A Quick Beginner’s Guide to Craft Beer in Singapore

If you fancy yourself a good drink to wind down after hours, and especially if you happen to be an enthusiast of beer yourself, there’s a good chance that you’ve heard of the term “craft beer” and how it’s started to become more popular over the years.

But what exactly is a “craft beer”, and how can you tell that it’s that instead of simply being another brand name of the stuff that’s owned by a larger brewery?

The Meaning of Craft Beer

While it’s certainly debatable, and many people have been debating it for a while, there is a definition of that most would definitely agree on based on the three following criteria:

  • Small – The brewery doesn’t distribute more than six million barrels of bear yearly;  
  • Independent – Larger, non-craft beer breweries own only up to a quarter of the said brewery; and
  • Traditional – The brewery mostly produces beer that’s made from traditional ingredients for brewing and fermentation processes (but can also use innovative methods).

There have also been a number of terms that emerged with the rising popularity of craft beer, such as the following:

  • Hops – A leafy, light green flower that’s boiled down with a sweet liquid extract from malt in order to give craft beers different flavor notes, from bitter, to spicy, and even floral.
  • Malt – A key ingredient in brewing that’s moistened and kilned to achieve the desired effects from seed germination. The resulting beer’s color will depend on how the grains are roasted.
  • “Sessionable” – Used to describe beer that’s low on bitterness and alcohol, and can be consumed in more amounts in one sitting.

Microbreweries in Singapore

Craft beer has definitely spread all over the world, and Singapore is no exception when it comes to the craze – in fact, you can probably recognize some of the following bars that serve great craft beer:

  • Alchemist Beer Lab – When it comes to extracting flavor, they don’t use the traditional method of cooking ingredients in high heat for a long time – they do this instead with an infusion tower to not just make instant results, but also add more depth to the beer’s flavor.
  • Burger Joint – While the main attraction is the selection of burgers that go with your drinks, the drinks themselves are served from Burger Joint’s full bar of different craft beers from all over the world, including Sweden, the UK, and Japan.
  • Smith Street Taps – The only craft beer bar situated in a hawker center certainly doesn’t disappoint with its selection of experimental brews, and the stall has become a favorite for all kinds of beer enthusiasts in Singapore.

There are also all kinds of craft beer that you should especially out if it’s your first time, from Albens, to Green’s, to Hitachino Nest, and even Crossroads and Far Yeast Brewing.

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Different Brines Used in Fermenting Vegetables

Brine is an important component for fermenting vegetables since they provide the environment that allows the fermentation process to take place, and the right type of brine in the right quantity can enhance the flavors and add a lot to the process.

When it comes to fermenting vegetables, you want to choose your brine from one of the following:


Salt is one of the easiest brines to use if you’re looking to get started on your own batches of fermented vegetables.

It not only pulls out moisture (and allows only salt-tolerant Lactobacilli strains to thrive), but also hardens the pectins in vegetables. This keep the vegetables crunchy while also adding to the flavor.

These are the types of salts that can be used for fermentation:

  • Sea salt – This can be refined or unrefined, and is usually moist since it hasn’t been fully refined after being separated from sea water.
  • Himalayan salt – While sea salt is extracted from the sea, Himalayan salt is extracted from rocks, which is why it can be pinkish or reddish in color.
  • Pickling salt – Similar to iodized table salt in that it has been refined. However, pickling salt lacks the iodine and anti-caking agents that are present iodized salt, and because it’s refined, it may also not be the optimal choice for fermenting.

When using salt as a brine for fermenting fruits, condiments, and especially salsa and chutney, do use them in smaller amounts that you would otherwise use in vegetables.


Whey is often used as a culture starter for lactic acid fermentation because it’s full of healthy bacteria and enzymes that improve your gut flora, and this makes it a great brine for vegetables.

You can strain whey from dairy products such as yogurt, milk kefir, and even certain cheeses or cultured buttermilk.

However, the downside of whey is that it’s dairy-based and may not be good for people who are sensitive to this. If you have lactose intolerance, this may not be the best brine for you to ferment your vegetables with.

Freeze-Dried Culture Starters

Other types of bacterial starters can be bought in different health stores in Singapore, or ordered online, and depending on the strain, it can be used along with salt.  

But if these aren’t available, keep in mind that you can use substitutions for culture starters, such as whey or even salt, and they can still be used interchangeably in any recipe.

You also don’t need to throw away the brine from a previous batch. In fact, this brine can also be used for the next batch of vegetables, and this can save you a lot of time in preparing them for fermentation.

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6 Amazing Things You Can Use Your Freezer For

Having a working freezer at home is great for keeping food from spoiling, but there’s a lot more that you can do with it than storing perishable food items.

Here are a few things you can do with your freezer:

  1. Emergency cooling. You can now find a use for your plastic bottles by filling them with water and placing them in your freezer in advance! This way, if the power goes out or if you need something to keep your icebox contents cool when you’re on an outdoor trip, you already have something in your freezer that will do the trick. And if the ice melts during a hot day, you can refresh yourself with cold water!
  • Cleaning jeans. While most clothes come with washing instructions, jeans are actually designed to not be washed – especially when you’re dealing with raw denim. This is to avoid breaking down the fibers in the denim. So instead of washing them, you can either turn them inside out or hang them outside in the sun, or you can place them in the freezer and let the cold kill the odor-causing bacteria.
  • Freshen up shoes. The same principle also goes for shoes – simply place them in a plastic bag and stick them in the freezer for a few hours while the cold does the work. Not only will the cold kill the odor-causing bacteria in your shoes, but they will also stretch your footwear and make them easier to put on. However, you may have to freeze a bag of water and place it inside the shoe first.
  • Store candles. If you’re a fan of lighting up scented candles to wind down after a long day, you’ll be glad to know that there’s a way you can make them last longer – and that’s by storing them in the fridge.
  • Envelope opener. Want to open envelopes without having to tear them up? That’s easy – stick them in the freezer! Most adhesives don’t stick well in low temperatures, which means you can open letters and re-seal them without having to use a letter opener and tear out the envelope. To make the adhesive work again, simply take it out of the freezer and wait for a few hours.
  • Keep sweaters from shredding. When it comes to your favorite knitted or fuzzy sweaters, there’s nothing more annoying than seeing them shed when they come out of the laundry. You can prevent this by simply rolling it up inside a sealable bag and freezing it overnight.

By doing this, you allow the low temperatures to shrink the fibers and make them less prone to shedding.

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5 Big Laundry Mistakes You Had No Idea You Were Doing

Doing the laundry is an essential part of daily life. When you do it right, you can keep your clothes clean and fresh, and preserve their quality for a long time.

However, there just as many mistakes you can make when cleaning your clothes, whether via handwashing or laundromat. Here are a few that you may not even know that you’re doing (until now):

1. Furiously rubbing stains

When given enough time to set, many stains can be difficult to remove with just rubbing them, and rubbing too fast can even make the stain worse or just ruin the fabric.

To get around this, try dabbing stains instead of rubbing them, and use a white cloth so that the colors won’t bleed into other fabrics. You will have a better chance of removing stains by being gentler towards your fabric.

2. Mixing socks with clothes

This is another common mistake that many people make, but while it’s easy enough to fish them out when you’re handwashing, you won’t always be able to find the other pair when you use a washing machine.

You can solve this problem by placing your dirty socks in the laundromat first before adding in the rest of your dirty clothes. This way, you’ll be able to find them more easily.

3. You leave dress shirts buttoned

While it’s true that zippers should be fastened when washing them, the same isn’t the case for dress shirts. In fact, when you do leave them buttoned when throwing them in the washing machine, you’ll only end up ripping them off their button-holes. 

To avoid this, be sure to pay attention to any buttoned shirts and unbutton them in advance.

4. Using too much detergent

Detergent is important for getting rid of stains, whether you’re washing them by hand or via washing machine. However, you shouldn’t use too much, since excess suds can get caught in certain areas and won’t always rinse off.

Instead, use only half the detergent you usually would, and slowly add more if you feel that you’re not getting the results that you want.

5. Pouring detergent directly on your clothes

Pouring the laundry detergent directly on clothes only means disaster for your fabrics, especially for your fancy dress shirts. When you’re using a washing machine, place the laundry first before adding in water, followed by a small amount of detergent.

If you’re washing by hand, add the water first before the detergent, and put the laundry last.

However, in the case of bleach, add the water first before the laundry, and follow it up with a small amount of bleach.

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5 Things to Remember About the Importance of Sleep

Sleep makes us feel better, however, its importance goes past simply having to rest our bodies from a tiresome day. Having enough sleep is a part of a wholesome lifestyle that might benefit us in aspects like having a healthy heart, body, and mind. Here are five things you should know to remember the importance of sleep.

1. Poor Sleep Can Make You Gain Weight

                Surprisingly, one of the strongest risk factors for obesity is not having enough sleep.  The link between sleep and weight gain is thought to have something to do with many different factors like genetics or motivation to go exercise. One explanation could be that sleep duration influences hormones regulating hunger. Another could be that loss of sleep results in fatigue and leads to less physical activity. If you are going on a diet, going to sleep earlier or getting more sleep is crucial.

2. Good Sleep Can Improve Concentration and Productivity

                As sleep is important for the body, it is also as important for aspects of brain function, like performance, productivity, and concentration. Being well-rested boosts our mood, acts against stress, and enhances of feeling good throughout the day. Sleep plays a significant role in learning and memory which is also important in developing productivity. With regards to concentration, an example of a sleep-deprived driver could be used. If a person suddenly crosses the road, the driver’s brain cannot process the information in time and it might lead to an accident.

3. Sleep enhances athlete’s performance.

                What athletes do while practicing, working out, or competing shows how much they improve physically. But what they do after determines how quickly their bodies recover to restore nutrients and build muscle. Having enough sleep gives the body time to rest resulting to faster rebuilding of the muscles and lowering physical stress. This is also why gym trainers advise to get at least eight hours of sleep to go with proper food intake.

4. Lack of sleep affects the heart.

Sleeping too little causes disruptions in natural processes in the body like glucose metabolism, blood pressure, and etc. This is why an increased risk of heart disease and stroke can be attributed to having unhealthy amounts of sleep. Those who do not have enough sleep put themselves at risk no matter what age, weight, or habits. Getting sufficient true quality sleep is vital if you need to lower you risk of cardiovascular diseases.

5. Having enough sleep helps against depression.

The connection between sleep and depression is a bit complicated. Depression may cause sleep problems and having sleep problems might also contribute to depression. Sleep problems and depression might also share risk factors and biological capabilities and the 2 conditions might also respond to a number of the same remedy techniques. Sleep problems also are related to greater extreme depressive illness.

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6 Benefits of Meditation

Learning meditation can be an essential approach that we can utilize on a day to day basis to develop our mental and physical health for the better. Even Singapore’s Mother Teresa, Teresa Hsu used to wake up at 4 AM just to meditate.  Meditation can give us a calm, peaceful, and balanced way of living so we can eventually thrive as the best versions of ourselves.

1. Meditation reduces stress.

Meditation has been sought and is being practiced by many simply because of one thing, stress. Disruption of sleep, fatigue, an increase in blood pressure, depression, and anxiety are just part of the many harmful effects of stress. A meditation style called mindfulness meditation, being aware of our emotional and physical experiences, has been observed to have reduced the levels of the stress hormone, Cortisol.

2. Meditation also reduces anxiety.

Less stress eventually leads to less anxiety. Getting into the habit of meditation helps reduce anxiety and other issues like paranoids, phobias, social anxiety, and the like. Meditation may also help reduce work-related anxiety in high-pressure and workload heavy environments. It gives us the chance to take a step back and sort the essential ideas from thoughts that are unnecessary.

3. It improves concentration.

Another type of meditation is focused-attention meditation, which simply involves focusing on an object or thought. This works because of the concentration you bring on the certain object and not being distracted by other thoughts. With habitual practice, you will notice that you are able to concentrate with ease a lot more.

4. It Increases self-awareness.

Meditation may also help to develop a greater understanding of the self. With this, the idea is to earn a better awareness of your own thoughts.  This can help you recognize your thought process to help navigate towards the positive patterns of your thinking and avoid the harmful and self-conflicting ones. It can teach you to calm down, recognize your anger, and detach from it.

5. It benefits our overall health.

Because meditation induces relaxation, it causes our blood vessels to ease and open up, allowing blood pressure to drop. The lowering of blood pressure is also the effect of the reduced Cortisol that comes as a result of meditation. Meditation has also been seen to boost lymphocytes, the cells that improve our immune system. This results to the body to gain better resistance even against tumors!

6. It also helps to develop creativity.

                One type of meditation that helps with creativity is open-monitoring meditation. It involves observing the experiences in the present moment while maintaining attention and keeping it flexible. This enhances our ability to observe internal experiences like thoughts and emotions, while also noting external stimuli like bodily sensations of sound and smell. This ability helps improve cognitive flexibility and overall creativity.

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Understanding the Different Types of Interior and Exterior Paint Finishes

The sheen makes a big difference. Even if you have chosen the right paint for your interior or exterior paint job, choosing the wrong finish will only undo several hours of work and will have you spending more to repaint.  

While there can be so many names for the types of finishes depending on the manufacturers, especially interior paint finishes, knowing the different types of paint finish doesn’t have to be so complicated as it would seem.

Paint finishes for both interior and exterior paints can be divided into three or four major categories, ranging from dull to shiny.

Exterior Paint Finishes

Exterior paint finishes are simpler to understand because there are only three categories that you need to remember, and they can more or less do all the work that you will be needing for outdoor paint jobs.

Here are the three types of exterior paint finish that you need to be familiar with:

  • Flat finish – This type of external finish is the most porous and is the one that reflects the most light, which makes it ideal for painting older houses as it helps to hide any flaws or imperfections that can come with age.
  • Satin finish – This type of finish is the most popular one for homeowners as it is neither too dull nor too shiny, and the more subtle sheen makes it great for painting walls. It is also much easier to clean with a pressure washing every once in a while.        
  • Gloss finish – Gloss finishes are the toughest and are the easiest to maintain, but can make your home look as if it were made of plastic when used too much. This type of finish is also very slippery.

Interior Paint Finishes

While there are more and more names being added to the list of interior paint finishes, they usually all range from dull to shiny. The dull ones are best reserved for floors and ceilings, while the shinier ones are for doors and windows.

Here are the four major types that you need to remember:

  • No-sheen – Flat paint finishes are offered by almost every paint manufacturer, and they produce a dull finish that will make living rooms and home offices seem all the more inviting. Their only drawback is that they absorb all stains and are difficult to wash.
  • Low-sheen – Kitchens and bathrooms would benefit a lot from low-sheen paint finishes because of their glow. They are also appropriate for kids’ rooms and hallways, but they do tend to highlight flaws on the walls’ surface.
  • Medium-sheen – Medium-sheen finishes are much more durable and easy to clean, which makes it irresistible to homeowners. However, they should only be reserved for doors and windows.
  • High-sheen – These finishes are hard, smooth, and non-porous enamels that are ideal for areas that tend to experience wear and tear the most, such as windows and doors, and even corner woodwork, but should never be used for walls or ceilings.

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5 Simple Alternatives to Kitchen Gadgets that You Already Have at Home

Your kitchen may not have all the culinary tools you will need to accomplish a certain task, whether the tools you have happen to be in the dishwasher or that you don’t want to spend money on something you will rarely use.

In lieu of these gadgets, here are a few substitutes that could be handy in a pinch:

1. Bottles can do the work of rolling pins.

Rolling pins are essentially dough flatteners, and a wine bottle can easily fill this task. However, do handle bottles with care and try to avoid breaking them – the last thing you want in your pastry is broken glass.

2. Use two forks instead of a whisk or a hand mixer.

Blending ingredients into a mixture, such as whipping cream or eggs, need air, which a whisk usually lets you do with ease. However, two forks facing each other will do just fine. Create some space between the two by placing a folded paper towel and taping them together.

If all else fails, you can just skip the process and simply beat the mixture with a fork (you can never go wrong with that!).

3. A blender can be a stand-in for a food processor.

A high-powered blender is in a lot of ways similar to a food processor in that they contain blades and can make short work of things other than ice cubes – ingredients such as spices and meats can be blitzed at low or high speeds depending on your preference.

Keep in mind that this may not always work for cheeses as they might stick to the blades instead. For hard vegetables, such as carrots, you might have to chop them into small pieces beforehand. 

4. In a pinch, a large spoon will open a bottle for you.

Whether it’s a bottle of soda or beer, what you really need is a lever that will pop the bottle cap open, something that a large spoon can easily accomplish. With one hand, hold the bottle by the neck.

Once done, put the spoon’s front tip under the cap using the other hand and lift until the cap pops open.

5. Do not underestimate the versatility of aluminum foil.

This long, thin, foldable strip of metal has more uses than just covering dishes.

For instance, heavy duty foil can be used in lieu of a colander, or a sheet of foil folded into ridges can elevate lighter foods from baking sheets and keep them from sticking. You can even make it into a coil to support heavier foods, such as roast chicken, in the oven.

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The Five Sure-Fire Signs of a Healthy, Lasting Relationship

You want your partner to be more than just your partner. You also want them to be your best friend, co-parent, companion, confidant, and even a partner-in-crime, and you can achieve this by improving on what you already have in your shared lives.

This all starts with these five factors that you’ll see in any long-lasting relationship (and are good qualities to start building towards if you don’t see them):

1. You and your partner agree on core values.
Every person has a “non-negotiable” belief, whether it’s on the topic of children, personal habits and hygiene, politics and ethics, or even religion – and there’s a good chance you have them too.

However, relationships can still work even if you don’t agree with everything – if you’re willing to hear the other person out and work out a compromise, you’ll be surprised at what you can do.

2. You communicate constantly.
No relationship is without conflict. There’s going to be something you’ll come across that you’ll have different opinions on, and it could turn into a heated discussion.

However, what keeps both parties on track is good communication – honestly expressing thoughts and ideas in a caring manner with respect for the other party. In fact, it’s perhaps the biggest factor you’ll see in any working relationship.

3. You let yourselves be vulnerable.
Being able to share intimate details with a certain level of comfort is one of the biggest hallmarks of a relationship that’s going to last, and needs a lot of trust on both ends. This can span a lot of things, from your darkest secrets and deepest fears, to sex.

We go into relationships to be vulnerable, and by respectful with regards to our partner’s openness, we come out of the relationship as better people.

4. You have a balance between your relationship and other aspects of your life.
Whether it’s keeping in touch with your friends and family, or pursuing your passions and careers, you need to know how to balance that and your relationship.

While you need to prioritize your partner, keep in mind that you are also your own person – and so is your partner, and you need to allow your partner to develop and grow in the other aspects of their life.

5. You discuss the future a lot.
Other than having similar or complementing core values, it’s also great to share a similar view of where you’ll be heading in your lives in the future. Think ten, twenty years from now – what will you be doing for a living? Where will you be living? Will you have children?

If you can see these signs in your relationship, congratulations! You as a couple are going to last for a long time.

And if you don’t see it yet, don’t fret. What you need to do is to talk to your partner honestly and openly, and work out how you can improve your relationship from there.

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