owns this particular beer, made specially for them.”
The beer itself takes its name from Siloso Beach on Sentosa Island, where GrillFest 2019 is being held, inspired by the beach’s bright, fun and uplifting atmosphere, while also paying homage to the island’s past as a coastal fort. Bubbly with a smooth malt honey taste and a soft hop bite, the light-bodied beer has a dry finish not unlike white wine or champagne, and is incredibly easy to drink.
Says Brewerkz brewer Dmitrii “Mitch” Gribov, who hails from Russia: “Coming to Singapore, I was so fascinated by the diversity of cultures here, which really is uniquely Singapore. There’s all kinds of flavours here that opens up new possibilities and ideas for the realm of craft beer, and we wanted to challenge the local palettes a little. For the Saison Blanc, we wanted it to have this drinkability, especially under the hot sun at the beach, and really just refresh you with its slight tartness. We play a lot with the flavours, so there’s a bit of plum and raisin, and creates a sense of nostalgia almost when you drink it.”
He adds: “With regards to craft beer, it’s really a case where compared to the big players who have certain procedures they follow strictly, we end up having more flexibility. It all boils down to the same 4 ingredients – water, hops, malt and yeast, but we play with the proportions, the strains and even water profile, and we can replicate most flavours just by experimenting with it, as long as we have an idea in mind! Being a brewer is really the best job in the world, because we make people happy, and it’s amazing how we can make beer taste like anything, and there’s always an even more interesting beer waiting to be brewed.”
Wee Han concludes: “You know, Singaporeans appreciate a good product, and right now, we’re positioning ourselves as the craft beer people to approach, as fiercely local, not because we say we’re local, but because it reflects in the product itself. We’ve always had solid responses at our booths, and we’re all about creating an experience, not just for adults, not just for families, but for all Singaporeans.”
With newly expanded brewery facilities and plenty of plans in the line-up, you can expect only more limited-edition seasonal beers to come and plenty more appearances by Brewerkz at some of the biggest upcoming events. For now though, you can visit them at Sentosa, and get a taste of the Siloso Saison Blanc yourself, exclusively available to GrillFest 2019.
Get the Siloso Saison Blanc exclusively at Sentosa GrillFest, which takes place at Siloso Beach, Sentosa, from 19th July to 12th August 2019. For more information, visit the website here
For more information on Brewerkz, visit their website here