[ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE] Ondeh-Ondeh Porter, a Unique Singaporean Concoction, and Other Craft Beers by Sunbird Brewery Co.

Hello everyone!

Singapore might just be a tiny red dot on the world map, but our capabilities are not to be belittled. Already, our country boasts a few homegrown brands (such as Razer and Tiger Beer) that have earned international acclaim for their products. Now, with more companies demonstrating their ingenuity, the list is just going to keep growing!

Sunbird Brewery Company is one such example, as they have been making waves in the craft beer industry since entering the scene in July last year with a collection of four craft beers. Led by founder Clive Tan who paid his dues at Archipelago Brewery and Brewerkz, Sunbird (named after Singapore’s national bird) is driven by the passion to produce bolder flavours with an innovative edge for consumers of the future. Curious to know what the hype was all about, my companion and I promptly accepted the company’s invitation to taste all of their craft beers – including their latest offering launched in April – at Orh Gao Taproom last Saturday (after restrictions on public gathering had ease, that is).

Orh Gao Taproom - a new casual bar serving residents in Bukit Timah!

Orh Gao Taproom – a new casual bar serving residents in Bukit Timah!

Orh Gao is a colloquial term for stouts

Orh Gao is a colloquial term for stouts

Menu overhead (also pictured is the founder of Sunbird Brewery Co on the left)

Menu overhead (also pictured is the founder of Sunbird Brewery Co on the left)

Fly in Light

Fly in Light

Fly in Light

Fly in Light

A pale ale, Fly in Light has a 5% alcohol content with a fruity – more specifically, passionfruit and citrus – taste which complements the dry earthy flavour of the malt. It is light on the taste buds and does not make one feel surfeited after a couple of sips, therefore making it easy to drink. This was one of my favourites (as a non-alcohol geek) that evening, along with Fluff Up.

Fluff Up

Fluff Up

Fluff Up

Fluff Up

Fluff Up – a Belgian witbier (think Hoegaarden) – too has an alcohol content of 5% but with a more interesting flavour profile. It packs a little kick due to its spice and orange peel notes, which makes it a perfect accompaniment to seafood especially in countries with hot climate like Singapore.
Birds of Paradise

Birds of Paradise

Birds of Paradise

Birds of Paradise

One cannot forget to mention Birds of Paradise since hoppy and bitter brews are becoming a huge trend in the craft beer industry. A white IPA with a creamy taste, it has bitter taste profile as with American IPAs (which neither of us is a fan of). That said, its citrus and pine undertones will definitely go well with the holiday season (because we shouldn’t let the pandemic stop us from feeling the holiday spirit, right?), or simply spicy food like buffalo wings (psst.. Orh Gao taproom serves great buffalo wings 馃槈).
Some finger food to go with the beers. Not sure if we were just hungry but they were ALL delicious. We practically cleared the plate!

Some finger food to go with the beers. Not sure if we were just hungry but they were ALL delicious. We practically cleared the plate!

And probably the best thing that was served with the platter - the chilli. Haven't had such satisfying chilli in a while! I swear it this came in bottles, I'd totally get it 馃槅

And probably the best thing that was served with the platter – the chilli. Haven’t had such satisfying chilli in a while! I swear if this was sold in bottles separately, I’d totally get some 馃槅

Eclipse of the Sun

Eclipse of the Sun

Eclipse of the Sun

Eclipse of the Sun

Another beer in Sunbird’s regular range is Eclipse of the Sun and it is wildly popular among expats here. Despite the slightly higher alcohol content of 6%, the Scottish Ale is malty and full-bodied which could be due to the caramel that gives it a raisin taste, as well as its deep copper brown colour.
In commemoration of National Day this year, Sunbird has rolled out a new and exciting seasonal concoction infused with flavours familiar to the local palate – the Ondeh-Ondeh Porter. This one-of-a-kind craft beer pays homage to a timeless traditional dessert – as its namesake implies – with an alcohol content of 6%. The drink has a distinct roasted and dry taste, coupled with a caramel flavour and coconut smell which is further drawn out and complemented by the addition of pandan.
Ondeh-Ondeh Porter

Ondeh-Ondeh Porter

Ondeh-Ondeh Porter

Ondeh-Ondeh Porter

Ondeh-Ondeh Porter, bottled (look how cute the ondeh-ondeh illustration is on the bottle - haha!)

Ondeh-Ondeh Porter, bottled (look how cute the ondeh-ondeh illustration is on the bottle – haha!)

Crafted as a porter due to the nutty flavour profile obtained when the gula melaka brown sugar is toasted, this is certainly nowhere as bitter as a stout but its sharpness might still be a bit too overwhelming for novice drinkers. However, if you’re one who appreciates this category of beer, the bitterness of the porter actually goes hand-in-hand with the roasted caramel taste. As one with a sweet tooth, I only wished this was crafted as a witbier instead. But on second thought, that would probably render the beer too sweet.
Sunbird's brews in bottled form, a.k.a what you would get if you make your order online!

Sunbird’s brews in bottled form, a.k.a what you would get if you make your order online!

Unlike the other beers that are available in singles, the Ondeh-Ondeh Porter is only sold in a pack of 6 at $55 nett (or in a mixed pack of 12 that includes other beers) on the website, maybe because it won’t be on the menu for long (so it’s always good to stock up!). Of course, you could always sample or enjoy one bottle at selected bars and restaurants islandwide – one of which being Orh Gao Taproom – in the month of August with people you have not met in ages! Great excuse to catch up with your buddies, eh?
Leaving you with this memorable quote we saw at Orh Gao Taproom.. Remember this, guys.

Leaving you with this memorable quote we saw at Orh Gao Taproom.. Remember this, guys.

What are your thoughts about this local creation, or the craft beers offered by Sunbird Brewery Co. in general? Beer connoisseurs, do let me know your views in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!
Sunbird Brewery Co 路 5 Mandai Link, #05-05, Singapore 728654 路 order from WEBSITE 路 free islandwide delivery with purchase of $65 and above 路 For more information on where the beers are served, please visit FACEBOOK PAGE, INSTAGRAM or WEBSITE.
Orh Gao Taproom 路 10 Jalan Serene, #01-03 Serene Centre, Singapore 258748 路 Operating hours: 4.00 pm – 11.00 pm (Tue – Thu, Sun), 4.00 PM – 12.00 AM (Fri & Sat), Closed on Mondays聽路 Nearest MRT station: Botanic Gardens (CC19/DT9) 路 For more information, please visit Orh Gao Taproom FACEBOOK PAGE聽or INSTAGRAM.
this was a media invitation. ALL OPINIONS EXPRESSED ARE MY OWN, with contributions from my beer-enthusiast companion.

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馃榿

THROUGH THE LENS: Singapore’s 50th National Day Parade + Staycation @ AQueen Hotel

*slaps forehead*

Geez… this entry was supposed to be posted in August but obviously procrastination and a sheer lack of time got the better of me. Usually when聽a post sits in “draft” mode for too long, I would just forsake it as聽it would have been outdated by the time I remembered its existence. But this is unlike the many others that had ended up in the trash because it聽is about the country I have聽spent all my life in. So I’m not going to let the year聽slip away聽without any mention of her huge milestone.

As many of you know, 2015聽is a momentous year for all Singaporeans (and those who have resided in Singapore long enough to call it home) as we聽celebrate the nation’s聽golden jubilee, or SG50, as it is branded nationally.聽It is also a year of grief as we mourned the death of our beloved founding father Mr Lee Kuan Yew聽who had been with us every independence day celebration until his passing. But in the interest聽of keeping this post about the聽joyous occasion, I shall leave out the unhappy bits and spare you the agony of reading yet another tribute to our late Minister Mentor.

SG50-logo

When Singapore separated from Malaysia in 1965, many doubted that聽such a small country聽with no natural resources would survive. But we did, and we are still going strong after 50 years! So of course聽having gone through so much聽over so many聽decades, the National Day Parade (NDP) this year聽which served as the main commemorative event had to be different. Celebrated聽with tremendous fanfare, the campaign began as early as January last year with numerous聽companies聽adopting the SG50 branding for their marketing activities and providing consumers more than a year-long of SG50 deals聽and promotions聽(enjoyed the 50%聽discounts while they lasted XD聽).

SG50 deals may have ended聽but there is still a wide selection of聽online discount codes, deals and coupons to the best Singapore’s online shopping sites available on聽Picodi Singapore!

Check out聽picodi.sg for the best offers from your favourite stores!

(psst… I see cheap air tickets)

And to make the celebration even more memorable for me, boyfriend and I won tickets to the parade at the Padang on the actual day (there were also a few sessions of public rehearsal prior to that for those who couldn’t get tickets to the actual event) after umpteen聽years of unsuccessful balloting! It was our first actual-day NDP experience and on top of that, at one of Singapore’s significant historic sites on her聽50th birthday!聽I couldn’t believe how lucky we were! 馃榾

Tickets collection at Marina Square, June 2015

We collected our tickets at Marina Square some time in June!

NDP 2015 tickets

How our tickets look like! We were so thrilled to be receiving the tickets for the Padang instead of at The Float@Marina Bay!

I LOVE SINGAPORE 鉂

Here’s what went down on that day.. in pictures!

NDP props

Behind those elevated seats were the props to be used later during one of the performances

Stairs to the Padang

To be honest, the make-shift stairs leading to the spectators’ seats were kinda scary

Boyfriend and I

My companion and I! Made the right choice to go sans-makeup on that day because the sun was BLAZING above us!

NDP stage

The elevated stage on the Padang

Overlooking the former Supreme Court

Overlooking the former Supreme Court. “Majulah Singapura” is the theme for NDP2015

Emcee

One of our emcees for the event

Opening act by The Sam Willows

Opening act by The Sam Willows

The crowd dressed in red and white

The crowd dressed in red and white, our national colours

The arrival of Members of Parliament

The arrival of Members of Parliament

The arrival of Members of Parliament

The arrival of Members of Parliament

The arrival of Members of Parliament

The arrival of Members of Parliament

The arrival of Emeritus Senior Minister, Mr Goh Chok Tong

The arrival of Emeritus Senior Minister, Mr Goh Chok Tong

The arrival of Prime Minister, Mr Lee Hsien Loong

The arrival of Prime Minister, Mr Lee Hsien Loong

Ministers were all smiles as they waved their flags

Ministers were all smiles as they waved their flags

Mr Lee Kuan Yew tribute

A tear-jerking tribute to the late Minister Mentor Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Couldn’t hold back my tears when the footage was flashed on the screen. Although he was not with us at the parade, his seat was left vacant in honour of his memory and occupied by a sprig of yellow orchids. We miss you dearly, Mr Lee.

The performances began!

The performances began!

The ship that brought Sang Nila Utama to Singapura

The ship that brought Sang Nila Utama to Singapura

And then, Sir Stamford Raffles founded Singapore

And then, Sir Stamford Raffles founded Singapore

Vintage parade

The start of the vintage parade which re-enacted segments of the street parades that took place in the early 1970s

Vintage parade

More of vintage parade. Police officers in knee-length khaki shorts and knee-high socks.. haha, those were the days!

People's Association

People’s Association in the early 1970s!

SIA air stewardesses and trishaw riders

Singapore Airlines (SIA) air stewardesses being ferried by trishaw riders, as depicted in SIA’s olden TVCs

SIA fly-past

A fly-past by an SIA plane! If you’ve travelled with SIA this year, you should have seen our flag printed on the body 馃檪

Uniformed groups

One of my favourite segments of NDP – the actual parade! A record of 37 contingents marched as a representation of the five points of Singapore’s total defence policy this year!

Contingents from social organizations and business firms

Contingents from social organizations and business firms

Contingents from social organizations and business firms

Contingents from social organizations and business firms

Contingents from social organizations and business firms

Contingents from social organizations and business firms

The Guard of Honour contingents

The Guard of Honour contingents

The Parade Commander

The Parade Commander

PM Lee standing on the saluting dais

PM Lee standing on the saluting dais

Awaiting the arrival of the President

Awaiting the arrival of the President

President Tony Tan standing on the saluting dais

President Tony Tan standing on the saluting dais before the parade inspection

State flag flypast

State flag flypast as we sang the national anthem…

A "50" formation flypast by the RSAF

A “50” formation flypast by the RSAF

President Tony Tan waving to the crowds

President Tony Tan waving to the crowds

More aerial display

More aerial display

More aerial display

More aerial display

As the skies had turned gloomy, the Singapore Armed Forces Parachute Team (Red Lions) had to cancel its NDP jump. Ahhhh, we were so disappointed! I believe they were, too, after rehearsing for so long! But obviously, safety first.

LEOPARD 2SG MBT

The mobile column display followed next, featuring the LEOPARD 2SG MBT

NOTE
Despite my efforts to ensure accuracy of the assets’ names,聽they may still be incorrect聽so please feel free to聽inform me should you spot any mistakes!

BIONIX II AFV

BIONIX II AFV

FLB (L)

FLB (L)

UNIMOG RID

UNIMOG RID

SPYDER

SPYDER

All Terrain Vehicle & K-9 DT

All Terrain Vehicle & K-9 DT

MUV

MUV

SMC

SMC

FCV & CSI VEH

FCV & CSI VEH

HMV

HMV

Stefanie Sun

Homegrown talent Stefanie Sun comes on stage to sing a medly of 2 past NDP theme songs – We Will Get There (2002) and One United People (2003). I was so excited because they’re my FAVOURITE theme songs!

Performance by the Singapore SOKA Association

Performance by the Singapore SOKA Association

The Singaporan identity - Ice Kachang

Possibly the highlight of the event, the showcase of the Singaporean identity which saw the People’s Association incorporating 12 large lighted props such as this 3.5m-tall Ice Kachang float into their lively dance routine

At the same time, theme songs of old local television shows such as English sitcom聽Under One Roof and Mandarin variety sketch show 鎼炵瑧琛屽姩 (Comedy Night), as well as of iconic campaigns like the Singapore Kindness Movement played in the background. Hearing those songs was a real blast from the past as I recalled watching these shows on television when I was really young! It’s something today’s generation will not understand because… who watches the telly these days? 馃槅

Singlish

#SoSingaporean words and phrases which only Singaporeans can understand. Why you so blur like sotong (squid) leh? Hahaha!

Mascots

Durian, Chilli Crab, and Water Wally. Food and mascots we Singaporeans grow up with

Changi Airport

Changi Airport, the best airport in the world!

Corrinne May

Corrine May appeared on the Toa Payoh dragon playground (a popular playground design in the past – so nostalgic!) to sing NDP 2010 theme song, Song for Singapore. A truly touching song :’)

SG50 balls

The audience got to play with the giant SG50 balls that were bouncing around!

LED troopers

500 primary school students lit up the venue with their LED costumes! How cute!

Stars

The stars from our flag!

JJ Lin

JJ Lin’s turn to perform this year’s NDP theme song, Our Singapore.

LED lights

The LED lights on the costumes turned white!

Kit Chan

And finally, Kit Chan makes an appearance to sing our all-time favourite National Day theme song, Home!

Pledge recital

Together, we recited the pledge. Felt so much pride!

Perhaps due to bad weather (it started to drizzle a little towards the end.. bummer!),聽there weren’t a lot of fireworks at the grand finale but that’s fine with me because to me, fireworks are overrated. What made the parade really enjoyable and entertaining were truly the performances. Not a single time did I feel bored throughout the 2-hour show! 馃檪

Most white-collar workers here had a long and restful break in the the days leading up to 9 August (Sunday) because our President had declared 7 August (Friday) as a special one-off SG50 public holiday.聽So聽evidently, SG50 was of utmost significance to everyone in Singapore.聽In addition to the ongoing money-savers, our main public transport operators also provided free bus and train rides for the very first time on National Day! The news came as a big surprise because as聽public-listed companies, they are profit-driven and should technically be anticipating the increased earnings and returns on a public holiday (with extended service hours). Instead,聽they had put side their commercial interests to commemorate this special day! Knowing that it was going to be even more crowded everywhere due to this reason, boyfriend and I had booked a staycation at Aqueen Hotel Jalan Besar聽to get to the city faster.

Aqueen Hotel

Aqueen Hotel is a new establishment, having opened its doors only in late 2014. Upon arrival, what struck my eye was the hotel’s聽unusual聽facade which kinda reminded me of Iluma (what Bugis+ was known as before adopting its present name). Located within 10 minutes walking distance from Farrer Park MRT station (inclusive of the聽long pedestrian waiting time at the traffic lights opposite City Square Mall),聽it聽has, no doubt, taken up聽an excellent spot surrounded by many well-known eateries such as Scissors Cut Curry Rice (缇庤姖寰嬪壀鍒鍓挅鍠遍キ, just directly opposite the hotel) and Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant (a 5-minute walk away).

Aqueen Hotel reception

Aqueen Hotel reception

Aqueen Hotel lobby

Aqueen Hotel lobby

We booked a non-smoking twin room with a queen bed (the most basic room) through Expedia, which we found was a lot聽cheaper than booking directly with the hotel. Boyfriend paid a total of S$116.31 for a night as compared to about S$180+ for walk-in booking. And聽mind you, it was a last-minute decision to have a staycation and what’s more, on a public holiday. Of course, breakfast was not included for that kind of price.聽No biggie – there were so many other affordable dining options nearby!

Our room

Our room

The room we got was really tiny with limited space for walking. I would recommend going for a bigger room if you’re claustrophobic (or carrying a huge luggage). It was mainly in hues of grey, brown and white聽so there’s nothing to write home about. But I liked that it聽had a full-length window that allowed sunlight to spill into the otherwise sombre room.

The bed

The bed

Overlooking Jalan Besar Plaza

Overlooking Jalan Besar Plaza

The mini pantry!

The mini pantry!

Shower head

Shower head

I can’t comment much on their amenities since we only stayed there for a night. But I think this room is pretty decent for the price we (or rather, my boyfriend) paid. If you’re yearning to try some delicious and affordable Singaporean delicacies (Chinese, Malay and Indian cuisine available in the vicinity) without having to walk a distance, this is one hotel you should definitely consider!

Thanks for reading and Happy New Year everyone! 馃檪

AQueen Hotel (Jalan Besar)
230 Jalan Besar
Singapore 208906
Nearest MRT station: Farrer Park
Tel:聽6426 0999
Click here to visit website