Bar Review: Mikkeller Singapore Relaunches As A Hawker Pop-Up at Chinatown Complex Food Centre

A Copenhagen-based gypsy brewer with a worldwide footprint, Mikkeller has a penchant for making a home in unusual places. Take its Tokyo outpost, which sits cheek-by-jowl with love hotels and adult toy stores in a Shibuya backstreet; or its rustic brick house in Denmark’s Aarsdale, where you can drink in peaceful sea views with your craft brew. For its Singapore incarnation – or rather, reincarnation – it’s homed in on a spot with plenty of local spirit too. And what more local than a hawker centre?

Working with the folks from SST Trading Co, Mikkeller Singapore has dropped anchor at Chinatown Complex Food Centre, taking over the space of Smith Street Taps & Friends. This hawker stall pop-up is by no means Singapore’s first induction into the hallowed ranks of Mikkeller craft-dom – in 2016, the cult brand first brought its experimental brews to container art space DECK on Prinsep Street, and later to a larger taproom on Purvis Street. Now that it’s back, we can almost hear the beer geeks cheering.

Follow the trail of tipplers with Mikkeller glasses to a lively corner in the hawker centre’s green zone (look out for a wall decal of Henry – one of Mikkeller’s long-nosed mascots – peeking from behind some tiles). A row of ten taps gleams beneath a bare-bones stall front, pouring a rotating mix of Mikkeller creations and beers from other craft labels.

Brews to catch include Mikkeller’s official 2020 creation for its annual, wildly beloved beer fest – the MBCC’20 Berliner-style Weisse With Fruits of the Sun (S$13/16). Crisp and a little cloudy, this sour ale shines with a bright, cheek-tingling medley of blood orange, pink grapefruit, orange, and calamansi – it’s about as tart as it sounds. The best part about downing this in a hawker centre? You get to pair it with your choice of zi char  – think sweet-and-sour pork to amp up all that tangy juiciness.

Another classic on the current taplist is the Mikkeller Vesterbro Wit (S$13/16), a house brew in Mikkeller’s very first bar in the Vesterbro ‘hood of Copenhagen. This easy-drinking witbier packs a spicy, coriander-forward punch, woven through with citrusy freshness and finishing surprisingly bitter. Meanwhile, sake lovers will appreciate the Mikkeller Japanese Rice Lager (S$13/16), a pale-golden number brewed with rice. With wafts of floral and melon perfume underlying its clean, lemony profile, it’s so very downable. Double the starchy love with some piping-hot, smoky-sweet claypot rice.

Save some rice for the Mikkeller Kaffestout (S$14/17), though – the smoky char takes the coffee richness of this stout to a whole new level. Clocking in at only 6%-ABV, this jet-black stout is brewed with coffee and a dash of lactose – yup, it’s an espresso macchiato in beer form. Smooth, medium-bodied, and bittersweet, it’s lovely paired with satay too.

Currently, the lineup features a couple of taps dedicated to other craft labels, including Moon Dog Brewery’s Sir Plum McCartney (S$13/16) – a sour ale packed with six metric tonnes of plum – and Sailor’s Grave Brewing’s Blood & Sand (S$13/16), a sunset-orange sour aged on cherries and blood lime. It’s early days for this pop-up yet, but we’re already thirsty for more – a Singapore special brew, perhaps?

Mikkeller Singapore is located at #02-058 (Green Zone), Chinatown Complex, 335 Smith Street, Singapore 050335, p. +65 8143 6901. Open Tues-Fri 5.30pm–10pm, Sat 2.30pm–10pm. Closed Sun & Mon. 

Lifestyle Writer

Jolene has a major sweet tooth and would happily eat pastries for all meals. When she’s not dreaming of cheesecake, she can be found in the dance studio, working on craft projects, or curled up with a good book.