BEER used to be thought of as a man's drink. But now a range of lighter beers, some infused with fruit flavours and some bubbly like champagne, are winning over women.
The restaurants and bars that serve them say these new brews have been catching on with women customers since they were introduced here in the last year.
Where to go for light froth
2AM Dessert Bar
21A Lorong Liput, Tel: 6291-9727
Open: 6.30pm-2am (Mon-Sat), closed Sun
Serves Timmermans Peche, a Belgian peach beer, for $12 a bottle.
01-01B Suntec City, 1 Raffles Boulevard, Tel: 6339-1600
Open: 3pm-1am (Mon-Thurs), 3pm-2am (Fri), 6pm-2am (Sat), closed Sun
For a range of light beers, try the club's pilsners such as Warteiner and San Miguel. It also stocks wheat beers such as Konig Ludwig Hefeweizen and Franziskaner Hefe-Weissbier. Prices start from $12 a bottle.
80 Mohamed Sultan Road, 01-12 The Pier @ Robertson, Tel: 6887-4344
Open: 5pm-midnight (Mon-Thurs), noon-1am (Fri and Sat), noon-midnight (Sun)
Serves an extensive range of Belgian beers including fruit beers in unusual flavours such as banana and pineapple. Prices start from $12 a bottle.
4 Greenwood Avenue, Hillcrest Park, Tel: 6465-1911
Open: Noon-midnight (Mon-Sun)
Light beers such as the Belgian beer Triple Karmeliet and Leffe Blonde, a pale ale, are available here, with prices starting from $11 for a pint during happy hour.
01-06A Tat Ann Building, 40 Jalan Pemimpin, Tel: 6258-9177
Open: 9am-7pm (Mon-Fri) and 9am-1pm (Sat), closed on Sun. To visit after store hours, an appointment is necessary
Owned by Australian beer importers B.I.D, this warehouse sells a wide range of beers, including Belgian fruit beers, champagne beer and Flemish red ales. Prices start at $6 for a bottle of fruit beer.
Student Edrea Teo, 24, says: 'I've never liked the bitter taste of beer but I tried a Belgian peach beer recently and I loved it. It was sweet and really easy to drink.'
Fruit beers are available at 2am Dessert Bar; Brussels Sprouts, a restaurant-bar in Robertson Quay; and Sunset Tavern at Sunset Way in Clementi.
What's on offer includes peach-flavoured Timmermans Peche and cherry-flavoured Timmermans Kriek; Deus Brut des Flanders, a champagne beer; and two Flemish sour red ales, Rodenbach and Rodenbach Grand Cru, all from Belgium.
While men still make up the bulk of beer drinkers at bars and restaurants, those in the industry say that women have been catching up.
'These days, it isn't just men drinking beer but women as well,' says Ms Edina Hong, who runs French restaurant Saint Pierre in Central Mall and Brussels Sprouts.
A spokesman for Balaclava agrees: 'A lot of women are opting for wheat beers because they're fruitier and lighter than other beers.'
She cites German wheat beer Konig Ludwig Hefeweizen as being especially popular among women. About 4,800 pints of it are guzzled by customers each month.
Beer is generally produced by the fermentation of sugars in malts such as barley, wheat and oats. Hops are added to give it its bitter taste.
The new beers differ from traditional beer in the ways they are fermented.
For example, cherries steep in Timmermans Kriek for six to nine months, infusing the beer with a cherry flavour and a ruby red colour. Natural peach juice gives Timmermans Peche its peachy flavour.
Deus Brut des Flanders, the champagne beer, undergoes the same rigorous process French sparkling wines undergo. The beer, stored in bottles, is matured following a strict protocol of bottle turning and yeast removal that takes more than a year.
For women who love their wines, Flemish sour red ales undergo a 24-month long fermentation period in wooden casks, where ale yeast and other microflora interact with the beer, giving it a rich wine-like flavour.
Mr Ben Chua, a beer consultant for Australian company Beer Importers & Distributors (B.I.D), which brings in premium beers from Belgium, France and Germany, says: 'These beers provide another dimension to beer-drinking by moving away from bitter brews.'
Fans of such beers will be glad to know that they'll have more choices soon.
B.I.D plans to bring in four new beers from Belgium this month. They include Pink Killer, a beer flavoured with pink grapefruit.
Picotin, a restaurant in Turf Club Road that Ms Hong and her husband, chef Emmanuel Stroobant, plan to open later this year, will have a new range of pale ales, a variety of beers which use ale yeast, from countries such as France and Australia.
'I've never tried flavoured beers but now that I've tried fruit beers I'm hooked,' says Ms Ann Moey, 24, a projects and event executive.