The Alchemist Beer Lab: Food before Drinks. always.

Who's a Top Chef fan like I am? The first time I saw infusion used to similar capabilities as what The Alchemist Beer Lab does was when Season 10 winner Kristen Kish picked up a cream whipper in a quick-fire challenge; stuffed in her slab of fish coupled with a few sticks of bruised lemongrass and other aromatics and charged it twice before giving it a good hard shake. Why? Simply because pressure causes the flavors to be pushed into the protein faster, almost like marination on steroids. Now, why didn't I think of this...

Apologies for the geek talk, let's move on the subject of The Alchemist Beer Lab and their striking new presence in the South Beach precinct. What I love about this place, aside from the looming towers of ice cold beer, are the towering ceilings. There's nothing quite like a spacious act to induce the thirsties. At Alchemist Beer Lab, they perform major reconstructive work on the beers by injecting flavor via infusion. And not just any beer at that, since they are the brainchild by the same team behind microbrewery pub Little Island Brewing Co., mostly their concoctions are put in play. Soliciting the help of beer towers imported from Poland and The United States, ingredients ranging from marshmallows to pineapple slices, apple slices and thyme are placed in (HUGE AMOUNTS) the fusion chamber and this is followed by a quick release of compressed gas before beer is dispensed into the tower. This tedious process which involves lots of sanitisation in the midst helps to maximised flavor extraction to produce some delightful twists to the base beer.

Luckily for us, the 1 litre to 3 litres towers means that beer infusion flavors get changed on a regular basis. Some of the staples though include Ugly Sister Golden which combines Little Island's signature Sister golden ale with grilled pineapple and star anise for a truly tropical libation. If you're a fan of after-8, look no further than the Obama, an ode to dessert in the form of stout, marshmellows, vanilla pod and mint leaves. Prices are standardized at $12 per 330ml (infused beer) or 470ml (regular beer) at Happy hour before the magic hour of 7pm then rises a little to $15 till late. 

Pushing past all the beer jargon, I understand that unlike us beer fanatics, just lifting those pints can get a little lonely sometimes. So, let's talk about the food.

The Alchemist's Beer Lab's food menu, spearheaded by Executive Chef John Edwards, offers a fantastic Cubano Sandwich at lunch time ($15.90 for set lunch inclusive of tea/coffee), dotted with mojo roast pork and melded by Jarlsberg cheese. These and other dishes may not be the making of a filling weeknight meal, but they do provide a fine, low-cost introduction to the Alchemist Beer Lab worldview.

The rest of the evening tapas menu has a lyrical sensibility to it. Sticky Thai Chicken Wings ($9 for 3) makes the perfect companion to your infused beer. It's street food allusions clearly evident.

One of my favourite ingredients snapper, gets a face-lift here and is presented as Ceviche of Goldband Snapper ($16), the zesty lime and chopped coriander making it easier than imagined to scarf down an entire large portion without feeling overwhelmed.

A Smoked Duck Liver Parfait ($18) is an homage to one that Mr Francis Khoo (managing director) remembers eating whilst traversing through Europe. I remember a Zeppole this good, too. But that's left for another story.

One likable eccentric aspect of Chef Edward's menu at The Alchemist Beer lab was the raft of meat dishes. This makes a memorable appearance in the form of Slow Cooked Pork Cheeks ($16) with braised red cabbage and crispy pigs ear. Sultry with red wine reduction and very, very soft. Another street snack is the Wagyu Beef Brisket Tortilla ($16), dollops of sour cream cutting through the preceding richness to round off the spectacular meal.

At first glance, The Alchemist Beer Lab looks a little intimidating with its pish-posh facade, but a quick perusal through its beer-centric menu reveals its humble origins. Just like its sleek interiors, several design decisions make it peculiarly uncomfortable. A row of stools facing the main high-table are not meant for idling long on. The most comfortable spot is oddly enough set in al-fresco settings , and the best kind of wind-down night is better spent at a sidewalk table nursing a pint of pink guava cider.

Alchemist Beer Lab
South Beach Avenue
26 Beach Road
t: 6386 4365

Operating Hours:
Mon - Thurs: 12pm - 12am (last food order:9 30pm)
Fri: 12pm - 2am (last order for food 10pm)
Sat: 12pm - 12am (last order for food: 9 30pm)
Sun: Closed

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