The Bar Hop: Modern Madness By The Great Beer Bar
Regaling us with tales of revelry at a craft beer festival in Thailand, Kennhyn Ang, co-founder of The Great Beer Bar and Ales & Lagers, is perfect company when you're having a pint (though let's be honest—it's never just a pint). If there is a friendlier beer enthusiast in town, we challenge you to introduce him/her to us.
Familiar bottles such as Arrogant Bastard Ale, BrewDog, and Hitachino Nest Beer line the shelves, but today, we're here for one thing only: the made-in-Malaysia brews that recently made their debut. "Modern Madness focuses on Asian flavours. For one, it will give Malaysians a fun sense of familiarity. Secondly, we believe the selection will instil pride," shares Kennhyn.
At just RM10 for 330ml, the five brews—four ales (4.5% ABV) and one porter (6% ABV)—on tap serve as a gateway for tipplers who shy away from costly craft beers.
"We’re also playing around with a tangerine beer that may or may not debut before Chinese New Year," says Kennhyn. "Not everything tastes good," he chuckles. Nevertheless, these are the Modern Madness brews that have made the cut:
Wine, whisky, cocktails or beer... No matter your poison of choice, always begin with the lightest of the lot when tackling a flight, this time being the Prosperity Ale. The auspicious-sounding amber libation aims to appeal to carousers this Chinese New Year.
Our first impressions? It is clean in profile, but by no means short of complexity. Modern Madness, which only uses all-natural ingredients, lists Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) as a key ingredient.
The Flower Ale strikes a nostalgic chord by toeing a line between adolescence and adulthood. Remember puncturing packets of Yeo's Chrysanthemum Tea while your uncles and aunties drained endless cans of beer? Now you can have the best of both worlds.
Lemongrass, which has roots in South India and Sri Lanka, perfumes a variety of Southeast Asian cuisines today, appearing in dishes, tisanes, cocktails and more. As one of the better known and well-loved Asian herbs (especially among expats), it automatically cements a place of popularity for the Lemongrass Ale.
Bak Kut Teh Ale
Do not pull a face before the bartender has pulled you a pint. The most provocative of Modern Madness's brews, the Bak Kut Teh Ale that's currently on tap took three tries to get right. Earlier versions purportedly tasted more like cold bak kut teh soup than beer, according to Kennhyn. A regular customer even suggested serving yau char kueh or deep-fried Chinese crullers on the side. Containing up to 17 different types of roots and dates, the finalised recipe has a pronounced aroma of liquorice.
Chocolate Coffee Porter
We cap our 'multicourse meal' with a bit of 'dessert' and 'coffee.' Bona fide cocoa bean husk—courtesy of Chocolate Concierge—went into cooking up this deeply delicious porter. "This is something to be savoured, not smashed," slurs an acquaintance, raising his hand for the next round.