By Anne Paye – Craft Beer Asia’s Manila Correspondent
Remember life is too short to drink bad beer. That’s why Ninkasi (The ancient Sumerian tutelary goddess of beer) blessed us with the gift to brew and to brew great tasting craft beer. For every mood there’s a type of beer that matches and the same goes with food. There’s a pairing that goes to every meal and individual taste bud.
The growing beer festivals that are popping up around Asia are a good introduction to the (craft) beer revolution that is growing in Asia. That’s why I enjoyed the first beer festival in Manila of this year 2016 because it has brought not only brewers from Asia but also brewers from around the world to create and share their passion and skill as the display in our home town of the Philippines.
Welcome to Brewfest MNL!! It was a perfect forum for introductory drinkers to be educated and the more versed to just enjoy great beers. This forum actually was a more quaint neighborhood gathering of some of the main brewers here in the Philippines. The line up showcased local hometown brewers including The Bottle Shop, Turning Wheels, Joe’s Brew, Nipa Brew, Baguio Craft Brewery, Juan Brew, Pedro Brewcrafters, Crazy Carabao Brewing Co. and The Brewery at the Palace to name just a few.
First stop on my fabulous beer adventure was Turning Wheels. This was a brewmaster based in Los Angeles, California “Michael Nikkel” a very spirited chap in his 30’s from Cebu which was compelled to bring his love of his craft with his Filipina Partner because he also heard the fresh venue and brewers in our country. My friend you are right with your decision!!!! 👍👊 He’s basically a new up and coming craft brewmaster with a very complex palette. I specially liked his Double IPA which would go well with any lamb or beer dish. He puts the hip in his hops. Very hoppy in the end and bitter delicious good after taste which I particularly like! He’s a very spirited person thats not shy to educate and share his personal stories. I asked what his logo stands for? It’s basically a 1800 type of bike you would see. Each of his beers are not just based on his love for beer but cycling as well. Each one of his beers is named for his passion for biking – for example, Red line means when he wears red he goes fast. Which is kind of fitting because he is in the fast track to become legendary if he keeps up his pace. “So happy trails to you in your journey Well be with you every turn of the way.”
I really wanted to experience the more “green brewers” which was established less than 2 years ago. My next stop was Juan Brew which was established in 2014. Watch out for these guys, because they are new doesn’t make them greenhorns. The only thing green about them is their label and their environmental consciousness about the earth. Their brewery is 100% solar powered. Wow! Talking about walk the walk. Their brewery has the capacity to maintain over 12 houses. I spoke with Chi the marketing coordinator and what a colorful personality, full of life but a very fast talker but she has a lot to say. I was impressed because first of all their beer are outstanding and they market them to fit more to the Filipino budget without compromising the flavor. You got my intention Juan Brew who ever you are. Haha!
My last stop before night-night time was the “Bottle Shop” to check out their arsenal of beer selections. Put these bottles in a belt and you ready to win a war. All I can say is WoW!!! Sophisticated and master of the craft. They have beers for every occasion or any palette and also make craft beer that i can happily drink all day long. Truly a Guru that all the brewers have noticed and appreciate. He (Jim Araneta) is also one of the pioneers of the Philippines for Craft Beer revolution and he supports well known brewmasters as well, up and coming brewers.
A good example of one of those brewers that The Bottle Shop supports would be the Bier Ranger. His one of the people you’ll see at all the events in Metro Manila. You can’t miss him as he sometimes wears a mask like some superhero. Something you might not know about him is that he is a University of the Philippines student with a passion to make great beer. Their beer has a growing fan club around the campus and no doubt soon in the industry. He likes to keep his name and associates a secret but shh😉 I tried the “Alamat Craft Brew”! And damn what a great beer! I have no doubt that his beer wont be a secret for long but it will shortly be a well known label. Keep it up guys i know you’ll be a big success!
I noticed that other bloggers have famous phrases so thought I would make one for fun. Comment and tell me what you think. Keep calm and drink craft beer! Here is my handle. “Here is my stout “Bitches” haha!” 🍻