Beertopia 2017 Review: The Best Craft Beer Festival I Couldn’t Afford

Hailed as Asia’s biggest craft beer festival, Beertopia was marked on my calendar for months. After spending that last 5 years in Seoul, this was the first craft beer festival I’ve attended outside South Korea. Now living in Shenzhen, an easy commute from Hong Kong, I fully expected Hong Kong’s Beertopia to raise my craft beer festival experience to a whole new level. 

So, did Hong Kong’s Beertopia 2017 meet my excited expectations?

Not really.

Who is this festival for?

TL;DR: It’s for the rich.

Gweilo was the first sample I had at the festival. Good choice!

Beertopia did a lot of things right, which I’ll point out in the coming sections. However, the big off-flavor here, leaving a metaphorically skunky aftertaste in my mouth, was the price.

Hong Kong is expensive. And hosting an event downtown can’t be cheap. I know that. But the beer (not to mention food) prices were too high for me to truly enjoy myself.

There were several pricing schemes for entry tickets, but if you arrived without an early-bird ticket you’d pay:

Friday night (starting at 6pm) cost $290 HKD;

Saturday (starting at noon) cost $320 HKD.   

These tickets also got you a coupon for 1 free beer, but that coupon was only good with a very limited selection. Plus, most people want to start with some samples. Afterall it is a beer festival and Beertopia advertised that it had more than 500 different beers. How can the average festival-goer know which is the right beer for them without sampling different styles?

Apparently, by spending lots of cash on tokens. I spoke to some breweries’ staff members and was told that booths were forbidden from offering free samples. Instead they were instructed to charge 1 token for a small taster. So the newly arrived ticket holder, even with their beer coupon, would still have to immediately buy tokens to try samples of any beer.

Charging one token for a small taster is not so bad — until you find out how expensive tokens are.

You could only buy tokens in the mathematically elegant prices of 6 for $100 HKD and 14 for $200 HKD. Asking intoxicated people to do that math almost seems cruel. Try drinking several beer and then figure out, in your head, how many times 6 goes into 100 or 14 into 200; especially if you’re a tourist who’s unfamiliar with Hong Kong Dollars (HKD). Not to mention that tokens themselves are easy to discredit as something that isn’t real money.

So here’s the math:

Entry Tickets Friday (6pm – close) Saturday (noon – close)
In HKD $290 $320
In USD (Approx) $37 $41
Drink Tokens 6 tokens ($100 HKD) 14 tokens ($200 HKD)
Price in USD (approx) $13 $26
Price per token in USD (approx) $2.17 $1.86

Of course there’s more efficient ways to hack the beer festival in order to save your money, and we’ll talk about that in a minute. But first I want to point out another downside of buying tokens: what if you don’t use them all? If you’re a light drinker, or if you were soon leaving the festival for dinner, you might not be able to go through the 14 tokens you just bought. Not unless you knew where to blow your money.

Warm Tip: For those looking to quickly blow a ton of tokens, go for expensive imported beers! A bottle of Evil Twin Imperial Biscotti Break (a beer that costs $175 HKD at HK Brewcraft), will take a cool 20 tokens off your hands (Beertopia price: $300 HKD or approx $38 USD).

*Note: It might have been the Evil Twin Imperial Doughnut Break, a slightly more expensive beer at $200 HKD for sale at HK Brewcraft.

I personally spent a lot of tokens at Yeastie Boys, a great New Zealand brewery with beers you can find around Hong Kong. Why did I drink these imported beers? Well, their beers are good. But most importantly I could get a full can of beer for 2 tokens (approx $4.34 USD). Not a steal, especially considering the entry price, but the best deal I could find at the whole festival.

In contrast, my boys from Busan — Korea’s Gorilla Brewing — charged 2 tokens for a sample. It was 5 tokens (approx $10.67 USD!) for a single plastic cup full of beer. But Gorilla wasn’t the only exception to the “1 token for a taster” rule, and they had to pay extra to import their beer on short notice.

A more saddening exception could be found at the “Beer Geek Area.” This was a sort of trailer in the middle of the fest with some really exciting and unique beers from two great local breweries: Yardley Brothers and Young Masters.

Among their selection of heart-racingly novel beers, Yardley Brothers had a 25% abv IPA called The Beast, and Young Masters had two of their new barrel-aged, flavored, imperial stouts. These are the kind of high-concept, expensive beers that make true beer geeks salivate. The price? A whopping 3 tokens (approx $6.40USD) for a small taster. For juxtaposition, I bought a full bottle of Young Masters’ Barrel-Aged Raspberry Stout the previous day at HK Brewcraft for 50 HKD (the exact price of 3 tokens). Here at Beertopia — after paying good money to attend — you still had to pay the price of a full bottle just to get a small taste.

These prices left me wondering: Who is this craft beer fest for?

Charging entry fees and also sharply raising the price of beer way beyond its market price is not a way to ingratiate beer geeks or attract new fans. It’s a way of fleecing super rich Hong Kong locals and tourists.

But if that’s true, then the festival is just a money thing. That’s a sad thought and I hope I’m wrong about it. But I believe that a craft beer festival ought to strike a balance between satisfying hardcore beer geeks and providing both an education and ample opportunity for non-craft beer fans to try lots of new beer, hopefully winning them over in the eternal battle against industrial lagers.

 

Homebrewers and Beer Geeks. They weren’t selling anything that I could see… they’re just there for the love of the craft.

Another victim in all this: the small, independent breweries. If you were representing a brewery with a small marketing budget at Beertopia, good luck! I don’t know how you’d get anyone to pay those prices to take a chance on one of your plainly marketed beers. I imagine it was hard going for some; but that’s just speculation.

Tips to help you hack next year’s Beertopia

For those now weary of attending next year, please read on! I have tons of positive stuff to say. Plus, here’s some quick tips for saving money:

  1. Pack some snacks or lunch. It’s probably frowned upon, but no one checked our bags on the way in. So pack some snacks because the food is at least as expensive as the beer, and the lines were longer.
  2. Don’t underestimate the expense of tokens. Work out the per token price before you start drinking!
  3. Before you start spending tokens, shop around. Some booths charged way too much (5-20 tokens per beer), but others had more sensible prices. I spent a lot of time at Yeastie Boys and Pirate’s Life (2 and 3 tokens per beer, respectively). There were also some good imports where 3-4 tokens got you a tall-boy can.
  4. Remember where you are. You’re on Hong Kong Island next to the Star Ferry. There’s tons of restaurants and craft beer locations all around you. If you’re new to Hong Kong, do your homework. Sure, it sucks to leave a festival you paid money to attend, but you can save money in the long run by eating dinner outside the festival and grabbing some drinks before and/or after you check out the fest.
  5. Save your leftovers. My leftover tokens from Friday worked on Saturday. I don’t know if they were supposed to, but it was a nice surprise! Also, if you have leftover tokens on Saturday, buy some cans or bottles that can easily be packed in a bag. You can drink them another day or pack them in your luggage to take home.
One last tall-boy for the road!

Now let’s set aside the negative criticism and focus on the good! At the end of the day, it was still a big craft beer festival and there was lots to like!

Lots of great beer

TL;DR: Lots of great beer!

Beertopia advertised over 500 beer, but that’s not really the main point. No one is going to taste 500 beer, even if they’re free.

The real burning beer geek questions are: Were there lots of local beer? Were there a lot of different styles? Could I find something that excites me as a beer geek.

The answers are “yes, yes, and yes!”

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There were lots of exciting beers. Aside from the “Beer Geek Area,” I had a blackberry sour, Earl Gray IPA, numerous double IPAs, a New England IPA, a hefeweizen flavored with Chinese peppercorns, Founder’s legendary KBS flavored and barrel-aged stout, and many more!

There was a great representation of Hong Kong beers, some mainland Chinese beers, and even a few Korean beers that I know (shout out to Gorilla and Magpie!). And CraftBeerAsia’s friends from the Philippines, Pasteur Street Brewing. (Edit: Sorry, I meant that Pasteur Street Brewing is in Vietnam. That’s to readers for catching that.) Singapore was represented with Brewlander. There were imports from America, Australia, the UK, Belgium, and lots of other places. I would have tasted more… I just couldn’t afford the research.

Breathing room and seating

TL;DR: Surprising amount of space and short queues.

Probably the most unexpected surprise was how much space there was. Hong Kong rent is perhaps the world’s most expensive and I’m sure that renting the festival grounds was incredibly expensive. Therefore, I expected a mass of people packed into a tiny area. That’s exactly how the Seoul festivals work. Plus, I saw it advertised on the Beertopia website that 2016’s event had an overall attendance over more than 14,000. But I thought there was loads of space and seating.

Fair warning: I didn’t stay late either night. On Friday I quickly lost my appetite for spending money and left at 8:30pm. But up until then, besides a few of the more popular food trucks, I didn’t see any long queues. Even the ticket stalls at the entrance had quick lines.

I had a much better time on Saturday afternoon. I still left early, leaving with friends for some food and more drinks in the Mid Levels around 6pm, but I left satisfied.

I highly recommend that my fellow beer geeks go early to taste some adventurous brews, mingle and take pics in the daylight, then leave the fest to explore downtown Hong Kong in the early evening for cheaper session drinking and food.

Music

TL;DR: Great Celtic music on Saturday afternoon!

To be blunt, I wasn’t impressed with the music on Friday, though I’ll admit to being in a sour mood over the price of tokens.

Around 7pm a band kept trying to get the few people sitting in front of the stage to sing along to their cover songs. Sadly, the band didn’t realize that this wasn’t one of their concerts and the people here hadn’t paid to see them (or music in general). It was a craft beer festival; people paid to drink beer. But the frontman just wouldn’t give it up, putting his band and himself into one awkward, cringe-worthy situation after another.

At this point my mood had darkened and I became resentful of the band. I thought, if the price of these tokens are even a little bit higher because of the expense of booking live music, then BEGONE! Let me drink in silence…

However, on Saturday afternoon I  made use of the picnic tables. While my friends and I chatted and laughed easily at the tables, sipping each other’s beers, a few Celtic-ish cover bands played in succession: and I just LOVED it!

People started to get up, a few  even breaking out into dancing and singing; and everyone cheered and hollered encouragement for the band. One band, I believe it was The Privateers, played the song Barrett’s Privateers — a Canadian folk ballad that privately confirmed to me that someone in the band had to be from my stompin’ grounds of Atlantic Canada.

My Friday evening’s dismay at the imagined music expenses had come full circle as I gave the band a standing ovation. And I wasn’t the only one.

Drop-dead gorgeous skylines

TL;DR: You’re in the middle of Hong Kong. Enjoy it!

Hong Kong is on the shortlist for greatest city on Earth, but one pitfall is its annoying habit of having a huge building (usually a shopping mall) blocking your path. Google Maps showed me a straight-forward path around the block from Central station to the harbor front, where the festival was taking place; but in reality downtown Hong Kong always has a building or an overpass blocking foot-traffic. You have to way routes in the catwalks and through the buildings, which can seem like navigating a labyrinth to a newcomer.

I stubbornly tried to go around traffic in the wrong direction, lost about 6-7min of walking around a big building, and had to backtrack the whole way. When I finally reached the festival grounds I was told that I was behind the main entrance (I approached from Central Station, south of the harbour front). So I had to walk around the perimeter of the festival grounds before reaching the main entrance.

However frustrating this proved, I was awestruck once just outside the festival ground. From the north shore of Hong Kong Island, you get a beautiful across-the-bay view of Kowloon’s skyline, complete with the red-sailed junk boat. Yet you’re also standing in the shadow of the island’s skyline, one of the most iconic in the world, with its mountain peaks visible in corridors framed by majestic skyscrapers. It was stunning and impossible to capture on a smartphone’s camera.

Pulling it all together

TL;DR: The price is high but to many it will still be worth the visit.

Beertopia certainly lived up to its reputation as Asia’s biggest craft beer festival. However, I can’t say it’s Asia’s best. I only have (a great many) Korean beer festivals to compare it to — as well as my own ideal conception of a craft beer festival — and Beertopia falls short in a few key areas. The main shortfall is expense. The second related shortfall is the token system.

However, there are a ton of things that help redeem Beertopia.

The location is just beautiful and, despite a minor inconvenience in walking there, it’s smack-dab in the middle of downtown Hong Kong — one of the most beautiful skylines in the world.

The selection of beer is fantastic for anyone who can afford it.

The amount of space and the lack of long lines made it a dream compared to many of the beer festivals I’ve been to in Seoul.

And the location is super convenient to anyone hanging around Central, walking up to the mid-levels, or catching the Star Ferry across to Kowloon. Because of this, Beertopia is simply one key piece to a whole weekend of drinks, fun, and food in a truly world-class city.

Just bring a fat wallet.

Myanmar Joins the Craft Beer Revolution

by Luke Corbin

While the rest of mainland Southeast Asia has seen a steady increase in craft beer over the last decade, one country has missed out. It’s fair to say that options for locally produced, fresh craft beer brewed in styles other than the standard rice lagers and pilsners have been lacking in Myanmar – for a combination of cultural, logistical, religious and political reasons. But finally, as of January 20, 2017, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar decided to issue a new brewing license, allowing the country its very first microbrewery.

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Enjoying a Glass of Craft Beer at Burbrit Brewery

The Burbrit brewery is nestled in northwest Yangon beside the Pazundaung Creek, in an industrial zone replete with charming traditional Myanmar culture. As you while your way through the alleys from the Parami Rd bridge towards the brewery you will see teenagers playing chinlone, the traditional sport, beside sheds where workers carve teak chairs by hand.

Now the fish processors, carpenters, car-washers and other workers of the area have the option of being treated to an India Pale Ale over lunch, instead of the standard Myanmar macrobeers that dominate the beerosphere here.

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Writer, Luke (Right), Enjoying Burbrit Craft Beer with one of the Co-Founders

The venue is gorgeous, with large riverfront views, mostly unspoiled by construction (a rare thing in contemporary Yangon). There is substantial outdoor seating and indoor seating for fifty to sixty people. Local artists have painted a number of craft beer-inspired murals in “street art” style, lending the industrial vibe an extra layer of cool. There are even flat screen televisions for those who want to stay inside with the air-conditioning and watch some sport.

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Burbrit Brewery Enjoys a Gorgeous Riverfront View in Yangon

Burbrit currently brews three beers. They include a German-style wheat beer, known simply as the “Weissbier” a darker-than-normal coloured Pilsner with a unique recipe, known as the “Rangoon Blonde”, and an American India Pale Ale, the “Burma Pale Ale”.
The Weissbier is best drink fresh, with lingering Bavarian banana yeast esters melding with a light chewy mouthfeel. The Rangoon Blonde is a slowly-fermented lager that is then flash-served without an extended maturation, giving a slightly fusel character to its light-caramel malt notes; truly a unique beer, and the brewery’s most popular. The third offering, the “Burma Pale Ale”, is very much a standard American IPA, a touch murky, with New World citrus hop character and a strong crystal malt character.

The brewery currently employs a 500L Braumeister brewing system, air-freighted from Germany, and has the capacity to ferment 1500L simultaneously. In good news for beer fans, the owners have already committed to expanding their equipment, with an expected quadrupling of fermentation capacity expected by late April 2017. All their brewing takes place on-site behind the tap-room and the stainless steel bling is on full display – if you come on a brew day, you can watch the entire process through the generous glass windows. The ingredients are all sourced from Germany.

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Brewing Craft Beer at Burbrit Brewery in Myanmar

The two co-founders of Burbrit are committed to fostering craft beer appreciation in Myanmar and are very much aware of the responsibility on their shoulders as the first microbrewery in the country. They brew according to the Reinheitsgebot and plan to distribute their beer on draught to select venues across the city. At present they are holding back from bottling until they are confident that their beer is being brewed consistently and the market is ready.

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The Two Co-Founders of Burbrit Brewery

January 2017 will go down in history for beer fans in Myanmar as the month we finally saw light at the end of the tunnel of sickly sweet tropical stout and flavourless fizzy adjunct lagers. Exciting times are ahead for beer in Burma!

The Burbrit brewery’s address is No. D16, North Dagon Industrial Zone, 34 Quarter Extension, Yangon 11111. Taxis may have difficulty finding it – but it’s only a few hundred metres from the well-known bakery Bo Bo Min on U Wisara Rd, which most taxi drivers will know. There is also signage directing you to the brewery from the entrance of U Wisara Rd.

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The Burbrit Brewery Staff

**Luke Corbin is a PhD Candidate at the School of Culture, History and Languages, College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University.  His research focuses on beer culture and history in Southeast Asia and he is based in Yangon, Myanmar.

Happy new Beer 2017

Article Submitted by Jonathan Gharbi from BeerVN

It was great to see FurbrewBarret Craft Brewery and 7 Bridges Brewery open in Hanoi while East West Brewing Co, BiaCraft, Pasteur Street Brewing, Platinum, and Lac Brewing opened in Ho Chi Minh City before new years eve 2016.

barret-craft-brewery.jpgBarret Craft Brewery has a new and modern beer system (photo by Barret craft brewery)

Is there only newcomers in Vietnam?

Yes, this is the place to be for entrepreneurs and adventureus brewers. The market is booming and changing rapidly.  Platinum and Pasteur Street Brewing started in 2015 and are now the old ones. Germans with their 500-year-old-breweries will off course disagree with the term old. There are many new tap rooms and craft beers in Ho Chi Minh City while its moving a bit slower in Hanoi. The next thing to happen is to see a craft brewery open up somewhere between theese two cities. Maybe Mui Ne with lots of beer places and already has one of Hoa Viens microbreweries or Da Nang / Hoi An which is a popular tourist destination for both domestic and international tourism. There are also new beer importers and breweries such as Bach Brewing from New Zealand are selling their craft beer in Vietnam.

east-west-brewing-co.jpg                                    Picture by East West Brewing Co. from January 2017

Furbrew in Hanoi

There are a few big breweries in Ho Chi Minh City and many craft beers to sample. Which brewery will be the most exciting one in Hanoi during 2017 is the question. Maybe this one?

furbrew.jpgFurbrew will make 25-40 beers in 2017 (picture by Furbrew)

Furbrew made about 25 different beers in 2016 and are planning to make 25-40 different beers in 2017. With Danish Brewer Thomas Bilgram behind the brew kettel, we can be surethat there will be both experiments and good continuity for the more frequent beers they offer.

The Hanoi Beer Critic

How can i get a grip on all new beers? Well read the latest beer reviews and follow George Schiefer and his beer reviews at Hanoi Beer Critic to get inspiration what to order next. Detailed check-ins with pictures and thoughts from each beer.

Contributors Wanted…

Are you a Craft Beer drinker in Asia with a skill for writing? We are looking at bringing on contributors from Asian countries to keep our content up to date. Please email us at cheers@craftbeerasia.com and let us know that you are interested and a little about you. Aside from bragging rights of being a craftbeerasia.com contributor, you will also be eligible for revenue sharing as we implement some revenue generating attributes in the future. We are looking for writers/drinkers from Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Vietnam, Nepal, India, Middle East, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Korea, Japan, Cambodia, Myanmar and/or other nations in the Asian Craft Beer World.

You’ll have access to this site to add stories and update the directory of your country plus our Facebook page to post events and other relative information.

Cheers!

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What’s Your Craft Beer Asia?

 

The Booth Part II: “The Best Decision We Made, Ever.” An Interview With Head Brewer Chris Shelton

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Co-founder Sunghoo Yang and Head Brewer Chris Shelton at The Booth Brewery in Pangyo

I was in line outside The Booth Brewery in Pangyo this past January, waiting for their relaunch event to begin. I had already interviewed Sunghoo Yang, the co-founder of The Booth, and was dictating some notes in private when I realized that a sizable line-up had materialized out of nowhere. To make matters worse, I had left my winter jacket, gloves, and hat inside the bar and now had to wait in the cold before I could try The Booth’s new line-up of beers, brewed by their new Head Brewer Chris Shelton.

Continue reading “The Booth Part II: “The Best Decision We Made, Ever.” An Interview With Head Brewer Chris Shelton”

The Booth Part I: A Friendly Neighborhood Haven – Interview with Co-foudner Sunghoo Yang About The Booth’s Past and Future

 

The Booth has been a major presence in the Korean craft beer scene since it first appeared in the spring of 2013. With 5,000KRW glasses of Bill’s Pale Ale and 4,000KRW slices of Monster Pizza, it was perhaps the cheapest place in the city for good food and beer. Today, pizza paired with craft beer is about as unique as peanut butter and jelly, but The Booth started it all. Since then, The Booth has continued to be, perhaps, the most original craft beer company in Asia thanks to their ability to innovative and connect.

Continue reading “The Booth Part I: A Friendly Neighborhood Haven – Interview with Co-foudner Sunghoo Yang About The Booth’s Past and Future”

Indian Strong Lagers – Videos

TaLeS Of FrOtH

Exploring Indian Entry Level Strong Lagers

In December 2015, we shot a series of short Beer videos at Sherlock’s Pub, Frazer Town. The first video was released on March 16th, 2016 – editing is no easy task!

Kudos to the hard working video team that slaved away mercilessly to produce these videos.

What’s the big deal?

87% of the Beers consumed in India are entry level Strong Lagers but how many of us have really deconstructed these Beers and analyzed them to a level of scrutiny normally applied to Imports, Craft and Specialty Beers?

Two of my fellow Beer enthusiasts and I got together for fun to see what we would discover putting these lagers to the test and at the same time sharing a few tips about Beers in general for everyone to enjoy.

Beers Reviewed:

  • KF Strong
  • Haywards 5000 Bold
  • Tuborg Strong

Where do I find the…

View original post 38 more words

Celtic Pride, Boston Style: St. Paddy’s Day Weekend at Maloney’s

I recently asked Maloney’s Pub & Grill owner, and Maloney’s Brewing Co. owner, Brendan Maloney about his pub’s upcoming St. Paddy’s Day plans. (Pics courtesy of Brendan Maloney) 

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What will the St. Paddy’s Day atmosphere be like at your pub?

The atmosphere is pretty lively with people, Irish or not, getting wasted on green beer and whiskey with some live Irish tunes. The festivities start on the 17th and will go on until Saturday the 19th. Live music by Mimi Roh, Earl Noble and Jordan Stewart.

Continue reading “Celtic Pride, Boston Style: St. Paddy’s Day Weekend at Maloney’s”

Gorilla Brewing Co Q&A on the Eve of Their Tap Takeover of Seoul

Gorilla Brewing Co. is a brand new brewpub located in Busan’s hip new craft beer mecca near Gwangalli Beach. They are being hosted this week in Seoul at Pong Dang (Thursday, March 3rd) and Hop Mori (Saturday, March 5th).

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All photos courtesy of Gorilla Brewing Co.

1) Who is Gorilla Brewing Co? How did it start?

The Gorilla Brewing Co project started in early 2015 when beer enthusiasts and friends (from Korea, Britain, Ireland, etc.) set out to take their passion for craft beer to the next level. The team was built, and Gorilla Brewing Co soon materialized. One of our members, Calum Bennett, is the head brewer from Crate Brewery in London. We are all very excited about what the future holds.

Continue reading “Gorilla Brewing Co Q&A on the Eve of Their Tap Takeover of Seoul”

Anne’s Adventure at Brewfest MNL 2016

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.

Brewfest MNL allowed Manila Craft Beer Fans to enjoy local and imported craft beer.
Brewfest MNL (Manila, Philippines) showcased several local craft breweries including Pedro Brewcrafters pictured above.

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.”

Craft Beer in The Philippines Turning Wheels Cebu
Michael Nikkel from Cebu’s Turning Wheels Craft Brewery. Craft Beer from Cebu.

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!

Craft Beer advocate and Juan Brew Marketing Director, Chi.
Chi from Juan Brew, the solar powered craft brewery in The Philippines. Craft Beer Asia salutes you.

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!

Bier Ranger - Mascot of Filipino Craft Beer
The Bier Ranger can be found wherever Craft Beer is showcased in Metro Manila. The Mascot of Filipino Craft Beer.

 

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!” 🍻

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