Craft Beer in The Philippines, Still too Young to Predict

If Japanese craft beer is young, Philippines craft beer is still an infant. At most I could find there are maybe two or three craft breweries in existence in The Philippines. Where Japan has a number of bars in Tokyo alone serving craft beer there are only a few in Manila and zero in Cebu where we visited. Cebu was surprising because of the number of wine shops where you could get good quality French wine for reasonable prices. For the most part if you want beer in The Philippines I hope you like San Miguel (the local brand of beer primarily represented by a pilsner).

My main goal in Manila was a place called Global Beer Exchange where they serve a number of western beers on tap and have some Filipino beers in bottles. I also visited a place called Burgers and Brewskies where they had some highly satisfying burgers and one Filipino beer on tap. Both places also had some Japanese craft beer in bottles and other craft beer selections from around the world. I didn’t go inside but there was a place called Draft in Manila where they largely serve foreign craft beer selections.

The most well known brewery in The Philippines is called Katipunan. I briefly tried their IPA at Burgers and Brewskies but didn’t order a pint after that because it was pretty boring. I was surprised that it was an IPA based on the flavor. It tasted mostly like an amber and didn’t have a very strong hop flavor to it. Later my husband tried their porter at Global Beer Exchange. He thought it was good but largely forgettable compared to the porters and stouts in the US. It didn’t have the same strong coffee or chocolate flavors typically found in the US.

I got to try an extra hopped pale ale from Fat Payly’s, a brewery in The Philippines. It had a similar extra strong grapefruit flavor to one I tried in Japan but much stronger. I wasn’t able to enjoy this one at all. It might be a favorite of yours though if you really do like fresh grapefruit. This is nothing like the nelson hop that is typically associated with grapefruit flavor. It was way too much for me and I reacted similarly to how my husband does when he tastes any IPA.

In general good luck finding local beer in The Philippines and if you do stay far away. I suggest either learning to like San Miguel (local mass-produced pilsner) or drinking wine or nothing at all.

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

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