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.
MITCHELL’S BACKYARD BREWERY HONEY WHEAT ALE, HOPTOBERFEST
4.5% ABV (Honey Wheat), 5% ABV (Hoptoberfest)
Tasted at Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza
Everyone has different palates, so it’s always a little difficult to recommend a first beer to someone interested in getting into craft. But Mitchell’s Honey Wheat Ale might just be the best starter craft beer for just about anyone. At 4.5% ABV, it eases you into a pretty long drinking session, and the honey notes provide a familiar context to explore the beer’s funkier dimensions. And it does get funky, with a slight meaty bitterness in the midpalate, developing into a long, sourdough bread finish. It goes well with food, particularly cheese, and that’s fortunate since it’s mainly available in Gino’s. If you like that, try out their Hoptoberfest as well, an amber lager with toasted malt notes and caramel. It’s pretty good, too, though we do have a clear preference for the Honey Wheat.
ELIAS WICKED ALES AND SPIRITS MANGO HARD CIDER, PILYO IPA
7% ABV (Cider), 7.5% ABV, 60 IBU (IPA)
Tasted at 13 Ubay St. Comfort Dining
Elias is a new brewery operating out of 13 Ubay St. Comfort Dining in Sta. Mesa Heights. Right now, they’re pouring just two drinks: a hard cider made from mangoes, and an IPA. The Mango Hard Cider is the sort of thing that will get people really drunk. It’s a tart, fairly refreshing beverage that people might forget is 7% alcohol. The IPA is as classic as it gets, with an enticing copper color, funky hop aromas, and steely bitter notes that build into a savory finish. This is a brewery to watch. Hopefully they’ll be getting kegs out to other locations soon.
PERFECT PINT RED ALERT CITRUS ALE, NECTAR OF THE GODS SAISON, LEGALLY BLONDE ALE, OAKEY DOKEY PORTER, COCO LOCO PORTER
5.1% ABV, 59 IBU (Citrus Ale), 5.4% ABV, 33 IBU (Saison) 5.2%ABV, 20 IBU (Blonde), 5% ABV, 44 IBU (Oakey Dokey), 6.8% ABV, 42 IBU (Coco Loco)
Tasted at The Perfect Pint Greenbelt 2
The Perfect Pint has been around for a while now, and they just keep turning out beers. Not everything we tried out is new, but they’re all worth writing about. The Red Alert Citrus Ale starts earthy, and finishes with a pretty distinct grapefruit tang. The Nectar of the Gods Saison is a farmhouse ale infused with hibiscus. To be honest, the floral dimension kind of reminds me of hand soap, but it can be lovely all the same. The Legally Blonde is something you can drink all night, with crisp apple notes with a long cracker finish. The Oakey Dokey Porter ages in a bourbon barrel, and the wood does show up, intermingling with the typical chocolate and coffee notes of a porter. The Coco Loco Porter is genuinely one of my favorite local craft beers. Toasted coconut shows up on both the nose and the palate, adding further depth to the already caramelized flavors of a porter. Dark beers aren’t for everyone, but this is as good a way to get into them that I can think of.
THE BREWERY AT THE PALACE SMOKEY OAKEY ALE
Tasted at Draft Gastropub Greenbelt 2
So this one is matured in peated whiskey barrels, and the peat smoke does show up. On the nose, you do get some of that bacon-y, iodine-y funk that you typically get from an Islay whiskey. On the taste, you get some wood tannins adding a camphor-y bitterness the overall brew. I’m not sure this is actually what people want to get in a beer, but it’s definitely not boring. If you’re a fan of peated whiskeys, this is definitely one to try.
MUNTING ILOG TALIPANDAS NEW ENGLAND MANGO IPA
5.5% ABV, 79 IBU
Tasted at Spektral Beer Lounge
So here’s the thing: so far, my experience with this beer has been inconsistent. It appears to be one that needs to be consumed as fresh as possible, with older kegs losing a lot of what makes this beer spectacular. When it’s at its best, it tastes the perfect merging of an ester-y New England style IPA and a ripe mango shake. When it’s fresh, it has a grassy aroma that transports you to a field somewhere in the provinces, surrounded by mango trees. But its shelf life is apparently pretty short, and a lot of sparkle fades once the keg gets a week old. So if you want to try this beer, go ask Spektral when they’re tapping a new keg. Or head out to Cavite to where they brew this stuff. It’s a beer they’re still working on, and once they get the process down, one could easily see this being considered one of the single best beers in the country.