Craft brewing continues to develop in the Philippines. Every month, there are going to be a bunch of new beers to talk about as brewers continue to experiment with various styles and ingredients, hoping to impress local beer geeks and lure in new drinkers. Here are a few recently released beers local that are worth seeking out.
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Cebruery Anniversario Imperial Stout
Every year, the Cebuano brewery introduces a special, limited release beer for their anniversary. The latest version is a totally ridiculous 11 percent ABV Imperial Stout. They really went all out on this beer: it’s flavored with local coffee, tablea, vanilla, and chunks of guava wood that were soaked in Speyside whisky. It’s an extremely rich, totally over-the-top stout that still somehow manages to feel balanced. It isn’t too sweet, and it isn’t too boozy. The most interesting aspect of its flavor profile is the influence of the guava wood, which reads strangely tropical on the palate. Breweries around the world have largely limited themselves to the cleaner influences of oak, and it’s been really interesting to sample what it is that our local ingredients do to these popular styles of beer.
Get it at: Pierre’s Cellar in Quezon City currently has the only keg in Metro Manila. Around 1,000 bottles were produced, and will likely start showing up in other places soon. Check the Cebruery Facebook for more information.
Pierre’s Insane IPA
One of the general perceptions of craft beer is that’s it’s all bitter IPAs. Weirdly, that’s not really true for the local scene. Perhaps afraid of alienating people who have mostly consumed San Mig Light for all their lives, there aren’t really that many brewers producing these really hoppy beers. Enter Pierre’s Insane IPA, which is a really fine example of the style. Yes, it is bitter, but it’s balanced out by all the other things that hops can bring: bright fruitiness, candy sweetness, a piney woodiness, and all the dank funk that a person can handle.
Get it at: Pierre’s Cellar.
The Marc’s and Tony Andromeda New England IPA
So, what are brewers making instead of bitter IPAs? They’re going for its friendlier, trendier cousin from the East Coast. The New England IPA is a hazy beer that foregoes the bitterness of the hops and just tries to extract its fruitier, more citrus-y qualities. This is a beer that can taste like a fruit shake, and that can be a lot of fun. Currently, the best example of this style might be The Marc’s and Tony Andromeda, an astoundingly juicy beer that just overwhelms you with sweet orange, nectarine, and mango notes, with a little bit of fresh grassiness to balance things out a bit. It’s a big beer that’s dangerously easy to drink, and it certainly justifies the current passion for the New England style.
Get it at: Spektral Beer Lounge in Makati and The Bottle Shop in Paseo de Magallanes regularly get in kegs of The Marc and Tony’s stuff. Also: the brewery has been releasing cans of their beers recently. Check their Facebook for information on these releases.
3006 Craft Brewery Tumana Wheat Ale
There’s always going to be talk of the best craft beer to introduce people to the scene. Intuitively, it can’t be something too crazy, too outside of the normal parameters through which people experience beer. The latest beer to enter this argument is from a fledgling brewery in Bulacan. Tumana is a nice little wheat beer that is light enough to give to anyone skeptical of all these high ABV beers, but interesting enough to leave them wanting to try more. Up front, it’s sweet, slightly floral, and citrusy. In the back end, it’s got a real pleasant bread finish. It’s one of those beers that people end up drinking all night. It just tastes like a little bit of sunshine.
63 North Guava Vice
Even some of the most experienced craft beer drinkers still balk at the idea of a sour beer. But we live in the Philippines, where vinegar is all over the cuisine, green mangoes are a street snack, and calamansi is squeezed on top of everything. Also, it could just be noted that it’s hot here, and a lot of days are just too sweaty for a big, malty, or hoppy beer. Guava Vice is a tart refresher, with notes of guava to give the sourness a more welcoming dimension. If you find a fresh keg, it might be one of the best beers to start out the night with.