Sunday, January 31, 2016


It's been quite a while the newspaper column started--perhaps time to get back to basics :-
What's the idea of CRAFT BEER?
-some basic ideas:-
*NOT all beers should be drank COLD( yeah--some beers would taste better after "warming up"--styles like stouts/porter/barley wine/Belgian strong ale...)
*Some beers can be kept--or cellar--just like wine or whisky....
*Beers are being chased/traded/buy & sell privately--sometimes at a certain premium/high prices---kinda like wine or whisky collector's market
-these are something most people never expected of beers--if all you have known about beer is only big factory commercial beers....
-一些啤酒类别比如STOUTS,比如PORTER,比如BARLEY WINE,要等回温,比较不是那么冷了才好喝,才能体现更多不同层次/口感。(不是所有啤酒都一定要冷飕飕喝的)
SO...what is CRAFT BEER?
It's the beautiful real beer world you never knew existed.
Time to wake up your senses and starts searching for some delicious beers...
无论是港台大陆惯用的手工啤酒,精酿啤酒,自酿啤酒,又或是本栏的“撞意啤酒” 很多消费者不懂,听都没听过,印象中,啤酒只是啤酒,没有什么千变万化,种类繁多的概念。(撞意啤酒?---不同想法念头通过食材原料在酿造过程碰撞出来的啤酒)
WHERE can i buy Craft Beer?
well--if you are staying in major cities in Asia--then this is probably less of a problem--though you still do not expect to just buy craft beer from your nearest convenience stores -but if you live in Malaysia and NOT in KL(there's only 3 bottle shop+3 bars as of now)--then you might have problem finding craft beer.
BUT hey--this is the era of click and buy--just go on to WWW--you would be able to find something from the web-shop be it in and around Asia or Europe/US....
HOW to drink?
Craft beer sounds complicated---there's so many different styles you saying? what is IPA?( made in India?)--what is Lambic?...
Well--the best way is just go to a bar/bottle shop--taste a few different styles of beers--slowly--over a period of time if you are drinking alone--it's fine--but if you have a few friends--even better--just share the beers--talk about them--share what you think...that's how you start....
听起来看起来,CRAFTBEER好像有点复杂,什么PALE ALE,什么IPA,什么LAMNIC,单单听说有那么多不同选择就让人头晕目眩。
Craft is NOT for GULPING
It's "common concept" for many NON-Craft drinkers to think that anything alcoholic is only serving 1 purpose--to get high or to get Drunk.
This is NOT something associated with Craft Beer( ok--craft beer is still alcoholic--and many with much higher ABV than the usual commercial beers)--well--if you have tasted some heavier craft beer--you would know that the beer itself would make you SLOW SIP naturally rather than just gulp it down....
In simple term--craft beer is more for tasting/slowly appreciating--not to get wasted( although we all do occasionally..)--and there's actually a certain way of drinking that would kinda reduce greatly your chances of falling flat on ground due to alcoholic punches...
WHAT do you mean by that?
-one of the best way to make sure you would get drunk pretty fast is to start drinking on EMPTY STOMACH(no food prior to drinking session)--you DO NOT want to do that.
-another way of reducing alcoholic punches?--SHARE the beers--or Drink Less Taste More--sharing with friends or even total strangers you have just met in a bar is always good...end of the day craft beer is about tasting and sharing...

Friday, January 22, 2016

WEEK 67---WHY LIKE THAT...????

The craft movement here in KL has been in place for about 5-6 years--what has changed? Generally speaking the market would always be dominated by MACRO beers--those easily available at every super market--neighborhood coffee shop--and of course bars and clubs...
Since craft beer is something so different--so delicious--so varied--so full of choices--how come it's seemingly so hard to get most people to get started--get interested--or even know about craft?


Let's stand on the other side and try to see things from the ordinary consumers point of view:-
1) drinking craft beer meaning i have to go to a certain place only can get? I would not find any at the nearest convenience stores or say my favourite coffee shop?
Yeah--running around to get beer is not something most consumers would do--it's just beer!
撞意啤酒不是随处可买,很多时候需要去专卖店\瓶子店才有, 为啤酒特地跑来跑去不是一般消费者会有的观念。
2) what is craft beer? it sound kind of strange to me( i thought it's DRAFT beer...)--got such term as craft beer? ok--but seems complicated--kind of tiring just listening or googling to know there's so many different types of beers...
Yeah--it's human nature to shy away from things not familiar with .
3) Craft beer all imported right? must be expensive? and why this bottle pricing is so much higher than that one? dont all beers are more or less same same ?----what? some limited version or harder to get beers can be on par or more expensive than wine?--i think you must be joking...
Yeah--some ordinary drinkers would only look at price factor--and ignore how and why a certain beer can be more pricier than average Macro beers... ( or different pricing for different craft beer for that matter)--( but STRANGELY they certainly know a plate of lobster is supposed to be more expensive than a plate of shrimp)
4)Aiya--that beer is out? that one i like so much don't know when coming back? This one only 1 year brew limited volume? that lovely beer NO MORE brewing?--why like that ? i thought drinking beers is just keep repeating the same old few beers you like--no good man--craft beer is so complicated--don't know how to do business--good one must always got ready stock mah....:)
Yeah--i cannot always get back the same beers i had is something very alien a concept to ordinary consumers--I got money but cannot always get what i want?---how can that happen?
喝啤酒不就是一直重复喝同一两个品牌口味,恒久不变的事情嘛? 怎么来到撞意啤酒世界就变样了?“上次喝的的那支好久都没来货?”“ 这支一年只酿一批?”“那支绝版不再酿了?”怎么这样,有钱还买不到
5)Since craft beer got so many different types/styles/brands--that's saying i need to study to know more then only know how to choose my beers?--that's not good--why drink beers become like exam or study--so not relax....
Yeah--the palate training/building stage is something very new, unheard of for many new drinkers--and it can get a little annoying at times to some.
6) That day i went to a place--the guy at the shop say this good that good--i drink and drink--not one i like--craft beer no good la...i might as well drink back my XXX Macro beer...
Yeah--it could happen--either the drinker is comparing everything he or she is having with the limited Macro beer taste he/she familiar with --or perhaps the guy at the craft beer place went slightly too personal preference when recommending...
7)I heard you have to drink very high ABV beers to taste very delicious beers?--there's no doubt many many question marks inside the head of every new drinkers--but it's OK to just go with the flow, go with your instinct--good to also talk to friends, or people who are more experience--go on to WWW to check/study certain things about beers--read a book and so on...
Yeah--craft beer drinking is like a journey--you question--you explore--and eventually you would find joy...
so what's the best way to start with craft beer?
simple--go to the craft beer bar/bottle shop with some friends--share a few different styles of beers--and you are well on your way to discovering the beers you never knew existed....


Tuesday, January 5, 2016


从太平洋的纽西兰举家搬迁到英吉利海峡的英国,STU的主要动力当然包含CRAFT BEER---而英伦风影响可以从他的年度啤酒印象记看出。。
Stu is from New Zealand--somehow craft beer has persuaded him and his family to move to England since last year, hence it's not surprising to note the "English influence" in the list, here's the list as per Stu --in his own words:- ( pics courtesy of Stu) 
Moor Amoor
Moor Beer Company have been one of my standout breweries since arriving in the UK. Moor are not really one of the new cool breweries of Britain. They just make utterly fantastic beer, all day, every day.

Although I’ve moved here permanently now, I first came over for a couple of weeks of work in February. While sneaking a day off to hang out with my brother in the Scottish borders, I tried this truly spectacular porter in the fantastic Curfew micro-pub in Berwick-upon-Tweed. It’s a crying shame that I’ve not seen it on the pumps again since…(maybe you been busy brewing Stu.;)
让STU很喜欢,印象深刻的一家酿坊, 不过自从在接近苏格兰边界一家酒吧喝到后,STU就没能在其他地方看到(应该是他太忙于酿酒?:)

Burning Sky Saison de la Provision
Spending a day with the outrageously talented Mark Tranter of Burning Sky is something I have come back to thinking about a lot.
Mark, who’d taken Dark Star to being one of the best UK breweries, set up his own brewery a little more than a year ago and is making some of the very best beers in the Britain. In fact, I’d already place Burning Sky up there with my favourite breweries in the world: Logsdon Farmhouse Ales, Jolly Pumpkin, De Ranke. They really are special.
Saison de la Provision is the kind of beer that transcends the sum of its ingredients and the aged bottled we opened at Burning Sky was mind blowing. 
应该说是酿酒师之间的一种尊重,STU非常欣赏BURNING SKY的主创酿酒师MARK,自从离开之前的酿坊(DARK STAR)之后,MARK新开的这家酿坊已经是STU心目中最佳之一。照片中STU手握的陈年农村风格啤酒用了”脑震荡“来形容。。。

Anything from Fullers
Living in London has taken my appreciation of Fuller’s Brewery to a new level. I had always loved them out of the bottle in New Zealand (and on my travels here) but to have them regularly, from cask, is a truly special thing that nobody should take for granted.
Whether it’s sessions of London Pride, Oliver’s Island or Black Cab Stout… or a nice pint of the brilliant London Porter, ESB or 1845… it’s always a masterclass in brewing. These rank highly on the little-known Keeling scale (surely a soon-to-be-adopted worldwide measure of drinkability).
The pint pictured – Fuller’s ESB – was a rare sneaky pint on my own at The Parcel Yard in King’s Cross Station… I always arrive very early for trains out of Kings Cross so that I can grab a pint there.
这家英伦酿坊算是亚洲蛮多城市都比较常见的啤酒品牌,STU觉得自从常住英国之后,对这家酿坊的啤酒有新领会,以易喝度来说绝对上选--有时候,为了在KING CROSS火车站酒吧喝上一杯鲜啤,STU会特意早到。

Drinking on a 4th Floor brewery, at Young Master Ales
I love visiting new places and seeing our beer on tap but, even more than that, I get a real kick off discovering local beers in these places (especially when they are emerging craft beer scenes).
This year I was lucky enough to spend a week in Hong Kong, where our beers have been selling for about 18 months, and to be involved in a few events at some excellent new venues. Everywhere I went I noticed Young Master beers and I really enjoyed every single one I tried. When our importer suggested we pop out for a visit, I jumped at the chance.
The waterfront setting on Ap Lei Chau, south of Hong Kong Island, could conjur up all sorts of romantic imagery for those who do not know the area. But Young Master Ales is set on the fourth floor of an industrial-looking storage building, a far cry from Hong Kong’s famed waterfront. The romance is certainly here, however, for anyone who tastes these delicious beers and gets to see the gleam in the eye of visionary founder Rohit Dugar. A brewery to watch in Hong Kong, for sure.  
这是香港朋友们熟悉的自酿品牌--少爷。STU在香港逗留了一个星期,也去看了一些有卖自家啤酒(YEASTIE BOYS)的酒吧,每次STU都看到少爷啤酒,在进口商朋友邀请下,STU去了设在一栋工业楼第四层的酿坊拜访---“香港值得留意的一家。”

All the beers at The Harp, Covent Garden
Sometimes the setting is more important than the beer itself. Part of the appeal of living in London (and many other towns and cities of Britain), is the absolute riches it contains in regards to pubs. The Harp, in Covent Garden, is one of the absolute best.
Looking for all intents and purposes like a hundred other English boozers in the city, with a hundred suits drinking on the street on any summer lunchtime or evening (and a hundred more or so inside), it’s a step above the rest when it comes to the beer selection.
A Fuller’s pub, by ownership, you’d never know from the beer selection inside. There’s far more  Dark Star than Fullers on the bar and there’s usually 8-10 breweries represented. I’ve drunk a lot of The Kernel IPA, Dark Star APA, Fuller’s London Pride and a fair few beers from other London breweries in there. And we’ve been lucky enough to have Yeastie Boys on tap on a number of occasions.
Lovely welcoming staff and a very pleasant upstairs room if you want to take a seat rather than stand among the hordes neat the bar. Perfect for stopping off for a pint by yourself, or a decent session with friends.
喝啤酒有时候也看什么地方的,这家位于COVENT GARDEN热闹酒吧街的一家是STU的推荐,除了选酒之外,气氛,服务都是推荐理由。

Yeastie Boys UK
We started producing our beer in UK, for European market, and it was a pleasure and a privilege to work with the brilliant team at Brewdog. To finally taste our beers produced here, after a year of planning – and even more of thinking about it – was a real highlight of 2015.
There’s an exciting road ahead in 2016 with a couple more beers being added to the range here.
2015年是STU自家品牌发展上重要的一年,通过大众集资,YEASTIE BOYS已在英国和酿狗团队合作酿造自家啤酒。今年会有一些新品推出。

Friday, January 1, 2016

WEEK 66---MEMORABLE BEER LIST 2015---by cttai

非正式成立的本地品酒会--完全陌生人的美国啤迷因公来马促成的本地有史以来最强大品酒会--为啤酒去了新加坡和曼谷出席品酒会--自己去了欧洲一趟,参加了哥本哈根CBC,拜访了CANTILLON/DE MOLEN,以及不同城市专卖吧/瓶子店,还有期间认识的新朋友们。

and so 2015 has just passed by --but the list continues on, this time my list for the year.
2015 has been a year of leaps and bounds in beer terms:-
-the natural forming of a regular tasting group in KL
-going out as a group on beer trip--2 trips last year( SG & BKK)
-some form of beercation to Europe for CBC2015
-visiting Cantillon & De Molen--as well the bars/bottle shop in different cities...
-a surprise visit by a(total stranger)American beer geek to KL--making the best ever tasting this city has seen possible.
-and of course--all beer friends made during the past year..
in a nutshell--2015 been an important year of real eye opener, as well palate opener...the list below is for newspaper column--which is somewhat limiting due to limited space, will add on few more not published in newspaper:-
18th street Bitch B Crazy
A surprised gift bottle by brewer Drew Fox during CBC--which i brought back to KL to share with the guys--before this few of us only had a bottle of HUNTER stout before--no idea what to expect from this little gift bottle--the verdict ? all 5 were basically quite speechless after a few sip--it was that good--yet not hyped up at all.
跟本地几位超级啤迷分享的一支小瓶装,也就是说,只能喝上一小杯,这是酿酒师DREW FOX在哥本哈根啤酒庆典亲手赠送瓶子,名气不比被捧上天或黑市价格吓人盛名黑啤,不过,功力体现的美味让所有人折服,浩瀚啤海总会有惊喜。
Pliny the Elder + Heady Topper
to have had the chance to drink TWICE in a short span of time here in KL--both quite freshly bottled/canned was like ..WTF :)  though it's probably not very accurate for me to say this --but just cant resist in saying these two are like the YIN and YANG of typical American IPA...have emm and you shall see what's the fuss all about....
IPA被好多人视为CRAFT BEER标志性酿品,觉得就是要啤酒花苦味冲击才算好,不过,试过公认为两大必试美国不同风格IPA后才知道什么是真正高手酿品,前者讲究均衡平和,后者强调酒花功用之余不咄咄逼人。
New Glarus Strawberry Rhubarb
one word came to mind recalling this beer---WOW!!!  partly due to the fact all 5 of us did not know what to expect from such a beer--but i guess the best reaction can be summed up by the action of the gf of one of the tasting group guys--a non-geek, non-beer lover--she practically HOLD ON TIGHT to that glass of beer and said"it's all mine!"  :)  ( to be honest--all of us guys were feeling the same)
if i can use a simple description to say how it taste--imagine chewing on freshly squeezed, light sour/sweet/aromatic strawberry jam--in a beer form.
Hillfarmstead Clara
my first ever Hillfarmstead beer--found it at Mikkeller & friends( thanks to Nic for sharing) --at 4%, this would be very much a "nothing" beer for many ipa/stout drinkers--and we actually just did a heavy BA stout before drinking this one--it more than held it's own--nope--it actually taste it's own--so easy going, plain--yet full of layer. if you don't believe in low abv "nothing" beer--try this.
La Petit Prince & Princess
another low abv beer---this time even lower--only at 2.9%---had the Prince on tap at CBC--and princess in bottle bought from Amsterdam. Again--it's so easy going, drinkable, yet subtly satisfying the palate needs for depth.
小王子是美国酿坊JESTER KING的名作,小公主则是和法国一家酿坊的合酿,都属于低度啤酒,只有2.9%,适合任何时候喝的佳酿。
Cigar City Hunapuh's
yes--this bad boy landed here in KL--like a wildest dream turn real.
This is no doubt the unanimous pick of the group among some of the big big stouts we have had the opportunity to taste. It basically hits all the right notes in a big stout--big, bold, deep, thick, smooth, creamy --plus that killer roasted coconut like mouth feel. HANDS down--personal big favourite stout of 2015.( and to think that 2015 we had BRUERY Weekday series--Westbrook Mexican Cake and so on....)
Yellow Belly
A collab brew by Buxton/Omnipollo--it's amazingly fun, taste like chewing on roasted cotton candy with a layer of peanut butter--with no actual peanut butter use at all while brewing....just amazing fun beer, and of course tasty ( glad that new bottles supply would be on the way soon :)
Founders KBS
for fans of KBS--i would like to say sorry that this beer was included in the Memorable list for a slightly different reason--we had a bottle mailed in from the states--really excited to have found one and try it here in KL---BUT--all 5 of us were totally let down by the High expectations we placed on the beer. KBS is surely a good beer--that is no argument--but it simply did not live up to the expectations--we all thought it was just good--NOT WOW--it kinda make us think a little about the reality of chasing after big name beers--that you would obviously be delighted to find big beers--but whether that beer live up to your expectations--can be another story all together...(but hey--keep chasing we would ;)
CANTILLON & some other lambics/sours
it's crazy to think that prior to 2015--i have had only very very few lambic--which is understandable since there's only Japan and Taiwan has got direct supply from Belgium--but have had the opportunity to sample more than 20 different lambics mainly from Cantillon- 3Fonteinen-Tilquin in 2015...
if i were to pick one that is vividly clear in my memory months after having it--it would have to be the bottle of Cuvee Florian i had while visiting Cantillon--it just tasted so delicious with a twist of roasted aroma.
今年有幸喝到好几家多款不同天然发酵果酸啤酒,众里选一的话,会是CUVEE FLORIAN这支2014特酿,带烤香味的清爽微酸复杂啤酒,展现了成名酿品中再创新口感的可能。

 Beers/moments not mentioned in newspaper column:-
*Fifty/Fifty Eclipse food pairing @ upstairs Mikkeller BKK
gourmet food and beer pairing is something not many people think of---it's a nice experience to have attended this event with 7 different stouts from Eclipse series--pairing with different food prepared by chef Dan Bark(former sous chef at Grace--michelin 3 star restaurant in Chicago)
it would have been quite different experience had we only drank the 7 beers during a normal tasting session--but with the 7 course specially prepared/paired--it became very much layered and one could tell the differences of each stouts having what kind of influences from the food.... or vice versa
美食搭啤酒好像不是很多人会想到一块的事,去年底在曼谷米吧新开的楼上餐厅就有好玩体验,用7道不同菜肴/甜点配搭美国小型酿坊FIFTY FIFTY的ECLIPSE系列中的7支黑啤,可以体会美食如何衬托啤酒,甚至提升味道的美妙,整体来说,特意飞去曼谷绝对值得。

*Triple-fisting FFF
-i first had the taste of a Three Floyds tap takeover here in Asia--at Mikkeller BKK to be precise--that was late OCT 2014.
Months later--i found myself at Copenhagen beer week late April 2015--while waiting to attend CBC which happened on weekend--one of the tap takeover during that week was FFF at Mikkeller VK -and there i was--almost instinctively i ordered 3 glasses almost at the same time...darklord/zombie dust/darklord vanilla bean---just unreal holding those 3 :)
2015在哥本哈根啤酒庆典做过最“梦幻”的其中一件事就是在一个“占领啤酒泵”活动中,一次过买了3杯THREE FLOYDS最受追捧的DARK LORD/DARK LORD VANILLA BEAN和美式淡啤ZOMBIE DUST。啤迷梦想,大约如此。