To be very honest, I am no beer drinker.
I do have the occasional 1 glass, when socialising with friends and when they insist I join them in their frothy merry-making. But then, hey... I'm always game to try and learn new things. So, when Marian Eu recently invited me to join her for a little session at Craft Brews, I had no hesitation in saying "Yes!"
Housed in the Podium of Menara Batu Kawan, right across Tesco in Mutiara Damansara, Craft Brews is very visible and easily located.
There's plenty of space all round the place for smokers and alfresco dining.
The interior has high ceilings which gives the place an airy feel... the clean modern lines of the decor breathe comfort and elegance. I also like the warm cosy corners with bright cheerful yellow and orange lamps casting amber shadows on the diners.
We were welcomed by Benjamin Chong, their very affable and friendly Brand & Concept Marketing personnel. With his bright cheery grins, Benjamin gave us a very comprehensive briefing of how Craft Brews came about. Opened in December 2009, Craft Brews imports its "boutique beer" from Singapore - Red Dot and some American brews with cute names like Flying Dog and Rogue.
That evening, I had the chance to try one of their signature brewed beer by Red Dot - this Monster Green Lager.
The striking green comes from the European-manufactured spirulina and this is certainly a novelty, I must say. It has a fresh green smell and after swallowing it, it leaves a fleeting floral tinge on the tongue. As I am no hardcore beer drinker, this light beer suits me fine.
If you prefer a fuller-bodied beer, then perhaps the English Ale (also brewed by Red Dot) will be a better choice.
Its darker amber hue would already tell you that this beer has a smoky aroma and smoother malt, leaving a more flavourful aftertaste - tinges of mixed spices and kinda citrussy.
Both the Monster Green Lager and English Ale are available on tap.
The other 2 lighter coloured beers we tried that evening came from bottles...
... the American Amber Ale (by Rogue) and Tire Bite (Fying Dog). I found the American Amber to be more bitter but it has a very nice aroma - a mix of coffee, citrussy and sweet floral afternotes. The Tire Bite, on the other hand, is a "summer beer" - very light, refreshing, with subtle malty twangs.
All that beer-tasting really whetted our appetites - I mean, with beer, food is a natural accompaniment, no? Craft Brews serves up some treats, too and most of them are strictly non-halal of the porky kind!
With every main dish ordered, you get a serving of the chef's signature soup: Tomato Minestrone. Made from pork stock, there were generous chunks of celery, carrots and onions in the tangy tomatoey soup.
I could see almost every table in Craft Brews had a plate of this Caramelised Roast Pork (RM18). I guess this is everyone's favourite to go with beers! Chunks of roasted pork belly tossed in dark soya sauce, sugar (that caused the caramelising) and curry leaves. You can opt for either the "spicy" or "non-spicy" version - just a matter of adding/omitting the chilli padi!
Another great snack/starter to go with your beers is the Fried Calamari (RM16). Sitting on a bed of fresh lettuce leaves, the crispy fried calamari rings were succulent and aromatic with sprinklings of spices added into the batter.
Now for the mains... Tex Mex Back Ribs (RM25) and Honey Mustard Back Ribs (RM25)...
What you see on the above pic is actually a combo of both types of ribs... Ben had wisely not ordered full portions for us (there were only 3 of us) so that we can try both items. Of the 2, I prefer the Tex Mex Ribs (background) as this had more bite and spice to it. The Honey Mustard version were too tender for my liking.
The Cayenne Prawns scored top marks with us. You know why? Because the prawns were wrapped with a layer of bacon before being grilled! Yes, the smokey porky flavour of the bacon married well with the briney succulent prawns - yummy!
If you're not much of a pork lover, then try their Caribbean Spiced Quarter Chicken (RM28).
Served with very generous portions of coleslaw and potato wedges, the skinless quarter piece of chicken is grilled, with a rich marinade of trade-secret spices and herbs. I must say the potato wedges in Craft Brews are really good - those perfectly-fried crispy wedges dipped in honey mustard are quite addictive, I tell ya!
What with the beers and all the above dishes, we were pretty stuffed at this juncture. I could only manage a bite of their dessert - Cinnamon Apple Pie served with a scoop of New Zealand Natural Icecream (RM14).
Items needed for brewing beer... hops (which looks like my Koji's food - palletized petfood!), yeast, malt and water of course!
Craft Brews also serves some decent Set Lunches... a hit with the lunch crowd, I'm told.
And ohh... we love these wise words too... wisdom to ponder upon while waiting for your beers and food...!
Jalan PJU 7/2
47800 Petaling Jaya
Happy Hours: Monday-Saturday (12.00pm to 8.00pm)
Sunday - All Day!
*Many thanks to Marian Eu for the kind invitation and Benjamin Chong for the beer education!