My journey with craft beer started way back in 2013 at Pasarbella and since then, I have tasted all sorts of craft beers and even went as far as New Zealand for some beer tasting. What you probably might not know is that the local craft beer scene is bustling and there are many local craft breweries here in Singapore!
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Sunbird Brewing Company is Singapore’s latest craft beer brewery that opened in April this year and what truly piqued my interest about this new local craft beer brewery is its name, “Sunbird”.
Do You Know? The Crimson Sunbird is the national bird of Singapore.
Starting off with a capacity of five hectolitres across a full-grain, three-vessel system; Sunbird Brewing Company currently offers a range of four beers that are aptly named – the ‘Fly in Light’ Pale Ale, ‘Birds of Paradise’ White IPA, ‘Eclipse of the Sun’ Scottish Ale, and ‘Fluff Up’ Belgian Witbier.
More recently, Sunbird Brewing Company launched its very first seasonal brew, the Ondeh-Ondeh Porter, in celebration of Singapore’s 55th birthday, and it is now my personal favourite as well.
The Ondeh-Ondeh Porter has a very bold and robust taste and it has a roasty flavour that resembles a burnt toast. The body is creamy and it pairs perfectly with spicy dishes. While some may find the aftertaste bitter, I personally found it just perfect. The initial sweetness likely comes from the Gula Melaka and the subtle hints of coconut and pandan are really unique.
We were very privileged to have an online interview with Clive Tan, Head Brewer and Director at Sunbird Brewing Company and it was an inspiring one as he shares his thoughts about his entrepreneurial journey.
Interview with Clive Tan, Head Brewer, Sunbird Brewing Company
What is Your Typical Day like as a Head Brewer?
I start work at 7 am for cellaring work and brewing and in the afternoon, I will work on the packaging and deliveries, and followed by paperwork at night.
What’s Your Favourite Beer Right Now and Why?
My favourite beer right now is still our Birds of Paradise White IPA. It’s refreshing and hoppy; so it’s really suitable as a day/night beer.
What Upcoming Trends will You Foresee in the Beer Industry?
We are currently in the hop-centric trend and I foresee that there will be more classic styles of beer that our team at Sunbird Brewing Company are prepared to brew.
What is Your Personal Take On 0% Alcohol Beers?
0% alcohol beers have certainly become more popular in the market these days. However, as Singapore’s exposure to craft beer is still at the entry-level, 0% beers might not take off in the next 5-10 years.
How did Your Journey as a Head Brewer Started?
I graduated from University with a Bachelor in Economics and Finance and with no working experience, I was jobless for 6 months. I then decided to take a leap of faith and purchased a ticket to Beerfest Asia where I went from booth to booth seeking for a job.
Fortunately, Innocence Brewing Company (which is now defunct) gave me an opportunity to become an Assistant Brewer and that was my first step forward in the craft beer brewing industry. A year into my job as an Assistant Brewer, I was poached by Archipelago Brewery and I became the youngest professional beer brewer in Singapore. 4 years later, I decided to embark on my plan to start Sunbird Brewing Company.
Coming from a business-oriented family, the conversations that I often have with my dad revolves around cash flows, ROI, and leadership skills; and that has greatly impacted me as an entrepreneur as the most important lesson that I have learnt from my dad is about business fundamentals.
How did the Ondeh-Ondeh Porter come about and How is it Made?
This seasonal beer started off as an idea during a brainstorming session with my team. It later became a serious project for us to showcase our skillset in curating a beer that is truly Singaporean. Since we are a local brewery, it is only natural for us to celebrate National Day with a Uniquely Singaporean flavour.
To make the Ondeh-Ondeh Porter; roasted grated coconut, Pandan leaves, and Gula Melaka are added during the brewing process of the malt-driven Porter beer style.
If you are interested to check out the range of craft beers by Sunbird Brewing Company, do check out their online shop at https://sunbirdbrewingco.com/collections/all. You will also enjoy free islandwide delivery when you spend $65 and above.