This is a story about craft beer, plain and simple.
Or to be more specific, this is about why the Better Beer Festival mattered to Malaysian beer lovers and the beer market here in general.
As you know, the festival, which was supposed to be held this very weekend, was cancelled. The reason ranged from “political sensitivity” to “security reasons”, and the whole issue has been debated endlessly, by everyone from politicians to religious leaders and Internet armchair critics.
Anyway, this is a column about drinks, so let’s just talk about the beer instead, and why Malaysian fans of craft beer were looking forward to the Better Beer Festival.
One of the misconceptions that most people have about the Better Beer Festival is that it is related to Oktoberfest. Other than the fact that it was supposed to be held in October and involves beer, the Better Beer Festival had nothing to do with that popular German beer event (which doesn’t even start in October). Heck, there aren’t even any customised beer steins for you to collect.
Simply put, most of us who were looking forward to the Better Beer Festival just wanted to drink BETTER BEER.
We weren’t looking to go to the festival to get drunk on cheap beer (the beers at the festival are anything but cheap, to be honest). We just wanted to appreciate some good craft beer, to try something new, and maybe get some friends to expand their taste buds into the world of craft beer.
From pale ales to IPAs, porters to stout, from sours to abbey ales … the Better Beer Fest was a chance to educate Malaysians about appreciating beers, not just for its alcohol content, but for its flavour and diversity. It was a chance to show people that there is more to beer than getting drunk on cheap commercial lagers, buy one free one promos and happy hour towers.
For the past five years, the Better Beer Festival had been flying the flag for craft beer in Malaysia. But it’s gone now, and we’ve lost what had grown to become one of Malaysia’s best beer-related events.
But while the Better Beer Festival is no more, the craft beer revolution is still going on in Malaysia.
So go try a craft beer today. Give some support to the various outlets that sell craft beer in Malaysia (we’ve provided a list of five below). Spread the word about craft beer. Get a friend to try a craft beer.
The Better Beer Festival may be gone, but its spirit lives on.
(A-0-3 One Residency, 1 Jalan Nagasari, Kuala Lumpur)
This was where the Better Beer Festival was born six years ago. One of the pioneers of the craft beer movement in Malaysia, the Changkat Bukit Bintang branch in Kuala Lumpur has 14 taps serving craft beer from all over the world, and plenty more by the bottle. They are also in the process of moving their Mont Kiara Branch to Plaza Arkadia at Desa Park City, which will have an impressive 30 taps.
(D5-G4-3, Publika, Solaris Dutamas, No.1 Jalan Dutamas 1)
Started five years ago by a local beer enthusiast, this humble little craft beer bottle shop maintains a simple and back to basics approach to craft beers and boasts a steady number of regulars.
(86G Jalan SS21/62, Damansara Utama, Petaling Jaya, Selangor)
Founded by the folks who started Ales And Lagers, it has pretty much the same range of beers, with one big difference – it also serves them on draught, with eight different taps to choose from.
(42a (1st Floor), Persiaran Zaaba, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, KL)
Located in Taman Tun Dr Ismail in KL, Paus has arguably the best range of Australian and New Zealand craft beers in town.
(Isetan The Japan Store, Lower Ground Floor, Lot 10, 50 Jalan Sultan Ismail, KL)
If its location at The Japan Store in Isetan, KL isn’t a dead giveaway already, Takumi specialises in Japanese brews, and has four of them on tap as well.