Craft beers are beers produced by small-scale independently-run breweries in the traditional or non-mechanized way. They are also called gourmet, specialty, or artisan beers and focus on the overall quality and richness of the flavor compared to mass-produced beers by larger, mainstream breweries. In recent years, the craft beer community has been brewing nicely with their products reaching various pubs, bars, and shelves. They bring new alternatives and entice the taste of many Filipinos. In this article, let’s know more about craft beer in the Philippines and why you should be chugging one of them should you visit the Philippines.
Founded in 2015, Engkanto Brewery produces fresh, flavorful craft beers made with all-natural ingredients, calling it their labor of love. Their beloved beers come in five classic styles (IPA, double IPA, lager, pale ale, and blonde ale), which all have their distinct taste and inviting aromas. Its name “Engkanto” refers to mythical environmental creatures that are believed to guard natural creation. A now-forgotten folklore, Engkanto beers tries to review the magic of these spirits in the modern generation through their delicious high-quality beers.
2. Nipa Brew
Enlivening their tagline, get ready to experience the spirit of adventure with every sip of Nipa Brew beers. Opened in 2018, the brewery offers an excellent selection of new flavors of craft beers like Drop Zone, Bliss Point, Sun Stoked, and Midnight Blur. For starters, it’s best to try their Tropical Haze with a sweet fruity taste, but not too much for it to transcend being a beer and go into a juice drink. Established by a team that considers life to revolve around exploration and discovery, you’ll definitely find something creative and exciting once you dare to taste these beers.
3. Baguio Craft Brewery
Some craft beers are worth traveling for, especially if it’s made in Baguio City, the Summer Capital of the Philippines. Their original brews are handcrafted using the local ingredients in the region sans any adjuncts, preservatives, and other additives that mainstream beer drinkers are familiar with. The results are extraordinary, delicious masterpieces that would convert any beer drinker into a craft beer drinker.
4. Crazy Carabao
Made in Laguna province, Crazy Carabao boasts a delectable array of craft beers including pale ale, golden ale, wheat beer, Indian pale ale, and pilsner. Thus, there’s one to fit any mood. One beer you shouldn’t miss is their Lapu Lapu lager, a refreshing, crisp beer that’s perfect to chug during the hot nights in the metro.
5. Bulul Brewery
Having only been started in October 2016, Bulul Brewery is considered a newcomer, but don’t count them out as they make some of the most distinctive beers in the Philippines at an affordable price. This brewery hails from San Fernando, Pampanga in the Northern part of the country, and its name “Bulul” perfectly represents its place of origin, referring to the wooden figure that’s used to protect the native Igorots’ rice crop. Some good tries include their pilsner, strong ale, and unique brews like Martial Law and Tisay.
6. Joe’s Brew
Joe’s Brew beers are one of the most popular craft beers you’d find in the city. Three siblings established the brewery in 2014 to produce straightforward, great, and delicious craft beers. Some of their beers include the Sunsweeper pale ale, a medium-bodied beer with a strong caramel malt flavor, grapefruit undertones, and an orangey aroma, the Soothsayer pale ale, a lighter and easy to drink craft beer with caramel malts and passionfruit and citrus aromas, and the Sierra Made, the one for the ladies with soft fruit and floral notes and sharp yet slight bitterness that makes the blend more exciting.
7. Katipunan Craft Ales
Katipunan Craft Ales was founded by four high school classmates who met in 1998 and established a brewery on Katipunan Avenue, the same avenue where their Alma Mater, Ateneo High School, is situated. Their craft beers include both classic beer recipes with local flavor and some seasonal masterpieces. Some of their beer variants include their flagship Indio Pale Ale, Dear Fred, Weizenburh, and 1 Porter Road. If you want to taste something different, opt for their Signal 1 Stout, a dark beer with a strong mocha latte flavor, despite not having any coffee or chocolate in its ingredients.
8. Crows Craft Ales
Staying true to the ideals of craft beers, the Crows Craft only produce limited batches to control and preserve the quality of their beers. Proud of its tagline that artisanal beers are “not for everyone,” the brewery chose to stay small and local and continue pursuing creativity, passion, and excellence by using four basic ingredients: yeast, hops, malt, and water. Their collection includes Crows Pale Ale, an entry-level beer for those who want to avoid intense bitterness, Mala Hierba (Bad Weed) which celebrate hops without going too much, and Carte Blanche, their elevated version of the Hefeweizen.
9. Monkey Eagle
Situated in Tagaytay City, Philippines, Monkey Eagle Brewery produces world-class craft beers that are meant for Filipinos, but everyone can enjoy. Their variants include Burning Mat Pale Ale, Blue Wheatch Wheat Ale, Potion 28 IPA, Saison Farmhouse Ale, and General Luna, named after one of the Filipino heroes of the Filipino-American War. Though Tagaytay City is only less than an hour and a half drive from the metro, you can luckily find their delicious craft beers in various bars in Manila.
Based in Quezon City, Alamat Craft Brew pays tribute to the traditional Philippine mythology, folklore, and cryptozoology. This can be seen in every beer they produce like Kapre Smokey IPA, which name was derived from the Philippine folklore’s tall, dark, muscular tree giant, the Bangungot Oak-Aged Stout, which name directly translates to nightmare, Bakunawa Duyog Stout, an ode to the mythical serpent-like dragon, and Balete Portal Ale, a reference to the haunted tree in the Philippines. As their catchphrase says, there are myths to tell, and these beers to share.
Indeed, the Philippine craft beer industry is vibrant with many breweries striving to provide the Filipino and the world with exciting, incredibly delicious, high-quality craft beers. The passion and creativity of these brewers radiate to every mug or bottle. What’s great is that we can expect more as innovation and enthusiasm fuel them to produce even better craft beers for the people.