Posted on March 29, 2017
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Japan, Korea, and Singapore
After a good ride, nothing goes down quite as smooth as a good beer. At Lola, we admire good craftsmanship when we see it, or in this case, taste it. We keep our eyes and taste buds on the lookout for the best of everything, and that includes not just furniture and architecture, but what goes on our plates or in our glasses, too. We also know one of the best ways to celebrate a great bike ride is with a great beer. To that end, here is a list of a few of our favorites for you to try.
Got a recommended brew? Tell us about it, and we’ll add it to our list!
Craft brewing in Japan is, according to Mark Meli, author of Craft Beer in Japan: The Essential Guide, enjoying a resurgence in interest. New breweries and brewpubs pop up steadily, so cyclists will have no shortage of places to pause during or after a ride. Here our are two favorite picks.
Baird Brewing Suruga Bay Imperial Ale
Brian and Sayuri Baird brewed their first beers in 2000 in a little town on the Izu Peninsula. Since then, their beers have earned international acclaim and a loyal following at home and abroad. The citrus and pine overtones of their Suruga Bay Imperial IPA, one of ten year-round beers, balance the hops well for one of the smoothest IPAs around. The crisp clean taste is sure to quench the thirst of riders just back from a Tour de Neighborhood or a longer journey through the wilds. It does have a heady 7.5%, but it goes down so smooth you don’t even notice.
Photo Courtesy of Baird Brewing
Kyoto Brewing Ichigo Ichie
Kyoto’s first and only craft beer brewer is a welcome addition to Japan’s ancient and beloved former capital. Started only a handful of years ago, Kyoto Brewing looks to Belgium and the United States for its beer influences before crafting their own unique line of brews. Ichigo Ichie blends Belgian and American hops for a saison in the best farmhouse style. (Saisons, the story goes, were traditionally brewed in the French-speaking region of Belgium to allay the thirst of farmers after a long day in the field.) At 5.9% it’s no lightweight, but we think its dry taste is the perfect refresher after a good ride on a beautiful day.
Photo Courtesy of Kyoto Brewing
While the craft beer scene in Korea is still getting on its feet, two breweries are leading the charge and worth pedaling to for a visit. Hand and Malt and Magpie both brew some of the finest beers going, with quality food menus to match.
Hand and Malt Mocha Stout
Founder Bryan Do stepped away from his work at Microsoft to try his hand at something a little different: brew beer and make good food. His brewery with its newly opened taproom was one of the first in the country and stands out as one of the best. Hand and Malt’s brewery farm supplies the majority of their hops, and like other craft brewers they look local for the best ingredients for the beers as well as their pub fare. Their Mocha Stout with deep tones of coffee and malt is sure to recharge batteries and fortify the soul. At 4.5%, it could even make a nice addition to a post-ride brunch!
Photo Courtesy of Hand and Malt
Craft beer in South Korea is a relatively new thing, but the brewers at Magpie work magic like old masters. Started in Seoul and expanded to Hongdae and Jeju Island, they offer a mix of seasonal and standard brews that take their cue from local ingredients and preferred tastes. Our recommendation for the end of a ride is the Magpie Kolsch. This crisp, clean classic starts with an ale yeast but finishes cold like a lager. Most importantly, at 4.8% it goes down smooth and easy. It pairs well with their signature pizza (handmade dough with fresh toppings and baked to order) or grilled cheese sandwiches, two more post-ride treats to say the least!
Photo Courtesy of Magpie
Based on ever-increasing numbers in attendance at Singapore’s Beerfest, the island nation’s premier annual beer event, it’s safe to say that the craft beer revolution is alive and well here. As part of our extensive “research rides”, we scouted out these two relatively new and definitely spectacular spots for some sweet sipping after a ride.
Singapore Little Island Brewing Company Ruby Tuesday Red Ale
This massive beer hall and brewery is a popular beer hub and with good reason. The selection of brews made on site and excellent food with a unique pay-as-you-pour system make it well worth visiting as does the proximity to the beach. Stop in after a ride here along the coast to enjoy the views after a long ride (or even a short one, frankly) and a nibble of choice. Our favorite is Ruby Tuesday, a malty brew that pours a deep red and offers nice flavors and at 5% offers just the right amount of punch.
Photo Courtesy of Little Island Brewing
Alchemist Beer Lab 50 Shades of Pink
Run by the same folks who started Little Island Brewing Company, the Alchemist is a deliciously different beast. While beer is on the menu, the little basement brewpub is better known for its infusions. Sixteen infusion towers display the day’s choices of beers and ciders are infused with fresh, local fruits, herbs, and spices for unique blends. Our favorite is 50 Shades of Pink, a crisp, semi-dry cider infused with guava for a slightly sweet finish. Pair it with any of the mouth-watering treats on the menu for complete restoration.
Photo Courtesy of Alchemist