The day started with a ride north from my residence in Denpasar to Ubud. It was a Saturday, so the traffic was understandably quite hectic that morning. We arrived at Artotel Haniman by 9, and were immediately greeted by my friend Dyah. She led us to the registration table, upon which two kind liaison officers handed us our attributes for the day, packaged inside a festive Traveloka Eats tote bag. We then made our way to our room to get changed into the event tee. I emptied the totebag in a movie-scene like fashion, to which I found a gorgeous wooden bowl, a guide book for the event, several stickers, a gift voucher, and the event tee. I put it on, made sure I looked A-ok, and left the room with the bag propped on my shoulders. I was ready for the day.
Okay so hold up. What the hell is going on?
The kind people over at Traveloka Eats have invited me to come over and join them on their pilot food event in Bali: a two day trip featuring a tour down Stark Beer’s microbrewery in Bali’s northern region of Singaraja and a food-beer pairing fiesta at Locavore’s Nusantara restaurant the next day. The event was a collab between Traveloka and local beer community BeerGembira. Here’s how it went.
First stop: De Danau Restaurant
The trip to Singaraja on the first day composed of a midway stop in the chilly region of Bedugul, where we were destined to have our lunch. De Danau was situated just across Lake Bedugul, so one could imagine what the view was like from the second floor balcony. The meal was set in a buffet-like fashion, where people would line up to ‘scoop’ their favored amount of whatever food was prepared on the platter. Naturally, I took small scoops of everything: fried noodles, fried chicken, spicy fish soup, salted-egg shrimp, sautéed vegetables, and corn soup. As with local food, a side of crackers (kerupuk) was always available — so I took those too. It was delicious. The fried noodles, I recalled was very enticing, and yes it was super tasty. The rest was standard, but I was pleased with the overall quality. After some time chatting with several new people I met, we continued our journey towards the northern pole of Bali — home of the famous Stark Beer.
Second stop: Stark Beer HQ
I slept almost the whole way through the ride, which took about two and a half hours. The event started with informal greetings from the Traveloka team, a BeerGembira representative, and several people from Stark Beer themselves — who explained about the basics of beer.
Fun fact: Stark Beer is currently the only craft-beer producer in Indonesia.
I sure did learn amazing new things about the wonderful beverage. We then proceeded to the tour, where a Stark representative took us through the entire process of beer distillation, from ingredients through milling, brewing, resting, and finally packaging. We were then given the chance to try all 7 different types of beer on their lineup.
I lost my Stark Beer virginity to the mellow ‘1945’, per recommendation of a Stark representative. My oh my, I have never had a better tasting beer. After about 3 different bottles, my bladder decided to give up and so I took it as a cue to stop. Thankfully, the kind people over at Stark gave me the other 4 flavors for me to try at home. It was then that I met with Mr. Robert, master brewer over at Stark, the man behind quality control, the ‘chef’ of their amazing lineup. I was deeply immersed into the conversation, discovering more and more things about the world of craft beers and Starks’s brilliant feats during the years of its development. Several conversations later (plus another trip to the bathroom), we took to our buses and left the complex. Guess what? I slept through the entire way back.
I woke up at 6 and still under the beer ‘hype’, immediately reached for a bottle of cold beer from the fridge. I took out the ‘Wheat’ variance (which I soon learnt was my favorite one of them all) and sipped through it while enjoying the early Ubud air.
After a glorious hot shower, I packed my stuff up and made my way to the next door restaurant for breakfast. Full Circle is the distant cousin of Seminyak’s famous EXPAT coffee, and the resemblance is uncanny. The place features unique seating options and nature-esque details that appears to remind me of its Seminyak counterpart. Breakfast in there was apparently part of the hotel room’s package, so I decided to dig in. I had the ‘Breakfast Butty’ and a classic ‘Flat White’ to go with it. To summarize, EXPAT just doesn’t disappoint. Read my full, detailed review of Full Circle here.
After finishing breakfast, we checked out of the hotel to proceed to the last segment of our adventure: food-beer pairing fiesta.
Third stop: Nusantara by Locavore (Full review here)
This restaurant was rightfully selected as host for this fiesta. Its philosophy behind traditional local cuisine is a perfect fit for this event. Their curation of local dishes to pair with local beer features interesting pairings but prove to be once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Cause hey! When else will you ever be able to pair Cakalang Asap with Sambal Ganja and Mango Ale? Several flavor explosions later, we finished up with a local dessert and waved our goodbyes to the restaurant and to the event.
I would like to use this last paragraph as a thank you note to the people over at Beergembira, Stark Beer, Locavore, and most of all to Traveloka Eats, for arranging such an amazingly adventurous trip. To more events like this in the future, cheers!