Filipinos may drink the most gin in the world, but they're not simply lovers of this botanical libation. While San Miguel makes the region's most popular, easy-drinking beers, Manila's emerging craft beer market has swiftly become the talk of the town.
When it comes to craft beer, Manila is way ahead of the pack and on the level of Hong Kong and Japan as a leader of the craft beer revolution in Asia. While the country's capital alone houses over ten microbreweries already, a few smaller breweries are also popping up in the southern islands, including Cebu and Palawan.
Filipinos are going for the range, brewing everything from deep stouts and bold IPAs to tropical, fruity beers and highly alcoholic ginger beers. If you're a craft beer fanatic heading to Manila, we've got your back — here's which beers to drink and where to find them.
Katipunan Craft Ales.
WHERE TO DRINK
You're spoilt for choice with Manila's nightlife, which rivals New York City in its love of late-night partying and all-hours dining. It seems there's always a new joint popping up, and this is especially true of the budding craft bar scene. It's always a party at Big Bad Wolf, with live acts a constant accompaniment to their craft brew offering. Beers to keep an eye out for here are Summer Sessions blonde ale by Craftpoint and 'Signal No.1', a stout made by Katipunan Craft. Both are Manila-based breweries so you know the brews will be fresh as.
Another, simply called The Brewery at the Palace, serves up its own brews from gorgeous copper tanks visible from the restaurant floor. The rustic interior well matches the old-world-looking brewing equipment and the beers are as impressive as the place makes them look. They're brewing up some serious beers here, including an alcoholic ginger beer at a surprising seven percent ABV.
The Perfect Pint is your go to for an ever-changing, extensive craft beer list and fusion Filipino-Western food that goes all too well. If you're lucky enough to find Pedro's Procrastination pale ale on tap, don't pass it by. These brewers were inspired by the craft beer scene in Hong Kong and turn out some of the most impressive brews in Manila.
Out of all of the craft beer joints in the city though, Kabisera is not to be missed. They're serving up authentic Filipino pulutan, or drunk food, and craft beer in a relaxed, well-designed dining room playing some killer tunes. The menu of street food, including fish balls and kwek-kwek (deep fried quail egg) is a great drinking accompaniment, as is the sisig bangus (sizzling fish) and array of noodle dishes. Kabisera houses all of the usual craft beer suspects, along with speciality brews from the southern islands, including Cebu's Cebruery and Palaweño Brewery — Palawan's first and only craft brewery.
WHAT TO DRINK
When in Manila, keep an eye out for these locals in the craft brew scene: