Top 5 Must-Try Filipino Craft Beers

Friday, September 15, 2023

     Throughout the Philippines, the beer scene is changing. The nation, famously known for its selection of traditional beers, has begun to make a name for itself in craft beers. More and more brewers are taking their unique spin on beer, infusing local ingredients and embodying Filipino culture into their brews.

Top 5 Must-Try Filipino Craft Beers
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Exploring the Filipino Craft Beer Scene

     Interestingly, while many continue to buy scotch whisky online in the Philippines, there's an equally compelling narrative emerging in the country's beverage landscape: the rise of craft beer. This explosion of local breweries is not merely a trend; it's a testament to the adventurous and innovative Filipino spirit.

     But what drives the rapid growth of the craft beer scene in the Philippines? Let's dive deeper into the fascinating world of Filipino craft beer and uncover the secrets behind its rise to prominence.

The Rise of Craft Beer in the Philippines

     In the past few years, the craft beer scene in the Philippines has blossomed. Small breweries have pushed their way through a market previously dominated by giant beer makers, creating a variety of beers that genuinely reflect the Filipino taste. There’s also the rise of digital marketplaces that has fine beer selections, such as Thirst: Philippine's First Online Liquor Marketplace, a unique kind in the market.

     So, what sparked this craft beer revolution? Many brewers attribute it to a broader global trend of beer enthusiasts seeking unique and flavorful brews. However, the rise of craft beer in the Philippines is also closely tied to the evolving Filipino palate, which is constantly looking for something beyond the standard commercial beers.

     This shift in consumer preferences has opened up new opportunities for local brewers to experiment and create innovative beer recipes that cater to the unique tastes of the Filipino people. With a growing demand for craft beer, it's an exciting time in the Philippine alcoholic beverage industry.

Understanding What Makes Filipino Craft Beer Unique

     What distinguishes Filipino craft beers from their counterparts around the world? Aside from the brewer's ability to design unique flavors, the Philippines' geography plays a significant role.

     The nation's 7,641 islands house a diverse flora that brewers can capitalize on, resulting in beers that taste Filipino. With an abundance of local ingredients at their disposal, craft brewers in the Philippines can create brews infused with the essence of the archipelago.
  • Local Honey- The Philippines is home to various types of honey, each with its distinct flavor profile. Craft brewers have tapped into this resource, incorporating different kinds of honey into their recipes to add depth and complexity to their beers
  • Native Fruits- With an array of tropical fruits available, brewers can experiment with flavors not commonly found in traditional beer styles. From the tangy calamansi to the sweet and aromatic mango, these native fruits introduce a new range of flavor profiles to the craft beer scene.
  • Indigenous Herbs and Spices- These add another layer of complexity to Filipino craft beers. From the fragrant pandan leaves to the fiery kick of chili peppers, these unique ingredients bring a distinct Filipino twist to craft beer.

     As the craft beer scene in the Philippines continues to evolve, brewers constantly push the boundaries of what is possible. With their creativity and passion, they are crafting beers that not only reflect the Filipino taste but also showcase the rich and diverse culture of the country.

The Art of Filipino Craft Beer Making

     Making Filipino craft beer is a careful balance of art and science. Like any craft, delivering exceptional flavors and complex beers requires knowledge, skills, and creativity.

     Filipino craft beer is more than just a beverage; it manifests the Philippines' rich cultural heritage and diverse flavors. Each sip tells a story, a narrative of the local ingredients, brewing techniques, and the passion of the brewers.

     From the bustling city streets of Manila to the serene landscapes of the countryside, Filipino craft brewers draw inspiration from their surroundings to create beers that capture the essence of the Filipino spirit.

The Brewing Process of Filipino Craft Beers

     Brewing craft beer is a four-step process - malting, brewing, fermenting, and packaging. Yet, in these steps, brewers have the freedom to experiment and create their unique twists.

      Behind the scenes, in the heart of the breweries, dedicated artisans meticulously control the temperature, timing, and ingredients to create the perfect brew. They carefully select the malt, ensuring it provides the desired flavors and aromas, and the hops add bitterness and aroma to the beer.

      Fermentation, a critical stage in the brewing process, is where the magic happens. Filipino craft brewers go beyond the basics, introducing local elements that elevate their beers to new heights. Some brewers add local herbs during brewing, while others infuse beers with local fruits during fermentation. The limitless possibilities make craft brewing in the Philippines exciting and vibrant.

     As the beer matures, it transforms, developing complex flavors and a distinct character. The brewers carefully monitor the progress, ensuring that each batch reaches its full potential before moving on to the next stage.

Key Ingredients in Filipino Craft Beers

     Aside from the standard malted barley, hops, water, and yeast used in brewing, Filipino craft brewers often mix things with local produce.

     For instance, some craft beers use local rice variations, native wild yeasts, palm sugar, and even local fruits like mangoes, mangosteens, and passion fruits. These ingredients add a unique touch and provide an element of surprise in every sip.

     Using local ingredients not only showcases the diversity of the Philippines but also supports local farmers and communities. Craft brewers collaborate with farmers, sourcing the freshest and highest quality ingredients, creating a symbiotic relationship that strengthens the local economy.

     Moreover, the infusion of local flavors in craft beers creates a sense of pride and identity. Filipinos can celebrate their culture and heritage in a glass, sharing their unique traditions and flavors with the world.

Review of the Top 5 Filipino Craft Beers

     With the growing Filipino craft beer scene, choosing which brews to try can be a daunting task. Here's a rundown of the top 5 Filipino craft beers that are a must-try.

1. Engkanto Brewery High Hive Honey Ale

     This honey ale stands out with its golden hue and shimmering clarity. The aroma captivates with sweet notes of honey complemented by subtle floral undertones. On the palate, the malt sweetness harmoniously blends with the natural honey, resulting in a medium-bodied beer with a refreshingly smooth finish. Perfect for those who appreciate a touch of sweetness in their brews.

2. Engkanto Live It Up Lager

      A classic lager with a Filipino twist, the Live It Up Lager boasts a bright golden color. It delights with a crisp malt profile, followed by a mild hop bitterness. The finish is clean, making it a versatile drink suitable for any occasion. It’s the quintessential representation of a lager done right.

3. Monkey Eagle Summer Slice

     As the name suggests, Summer Slice is a refreshing brew perfect for warm days. Pouring a hazy pale yellow, this beer greets the senses with hints of citrus and tropical fruits.

4. Monkey Eagle Witful Thinking

     Its aroma is a delightful blend of citrus zest, coriander, and subtle spicy notes. Flavors of orange peel and a slight banana sweetness harmonize with the beer’s wheaty backbone. The finish is smooth, with a lingering spice note, making it a delightful choice for those seeking complexity in their brew.

5. Three Foxes American Pale Ale

     This APA pours a beautiful amber with an inviting frothy head. The aroma is a blend of pine, citrus, and floral hop notes, underpinned by a toasty malt character. Flavor-wise, expect a balanced play of caramel malt sweetness and hop bitterness. The finish is moderately bitter, resonating with the classic traits of an American Pale Ale.

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