Craft beer continues to rise in this country. On October 4 and 5, the craft beer community had its biggest, most visible showcase yet at Resort World Manila’s October Fiesta, which gathered over thirty of the country’s best craft breweries in one place and made their specialty brews available to the public. There was a lot to take in, but here are some of the beers we sampled that will be worth looking out for in the coming month.
More on drinks:
- The 5 new local craft beers you should seek out this weekend
- Milk tea, taho, and other things we’re putting whisky into
- The story of whisky-making in Japan began with a scion of sake brewers
- Seven Mexican tequilas we tasted for your consideration
Bruddah Brewing Tripel Cripel
Bruddah is one of the best kept secrets in Philippine craft beer. This mostly has to do with the fact that they aren’t really found in any of the usual venues for craft beer. They are, instead, found at select branches of Wildflour, sharing menu space with an already pretty large selection of drinks. So far, the brewery seems to specialize in high-alcohol beers that don’t really taste like high-alcohol beers. Their latest is an 11% ABV Belgian Tripel. This is a huge, mostly sweet beer that lands on the palate with dark honey notes and plenty of banana, before leaving with a nice, pronounced spice character. As it gets warmer, those banana notes become more varied, revealing layers of jammy fruit notes. And despite its rather absurd alcohol content and hefty mouthfeel, it goes down pretty easy. Look for this on the Wildflour drinks menu in the following weeks. Do try to drink it slowly. It’s bigger than it tastes.
Marc’s and Tony Brewing Hibbi’s Rose
The local craft beer scene is really into the beers of the Marc’s and Tony Brewing Co. They’re most known for their New England-style IPAs; thick, opaque beers that forego much of the bitterness of hops and instead try to extract as much fruit flavor from them as possible. So, it was a little surprising to see them selling a light wheat beer. It’s a pretty special one, though. It has hibiscus in it, the petals turning the beer into an appealing pink, and lending it a lovely floral aroma. There’s a slight tartness to it, and just enough of a wheaty funk to keep the drink interesting. It’s a nice, refreshing little beer that will appeal to anyone who enjoys hibiscus. Given its reception at the festival, this beer should become a regular of many craft beer bars in the upcoming months.
Crows Craft Brewing Murder of Crows Red IPA
If you’ve ever looked into local craft beers at all, then you’ve probably run into Crows craft brewing. At this point, they’re a pretty venerable brand known for their aggressively hopped IPAs. Every October, they brew a special beer for Halloween. They call it Murder of Crows, and it’s packing 6% ABV and 66 IBUs. This year’s batch tastes pretty exceptional: up front, lots of caramel and toffee, with just a hint of herby malt character, before unleashing its full payload of hop flavor. Citrus dominates, with notes of lemon and orange. But there’s also a bit of resin-y pine as the drink goes down. It’s a lot of fun, and it can be readily found at Pintxos or your nearest craft beer bar.
Halfbaked Brewing Collective Camping with Hans Smoky Ale
The Halfbaked Brewing Collective is a group of expat homebrewers who’ve banded together to try and make better beers. Up to this point, it’s been rare to see their beers show up in taprooms, but it looks like they’ll be stepping up production soon. Of the beers they served at the festival, the one that feels the most ready to be served to the public is Camping with Hans, a beer that gains a little something special from the use of smoked malts. It’s a nice, light beer with toffee and caramel balanced out with a dryness that comes from that smoky finish. It’s kind of reminiscent of having one of those flavored hookahs. The collective continues to improve through every brew, and it’ll be really interesting to see what this beer becomes over the next few months.
The name “Madbul” is meant to represent the two homes of the brewer: Madrid and Bulacan. Whereas most brewers are making their names on heavier beers, Madbul is most notable for their lighter fare. In particular, Madbul is a wizard at bringing out the flavors of wheat. The Dunkelweizen is a German style of wheat beer that uses a darker strain of wheat, resulting in more pronounced caramel flavors. There’s just a hint of the typical banana and clove one associates with the German style of wheat beer. What defines this beer, and a lot of what Madbul does, is a complex bready finish that might recall a freshly baked loaf from a wood burning oven. There’s almost a dustiness to it, triggering a sense memory of breakfasts past. Madbul’s beer has been known to show up at The Bottle Shop in Magallanes and Pierre’s Cellar in Quezon City, and they’re the beers you can just spend the whole night drinking.
Photos by Philbert Dy