They always say, “To stay healthy, you have to eat healthy.” And based on that, we can assume that you have to know where your food comes from to be certain of its quality. Same thing goes for beer. Being the consumers of the greatest bitter-beverage that has ever existed, that golden fluid which seems to keep the conversations flowing and babies-a-coming, we toppled off our seats at the chance to tour the Guiness Anchor Berhad (GAB) brewery.
After a short briefing at The Tavern (GAB’s in house waterhole), we were directed to fit on safety goggles, earplugs and steel toe shoes-which made us look a bit like Bozo The Clown – a small sacrifice to experience how beer, Tiger Beer in particular, is made.
The tour started in the Main lab where complex compound analysis is done on raw materials for flavour and bitterness. Here men and women in CSI labcoats carefully extract and analyse the ingredients used in the beer. Next, we went on to the Brew House. Huge industrial machines broke down malt to barley, separated sugar, clarified hop and cooled down the compound to ferment. It began to feel like a sauna. Luckily for the staff here, all the machines were fully automated, which means the engineers got to control the machinery from a nice air-conditioned room that looked like Apollo13‘s Houston Ground Control. An interesting fact was that the discarded kernel that was separated from the malt in the process did not go to waste. Instead, it was gathered to be used by farmers as fertilizer and chicken feed. So by that fact, all beers are green beers.
Now, JUICE has drunk a lot of beers in our 8-year history, but nothing prepared us for the sight that was the Packaging Line. Millions of bottles (old and new) pass through this line everyday to be cleaned and sterilised. A machine called the EBI (Empty Bottle Inspector) does most of the job but you still see people running around supervising the massive flow. Up to 50 thousand bottles are filled, crowned, labeled and pasteurised here, per hour!
The tour ended in the Tasting Room where samples were, you guessed it, tasted by a special team who reports on the quality of the beer. All in, it was an enlightening tour that capped off with a rewarding drinking session back at The Tavern. What more to add to the joy than having a free flow of Tiger Crystal (a special brew to celebrate the Year of the Tiger). Between Tiger Beer and Tiger Crystal, the latter tastes lighter and smoother and is somewhere between regular Tiger and Heineken. Both Tigers recently struck Gold at the World Beer Cup 2010-noted as “the Olympics of Beer Competitions.” And we now know why!