The Beer Geek
We Are Singapore...Singaporean!
Updated: Oct 14, 2019
The Geek is waxing sentimental during this period of flag-waving, nation-loving, Singa-hugging, Dragon slide-missing nostalgia. National Day is not just another public holiday when people flock out of Singapore for a breather, but more often than not for some of us more introspective types, a time for personal reflection...usually after a Gose, one of those new-fangled hazies, and maybe a barrel-aged Russian imperial stout.
The Geek has been turning the idea over about national identity as it relates to personhood. Concepts of personal pride, cultural identification, belonging, community, and loyalty have all been part of the wort that’s been steadily boiling in the Geek’s mash tun of a noggin. So while there are not a lot of wholly formed ideas yet at this time, the Geek would like to be able to free-associate some of these ideas with all curious readers at this time...bear with the Geek, and a few beers first will help with the perception of coherence.
Firstly, the Geek loves the Singapore beer community, dearly. National Day is a timely reminder to us all to love and respect those who brew and are associated with independent brewing in Singapore. The Geek has been known to gush copiously and carry on about how much love and effort go into producing a decent brew in Singapore, the “nose-bleeding-est mostest expensive city in the world to brew in”. I’ve also held forth on not a few occasions now about how everybody that churns out a decent pint of Made in Singapore should be casually worshipped. Furthermore, the Geek truly believes the blessed souls behind Brewlander, Daryl’s Urban Ales, That Singapore Beer Project, and the General Brewing Co., deserving of sainthood. Even the evil genius behind the Crossroads Brewing Co. deserves a shot at redemption…. These are the Geek’s opinions and the Geek’s alone, and are in no way a reflection of reality let alone the position of any organization, corporation, or drinking kakis. There is some basis in fact for the Geek’s sentiments and quite simply it is that each and every one of these Singapore brewing endeavors has involved a prime-mover passionate, not to mention crazy, enough about good beer and balanced ales to follow through on the improbable notion of independent craft brewing in Singapore. Each of these individuals has wandered off the beaten path in path-following Singapore, put together a business plan, raised capital, built brewing operations, developed distribution, and then committed to nurturing this unruly beast of a thing 24/7 indefinitely. If this does not deserve respect, even the grudging kind, I don’t know what does. What follows this respect, in the Geek’s humble opinion, is the willingness to pay for a quality Made in Singapore product.
Secondly, it might seem silly, but independent brewing is helping to put Singapore on the map, as much as Joseph Schooling or CRA.* Independent brewing is not only turning out to be good business (not such a crazy idea after all), but also an endeavor that has plugged Singapore into the global community of craft brewers and consumers. We are not only a nation of consumers, a lucrative market to sell imported beer in, but a growing nation of producers sharing the Singapore experience with the rest of the craft beer universe through robust, innovative, and flavorful brews. So along with Singaporeans that take their ingenuity, industry, and skill into the World through sports, tech, entrepreneurship, law, and medicine, Singapore’ s independent brewers are truly representing and holding their own in the big bad world of craft beer. “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town…” We owe it to our independent brewers to make sure they feel the love, in this their town!
Thirdly, as a nation of consumers and beer nerds, Singaporeans are fiercely proud of our nascent brewing independence and beer culture. On this front, the Geek has to remind everybody to dig deep to support the very brewers in Singapore that we crow about...and by dig deep, I mean into pockets, people. Singapore beer culture is nothing without its people, and the people can only keep doing what they’re doing if Singaporeans keep the love flowing through social media, attendance at events, and generally keeping the noise level about Singapore independent brewing 2 dB above the Lion Roar. We also keep our people when we buy their beer...I know I keep circling back to this same theme, but somebody’s gotta be the one to yell “FIRE!” at the top of their lungs, and it might as well be me...good beer costs more to make in Singapore than just about anywhere else and so we need to stop moaning about how dear local pints are compared to imports. The only thing that should matter is whether it’s any good. If a sip of local lights up all the right pleasure centers in that KPI-overloaded brain of yours, then pay the dang barman/maid already, shut-up and enjoy letting your eyes roll back into your head and that precious measure of sanity while those expertly crafted flavor notes sing their ballad to an audience of one, you.
Finally, the Geek is working on putting together a band of other Geeks, gizzards (geek-wizards), nerds, and all round nice folk who love Singapore, to set a hot couple up. It’s about time the ponderously encyclopedic flavor profile of Singapore hawker food met the voluptuous lusciousness of Singapore craft beer. Makes perfect sense to me, but like setting people up in real life, the idea needs to see the light of day and be calibrated by more level heads than mine. Consider this national service served when the marriage of the two things that the Geek dearly loves about this little red dot, is official. Only then will the Geek go quietly into that good night.
*both the books and the movie, you pick. The Geek is partial to the books, which were a deliciously sinful break from being cerebral and rational.