Let me start off by saying that I’ve never been a beer fan. I just didn’t quite understand why people craved a chilly pint of this alcoholic beverage, their faces lighting up with pure bliss after a swig.
But the arrival of Little Creatures brewery along Mohamed Ali Lane, loosened this preconception as I took a step into the world of beer.
Raved about for its unique yet well-balanced ales since 1999, the Australian brewery spread its wings from Fremantle to Geelong, Hong Kong and now to us — the little cherub with a beer in his hand landing on our shores to share the love for hoppy beers.
I was immediately bathed in warm sunlight passing through the long glass panel windows, the space further illuminated with strings of light bulbs hanging above. Paintings by local artists were hung across the checkered walls while upbeat lounge music played softly, mingled with lively chatter.
Similar to its other venues overseas, the interior was inviting and rustic, furnished with wooden chairs and tables.
As the brewery believes in creating a close-knit community yet embracing individuality, you’ll find communal tables by the counter area.
It was quite cramped with narrow stools even for fun-sized me, but you get to interact with fellow customers and enjoy the intimate viewing of the counter at work.
Past the counter, I caught a glimpse of the in-house micro-brewery that’s expected to be in full swing by the end of 2018: it is where the magic happens as the “little creatures” of energetic, live yeast thrive to concoct the drink in front of you, so try to sneak a peek!
While it’s undoubtedly a brewpub, you can also opt for Hopt sodas of unique fusions like pear and basil, and elderberry and herb, but my favourite one was the Salted Lychee ($6). Not only was it fizzy and refreshing, but the lychee fragrance was pleasant with a subtle salty aftertaste.
There are other alternatives such as milkshakes, smoothies, fresh juices, and house-made fizzy drinks. Yay for non-drinkers!
But let’s get back to the highlight of the show: to get the freshest brew, we were served from the tap and started off with the classic Little Creatures Pilsner ($12 for 280ml, $15 for 430ml).
Brewed with sheer Pilsner Malt and German Perle hops, the Pilsner had a mild floral note upon the first sip which dissipated into a strong, bitter finish. The mouthfeel was spritzy, light and quite the wispy texture like sparkling water.
For beer newbies, the Pilsner might be a good introduction to the bitterness of beers without being too robust.
What I was really waiting for, however, was the signature Little Creatures Pale Ale ($12 for 280ml, $15 for 430ml). Consisting of whole hop cones, the drink sported a pale yellow opaque look and had a more delicate bitterness with a citrus finish.
By the end of the day, I found the Little Creatures Bright Ale ($12 f0r 280ml, $15 for 430ml) to be the most within my comfort zone given its well-balanced, creamy and fruity-floral flavours.
You might be taken aback by the colour of Little Creatures Rogers’ ($12 for 280ml, $15 for 430ml), but don’t let that stop you from trying it.
Full-bodied yet velvety smooth, the beer was pretty light and had roasted coffee notes. Hear that, coffee addicts?
For the finale, we were lucky to try the limited release brews on tap such as the Lunar Ale and Club Street Sub IPA. Passionately adhering to its brand motto, “It’s good to be a little different”, Little Creatures explored the local culture to design these drinks to suit our taste buds.
The Club Street Sub IPA was bold with its citrusy flavour and strong hoppy finish, but the Lunar Ale was hands-down the most unique beer I’ve come across till this day. The Lunar Ale recipe was born during Chinese New Year — hence the name — and brewed with mandarin peels and Motueka hops, which resulted in light and tangy notes with hints of wheat from the Belgian yeast.
Naturally, we had to have food to accompany the beer. To start off, we were served the Fried Man Tou ($19) which came with swirls of golden-brown mini man tous accompanied by a bowl of local chilli crab sauce.
The sauce was mainly sweet with pieces of crab which soaked into the crispy layer of the bread. I have to say, it was nice to see local favourites on the menu, like this dish as well as the Chicken Rice Risotto ($26).
But we moved swiftly on to the bestseller: Steamed Mussels ($29) piled in a stainless bowl to the brim. Smothered in white wine, butter and cream, the mussels were juicy and fresh with a mild aftertaste of the sea.
I’m not much of a lamb person, but I enjoyed the Lamb & Chicken Skewer ($27) because it wasn’t too gamey with the addition of a chimichurri sauce.
The Sliced Beef Salad ($24) with glass noodles seasoned in Thai chilli, coriander and fish sauce was refreshing, and the tender beef and tomatoes soaked up the zesty sauce, giving it a punch of flavours.
As for the main, we had the Pork Belly ($27) marvellously plated with pork crackling and red cabbage sauerkraut. I recommend having a bit of everything in each bite to balance out the heaviness.
We saved room for the Warm Chocolate Brownie ($12) topped with vanilla ice cream drizzled with chocolate sauce and hazelnuts. I found the brownie quite hard and a tad bit dry on its own though, so the scoop of ice cream definitely helped.
Amidst a lively and casual atmosphere, the high quality food and variety of unique craft beers at Little Creatures genuinely impressed me. The effort and passion that goes into the brews as well as the thought to cater to the local scene shone through.
I’d definitely go back with a group of mates to chill and actually order a glass of beer for once. I’m sure you’re beery excited at this point, so do hop down to check out this brewpub for yourself!
Expected Damage: (Food) $6 – $36 per pax, (Beer) $12 – $32 per pax