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Beer Reviews

Lion Brewery Kaiser Kölsch, English Bitter Beer, The Boss Mosaic IPA

Are we too good for Asian craft beer?

Many a craft beer snob (who are certainly more knowledgeable about this topic than me) tell me that the Asian craft beer scene is tepid. There isn’t quite as strong a culture of craft beer appreciation as the US craft beer scene – which has a plethora of options, vibrant styles and bold experimentation.

But a glance back into the spotted history of the American craft beer movement tells us that every movement requires a real struggle. Although interest in homebrew craft beer began as early as the 1960s, microbrewing only began taking off after President Jimmy Carter de-regulated the beer market in 1979. It would take another couple of years for these microbreweries to expand to a slightly larger scale.


Blogger E.D. Kain argued that US President Jimmy Carter’s most significant achievement (besides a Nobel Peace Prize), is saving of the US craft beer industry by clearing red tape for small scale beer producers in 1979 (The Atlantic: How Jimmy Carter Saved Craft Beer).


Time and patience are needed to get a movement going.

A good friend once told me, “By walking one makes the road”. We certainly have to start somewhere, don’t we? Already we are seeing the beginnings of greatness in our local microbrewers – many of whom have been toiling tirelessly in their breweries, many of whom raised eye-watering amounts to fund their passion project with no guarantee of a return in investment.


A brewer appearing to shovel malt barley into a mash tun (Image Source: Lion Brewery Co)


As enthusiasts, our job is much simpler. We just need to drink. And with many affordable and undeniably tasty local craft beer options springing up left right centre, we really ought to give them a fair swish.

Lion Brewery Co is a Singaporean craft brewery with a touch of English and American flavour – being co-founded by Harry Renshaw from the UK, and Will Julius from the US. The founders wanted to create a beer that speaks to the Singapore’s sunny island paradise reputation. Something refreshing with profiles of tropical, fruity, citrusy aromas, but also easily drinkable with not too much bitterness.



I recently procured the 3 of their slightly more unusual seasonable beers. The first is the presumably lightest Kaiser Kölsch (pronounced “kool-sh”), followed by the velvety-textured English Bitter, and finally The Boss, a fairly robust single-hopped IPA.

For better comparison, I drank them all in one sitting. No, I did not use a spittoon – I paid for this! So please forgive any typographical errors you see after this point.

I can’t speak for other craft beer nerds but I’ll say this at the outset – their beers are surprisingly enjoyable to me. So let’s get to tasting them!


Lion Brewery’s Kaiser Kölsch, 4.5% ABV – Review



Colour: Cantaloupe Gold.

Nose: Bright, juicy and inviting. Immediate notes of tantalising orchard fruits waft out. Crisp red apples and pears distinctly make their entrance.



More bright fruity notes unfold as we have pineapple juice and hints of sweet honey dew, layered with an obvious floral hoppiness.



Palate: Fruity, refreshing, light-textured with an interesting nuance. This appears to be a lighter style of Kölsch – opens up with typical lager-like hoppiness, bright apple juice.



As sweetness and fruitiness begin to wane, hoppiness begins to grow in intensity. An interesting complexity unfolds as the hoppiness actually develops into an unusual sweet-and-briny note with some nuttiness, quite reminiscent of drinking coconut water.



The finish: long and hoppy with a subtle herbaceous scent of daisies and a lemony-bitter rind note. Richness and maltiness begins to grow with light notes of barley water and apricots.



My take

Our Rating


Count on this to be as reliable as a honey bee or Chinese take-out. I won’t get tired of this combo of orchard fruits, florals, hops and a mild briny complexity. This is one I’d be happy to pop every Friday night after a long day at work. Having a beer-and-TV-driven midlife crisis doesn’t seem so bad after all.


Lion Brewery Kaiser Kölsch, 4.5% ABV

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Lion Brewery’s English Bitter “Staggeringly Sessionable” Beer, 3.5% ABV – Review



Don’t let the style “English Bitter” fool you about its flavour – the term “bitter” is a hangover from 19th century English when brewers referred to their pale ale as “bitters”. Bitters are broadly similar to the IPA style, but has much lower levels of hops, and hence less bitterness.

This beer is also what many would call a “session beer” – designed to have lower ABV to allow drinkers to have may more beers and last the “session”. This style tends to be light, less hoppy and less malty.

Colour: Apricot Orange.

Nose: Rich, creamy, malty and honeyed. Much less sweet on the nose than the Kaiser Kölsch but a little more decadent like a dense cake. Opens with heavy notes of barley malt syrup and a thick earthiness.



As the curtain of thick, malty notes part ways some sweet, herbal complexity on the nose unfolds, quite distinctly like dried longans and Hashima dessert soup (雪蛤膏糖水) .



Palate: Delicious velvety texture – this is thick, viscous and bready. A very clear malt-driven body indeed with distinct notes of barley, vanilla and savoury yeasty bread. Muted notes of sweetness and very understated hop bitterness.



As the beer head dissipates, orange tangerines begin to show up with a dried woodiness on the back.



Finish: Long, fading notes of musky, buttery malted milk biscuits.



My take


Our Rating 


As decadent and substantial as a stack of toasty, buttery pancakes. Texture really trumps here – I loved the velvety, runny, satisfying texture which more than made up for the lower ABV. Due to the richer malty notes, hop influence takes a backseat and there’s not much bitterness. A fairly heavy and malty session beer perfect for drinkers who prefer not to see too much alcohol or hops.


Lion Brewery English Bitter, 3.5% ABV

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Lion Brewery’s The Boss Mosaic IPA, 6.5% ABV – Review



Colour: Ripe sliced red mango.

Nose: Very fruity, syrupy and rich – in fact this is equally rich on the nose as the English Bitter, except that there are plenty of tropical fruits now. First whiff reveals very obvious notes of Philippine sliced mangoes. Slowly develops into something more tart - passion fruits and mangosteens.



Some citrusy hoppiness and woody notes of rosemary develop on the back.



Palate: Rich, thicker than the English Bitter and rather syrupy – a medley of tropical fruits. The first draw is akin to a big slurp of iced mango smoothie and somehow topped with citrusy, lightly bitter grapefruit pulp.



Incredibly juicy with plenty of honeyed sweetness. Mango smoothie fades into to the gentle elevated sweetness of soft pink guavas, fresh apricots and nectarine.



Finish: Short, brief notes of sweet citrus - pomelo and grapefruits on mildly-bitter rind.



My take


 My Rating


Absolutely a mango sorbet in a can. Very big, juicy notes of mango that leap right out at us, couriered by a smooth, silky texture and slightly higher alcoholic strength to deliver a kick. The finish is a tad short and lacking in hops, but the sweetness and fruitiness makes this my favourite of the lot reviewed today.


Lion Brewery The Boss Mosaic IPA, 6.5% ABV

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