Happy New Beers: February 2018

Here are the new local craft beers we tasted this month.

by Philbert Dy

 

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.

 

THE PROFESSOR’S LATTE IPA

7.2% ABV, 60 IBU

Tasted at Spektral Beer Lounge

 

The brewmaster at The Professors’ is an actual professor, one with a masters in chemistry and everything. And this provenance tends to result in interesting brews with unusual flavors. The Latte IPA is exactly what it sounds like: it tastes like a latte. Or, to be more precise, it tastes like that sweetened doughnut shop coffee that we all occasionally succumb to. That familiar taste makes the beer really easy to drink, which feels kind of dangerous since it’s also 7.2% alcohol. It’s a pretty delightful beer that might help ease one into the idea that beer doesn’t have to just taste like beer.

 

THE PROFESSOR’S BERLINER WEISSE

4.5% ABV, 6 IBU

Tasted at Spektral Beer Lounge

 

A Berliner Weisse is a German style of sour beer. There aren’t too many sour styles being made here yet, but I find that it’s a style that actually works pretty well for the Philippines. There’s a substantial sour component to our cuisine, making our palates more naturally attuned to what these beers are bringing. The Professor’s first attempt at this style doesn’t bring the sour too hard, the tartness present but not overpowering. One is mostly left with its funky, farmhouse flavors, with savory notes that might remind one of the smell of recently fallen rain in the countryside. Give it a shot. And if you like this, try out the Cebruery Guimaras Gose, which has serious green mango tartness ending in a saltwater bite.

 

(L-R) The Brewery at The Palace Uli Coffee Beer, The Professor’s Berliner Weisse, Mitchell’s Backyard Belgian Wheat Ale, Illusion Brewery Saludo Negrense Pale Ale

 

THE BREWERY AT THE PALACE ULI COFFEE BEER

5.5% ABV, 24 IBU

Tasted at The Brewery at the Palace

 

This is a golden lager infused with Hineleban coffee from Mindanao. This is a beer I really wanted to like, since 25 pesos is being donated to the Hineleban foundation for every beer ordered, which brings aid to indigenous communities in Mindanao that grow the coffee. But this just isn’t a very pleasant beer. It tastes like an ashtray, in the way that coffee that’s been on a hotplate for hours tastes. It’s a flavor that might work better within the roastier flavors of a darker beer style, but in a lager there’s just no running from it. Do buy coffee from Hineleban, though. Its best qualities are not at all represented in this beer.

 

ILLUSION BREWERY SALUDO NEGRENSE PALE ALE

5.7% ABV, 56 IBU

Tasted at Spektral Beer Lounge

 

Illusion is a brewery from Bacolod, and their bottles are just starting to pop up around Metro Manila. We’ve seen all six of their beers around town, and they’re all pretty good. But my favorite is the Saludo Negrense Pale Ale, which starts with a slight hoppy bitterness before exploding into a fresh woodiness and intriguing juicy elements. The hoppier, more bitter Miser’s Dream IPA, which we found at Versus Barcade in BGC, provides more of a classic hophead kick. But for my money, this is the one to try. You can also order bottles of their stuff over at PCK, which distributes a lot of the local craft scene.

 

MITCHELL’S BACKYARD BREWERY BELGIAN WHEAT ALE

Tasted at Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza

 

Michell’s Backyard Brewery is a homebrew operation, but their stuff is occasionally available on tap and in bottles at Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza. And it’s worth seeking out. I tried the Belgian Wheat Ale in both its draft and bottled form, and they came out rather different. In the bottle, the wheat really barreled its way forward. The carbonation was minimal, and the effect was like drinking an entire loaf of herby bread. This might not sound pleasant, but it’s actually pretty satisfying, especially if you like the wheat beer style. On tap, the beer is more effervescent, and a lot more balanced. It actually feels like a drink, and while this is more pleasant overall, it’s somehow a little less interesting. Also available at Gino’s is their Citrus IPA, which uses Citra hops to create a juicy, bright, and lime-y flavored beer. Good stuff all around.