25 Feb 2013

Food - Must Eats -

Brew Your Own Beer

What’s better than enjoying a fizzy ice-cold beer with white bubbly froth on a hot day in Singapore? “Brewing one (yourself)”, says professional beer brewer, Neo Say Wee.

Abigail Tan

What’s better than enjoying a fizzy ice-cold beer with white bubbly froth on a hot day in Singapore? “Brewing one (yourself)”, says professional beer brewer, Neo Say Wee.

Say Wee took a radical career switch in 2004 to pursue his “calling as a professional beer brewer” and set up Home Brew, supplying beer brewing equipment and ingredients. “Basically it is a passion that has gone beyond what a passion should be. It started off as a hobby, (and) thereafter I decided to do it full-time,” he says.

DIY Beer, or otherwise known as home brewing, refers to “an alcoholic beverage (usually beer) made on a very small scale for own consumption”, generally in the comfort of your own home.

As home brewing gets increasingly popular, more avid beer lovers are turning to it  for its novelty and cheap start-up costs. A basic beer brewing kit with all the necessary materials allows you to brew up to 23 litres of beer, all for SGD$175.

Located at Telok Blangah Crescent Market & Food Centre, HomeBrew carries all the necessary equipment needed to make your own fizzy concoction! 

“It started off  very much an expat sort of hobby, but in the last few years, there are more locals getting their hands ‘dirty’, when usually locals want fuss-free stuff,” says the fervent beer lover who drinks beer everyday.

“I’ll say that I sample beer daily,” he jokingly quips.

Commercial breweries pale in comparison to microbreweries in terms of its flexibility. “They (microbreweries) have the flexibility of moving around to different recipes, whereas for commercial breweries, Tiger will always be Tiger, and Heineken will always be Heineken,” he says.

Be it commercial beers or home brews, any brewing process requires four vital ingredients: Water, hops, malt and yeast. However, home brews provide an additional edge of customising beer according to one’s preference. For instance, adding extra hops will result in a more bitter brew, while increasing the quantity of malt will enhance its sweetness.

Malt is added into the fully-automated brewing machine, producing alcohol, carbon dioxide gases and give rise to flavour in the drink.

“I like to put in other ingredients besides the four main ingredients and sometimes I get a nice surprise,” he says as he takes out a bottle of home brewed beer with a fruit-tea bag infused in it. “Trying to blend two of the most popular beverages in the world may give you something that is quite unique (too),” says the jolly individual.

While beer is beverage enjoyed by most drinkers, Say Wee cautions that certain home brews might not be to some people’s liking. “Craft beers are usually drunk warmer, around 8 to 12 degree Celsius for the flavour of the beer to really shine through, (but) most of the commercial beers that we drink are cold.”

Nevertheless, regardless of whether the beers are tepid or chilled, he finds gratification in crafting his own beer.

“You can put a signature to it… (and) you can actually be proud to say that it is what you have brewed, and you will definitely enjoy drinking it because it is what you have created.”

Say Wee facilitating the process of transferring cool wort (unfermented beer) into the fermentor. 

By Abigail Tan



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