Something wonderful is happening in Manila, Philippines. Yes, the site of the world’s best sunset is being transformed through the cleanup of Manila Bay, but at Craft Beer Asia we aren’t about sunsets (although we love a great sunset). Manila is setting itself up to become a top destination for the Craft Beer Traveler.
Manila may not be on your list of must-visit cities in SE Asia like Bangkok, Saigon or Singapore, but if you love Craft Beer and don’t have Manila on your radar, you are missing out on something very special.
Unlike Singapore and Hong Kong, Manila is a very affordable city. Yes, Manila may have some terrible traffic, but the chaos and color of the city makes it truly magical as Asia’s friendliest residents welcome everyone with open arms and smiles. English is widely spoken by pretty much everyone which is an added benefit.
Manila’s key financial district of Makati is home to The Perfect Pint, offering up close to two dozen craft beers all brewed in house. At the time of our visit in January of 2019, they had eight IPAs on tap, each with a distinct flavor and color profile. The Perfect Pint also pairs craft beers with some great food options. A second location is located in Manila’s southern suburb of Alabang.
Not far from The Perfect Pint is Spektral Beer Lounge, offering a wide range of local craft beers on tap and in bottles. Order in food from a nearby restaurant and pull up a barstool to enjoy some of The Philippines top Craft Beers. Be sure to try some of Cebu’s Turning Wheels Craft Brewery, which may be some of the finest beer brewed in SE Asia.
Why not pair some great craft beer with amazing wood fired pizza? I can’t think of a reason why not. Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza has locations scattered throughout Metro Manila in Makati, BGC, Mandaluyong and Quezon City. Not only is the pizza fantastic, but Gino’s locations are home to the craft beer brewed by Mitchell’s Backyard Brewing. Their styles include the likes of Mocha Stout, Belgian Wheat or Citrus IPA and more. These are world class examples of craft beer being brewed in The Philippines. All Gino’s locations offer Mitchell’s beers on tap.
Makati’s Poblacion District is the real Hot Bed of Craft Beer in the Metro Manila area.
The newly opened Pedro Taphouse pours their own Pedro Brewing as well as guest taps from the likes of 63 North. Pedro Taphouse offers an amazing menu of food items as well as live entertainment in their two story renovated character home in the Poblacion entertainment district. Oh, and if you need a palate cleanser, ask Nadine to make you her famous Pimm’s cocktail.
Just around the corner from Pedro Taphouse is the home of Joe’s Brew, at House of Joe. This is a very cozy little pub serving the range of beers from Joe’s Brew. And save some room for food, the adjoining Holy Smokes BBQ will tantalize your senses with amazing Southern Style Barbecue.
A short walk away and staying in Poblacion (or stagger depending on how far along in the tour you are) is Polilya, home to Engkanto Brewing in Manila. The tropical themed venue offers some amazing food options as well. The full range of Engkanto beers are on tap here.
RYou don’t have to walk far to our next spot, Alamat Filipino Pub and Deli is just down the street. This place takes great care to offer some of the best examples of local craft beer on tap. The rooftop patio is the place to hang out and enjoy some amazing modernized Filipino food options (try the chicken or pork skewers) to go along with local craft beers such as Crows Brewing “De Puta Madre” IPA.
With two locations in Manila (Magallanes and BGC), The Bottle Shop is Manila’s first Craft Beer Bar opened by Jim Araneta, the Pioneer of Craft Beer in The Philippines. The Bottle Shops offer draft and bottled beers both local and imported. The Bottle Shop (aka Global Beer Exchange) is the importer of legendary Craft Beers such as Stone Brewing, Rogue and others. You’ll catch a local craft beer social influencer or craft beer celebrity here on any night of the week.
Some of the friendliest and most knowledgeable bartenders can be found at our next stop, Nipa Brew Taproom. Brewed on premise, Nipa Brew has a strong offering of styles on tap alongside some guest taps such as the likes of The Professor’s Brew. The taproom also offers some unique Filipino Craft Beer in bottles as well. But, a night at Nipa Brewing would not be complete without their Sisig Rice Bowl. I’ll say no more other than, try it!
With four locations around the Metro Manila area including BGC, Makati and Malate, The Tap Station offers a multitude of unique craft beers on tap from The Philippines as well as some great imported brands (on tap!) including Omnipollo and Gotland from Sweden. The number of taps ranges with up to 40 taps pouring at their Circuit Makati location. Tap Station is also home to Craft Revolt which is brewed in The Philippines.
Located in Quezon City is Pierre’s Beer Cellar. A cozy spot on the corner of Tomas Morato and E. Rodriguez (around the back and down below) is a wonderful beer hangout. Pierre’s offers 18 taps of local craft beer, along with a selection of bottles including a wealth of Belgian imports.
Staying in the Quezon City area, you’ll want to check out the home of Wicked Elias Brewing. 13 Ubay Street is the name and location of the restaurant/bar serving one of the areas newer craft beer brewers. Wicked Elias is also known for their selection of ciders with flavors such as mango or guyabano.
If you are finding yourself in the southern part fo the Metro Manila area, then you are in luck also. Not only is The Perfect Pint pouring at their second location in Alabang, but Wicked Elias is pouring and brewing in their new taproom at BF Homes in Parañaque. This modern taproom and brewery is the perfect spot to find yourself in the evening in this lively district. No food is served here, but order from one of the many surrounding restaurants (try Yellow Cab Pizza!). Wicked Elias is one of the few places I’ve seen that are using the Untappd app to update their beer menu. They are cutting edge! And be sure to check out your Untappd “check in” on their live screen.
Craft Beer is available at many more places around Metro Manila so if you find yourself eating amazing street tacos at Lagrima in Makati, you’ll find some Joe’s Brew…
… or if you are craving some amazing Filipino food in Pasig and find yourself at Locavore, you’ll find Craft Beer from Crazy Carabao…
Manila has come a long way in the past decade with regards to Craft Beer. So if you have a layover for a day or a few days in this amazing city, be sure to check out some of the craft beer venues mentioned above, or explore whichever corner of the city you may be in and discover an amazing place to eat and ask for what’s available for craft beer. You may be in for a nice surprise. Most of all, enjoy the friendly people, colors and beautiful chaos that this big city offers.
If you need advice on where to stay, eat or drink craft beer during your stay in Metro Manila, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org