Local craft beer is booming right now. New beers and breweries seem to be popping up all over the place. In our new monthly column, Happy New Beers, we will be documenting our exploration of this exciting new scene, reviewing a handful of the latest brews we’ve tried.
Pedro Space Out Coffee Stout & Auro Chocolate Stout, The Perfect Pint Cider, Mango Triple IPA
PEDRO SPACE OUT COFFEE STOUT, AURO CHOCOLATE STOUT
Both 6.8% ABV
Bottles provided by brewer
Pedro has been collaborating with other brands to create a couple of new dark beers. They tapped Yardstick Coffee for the Space Out Coffee Stout, the beer infused with some of their cold brew coffee. The coffee first shows up as a bit of fruity acidity on the nose, which later translates into a lively bit of tartness of the tongue. But it’s still a stout through and through, with all the roasty flavors you might expect. The Auro Chocolate Stout was made specifically for a market event in BGC, and it sold out in a day. There will be another batch later in the year, and it’s going to be worth looking out for it. The nose might lead one to expect a sweeter stout, but it still comes out pretty dry. The chocolate doesn’t come right out of the gate, lingering a bit in the midpalate before really making its presence known in the finish. Both beers are lively enough that you don’t quite feel the 6.8% alcohol lurking behind those toasty flavors, making them pretty damn drinkable all through the night.
THE PERFECT PINT CIDER, MANGO TRIPLE IPA
7% ABV (Cider), 10.8% ABV, 271 IBU (Mango Triple IPA)
Tasted at The Perfect Pint, Greenbelt 2
It’s been interesting to see ciders come into fashion. The Perfect Pint’s stab at the style is fresh and tart and pretty dry. If beer isn’t your thing, ciders, with their relatively high ABVs, are a pretty decent option for making the night feel a little wobbly. Their newest beer, the Mango Triple IPA, is one of the most absurd brews I’ve seen in a while, clocking in at a rather ridiculous 271 IBU. I’ll be honest: I was ready to hate this beer. But it turned out to be one of the best beers I’ve ever tasted. It turns out that our mangoes just play really well with big hop flavors. It’s as bitter as advertised, but the mango seems to bring out different dimensions to that bitterness. Drinking this beer is like sitting in a grove of mango trees, the smell of wet grass mingling with the aroma of fruit wafting in from a slight breeze, before getting smacked in the face with a mango tree branch. It’s delicious and probably completely unsustainable as a drink. Kudos to Perfect Pint for really pushing the envelope here.
Turning Wheels Little Big Brother Saison and Big Poppa Pineapple Imperial, Elias Guyabano Hard Cider and Presko Witbier
TURNING WHEELS LITTLE BIG BROTHER SAISON, BIG POPPA PINEAPPLE IMPERIAL SAISON
6.5% ABV, 40 IBU (Little Big Brother), 10%, 60 IBU (Big Poppa)
Tasted at Spektral Beer Lounge
To many local craft beer fans, the Cebu-based brewery Turning Wheels has always been the gold standard. The latest beers to find their way to Metro Manila are a couple of saisons, a Belgian style of beer known for its zestier qualities. The Little Big Brother is a perfect example of the style: grassy on the nose, medium-light and crisp, with hints of bitter orange rind on the palate, ending with biscuity notes. The Big Poppa Pineapple Imperial Saison is a far richer brew, opening up with the scent of fresh pineapple, before developing into something herbier and jammier on the palate. There’s a lot of yeast coming through as well, the beer providing plenty of depth in its fermented flavors. These are both great beers, totally upholding the reputation of Turning Wheels as the best brewery in this country.
ELIAS GUYABANO HARD CIDER, PRESKO WITBIER
7% ABV (Cider), 5% ABV, 20 IBU (Presko)
Tasted at 13 Ubay Comfort Dining
Elias continues to do good work over in Quezon City. The Guyabano Hard Cider kind of recalls Guyabano Zesto, but all grown up. Just like the mango hard cider, it’s easy to imagine people drinking it all night, and getting surprised by just how drunk they got. The Presko Witbier is interesting because it doesn’t really play with a lot of the notes that other wheat beers often display. There’s less herb, less bread, and more sweet fruit notes and floral hop flavors on the finish. It’s a lovely beer, though people looking for the coriander and dry orange peel that usually come with a wheat beer might be disappointed.
Desert Fathers Farmhouse Ale, Mango Pale Ale, Abbey 10 Honey Tripel
DESERT FATHERS FARMHOUSE ALE, MANGO PALE ALE, ABBEY 10 HONEY TRIPEL
5% ABV (Farmhouse Ale and Mango Pale Ale), 10% ABV (Honey Tripel)
Tasted at Spektral Beer Lounge
Desert Fathers is brewing out of Cavite, and is connected to a farm. They have several fruit-infused beers, the brewery taking advantage of the produce available to them. The Mango Pale Ale is interesting because it eschews the sweet, ripe mango flavor that most people would probably expect. The mango in the beer tastes like it’s a couple of days away from being fully ripe, giving it a tart, vegetal quality. We actually talked to the brewer, and he said the mangoes he used were from late in the season, so it came out like that. And that might sound like a minus, but it actually gives the beer a unique nuance. Their Farmhouse Ale has notes of fresh hay in the scent, and it kind of tastes like having honey and saba on a cracker. The Abbey 10 Honey Tripel, at 10%, is no one’s idea of a session beer. And it really comes at you with big honey, brown sugar, caramel, spice, and banana flavors. Tripels really are strange: they deliver such friendly flavors, but they’re really there to kick your ass.