A much-talked about trend among beerheads these days is “craft beer.”
But what exactly makes craft beer, well… craft beer?
And how the heck is it different from that bottle of San Mig Light you’ve got chilling in your refrigerator door next to that week-old bag of Chippy?
Before it was hipster cool, “craft beer” started out as “microbrews,” batches of beer made by smaller breweries in much smaller quantities as compared to the large-scale alcohol producers during the 1970’s.
Eventually, the term “craft beer” emerged because these brews were supposedly crafted vs. simply being manufactured (think “artisanal”, another popular trend these days), with craft brewers focusing more on producing higher-quality, better-tasting beers than what you’d find by the back wall of the nearby Mini Stop.
Small, Independent, Traditional
While there doesn’t seem to be an exact and consistent definition out there for what makes a “real” craft beer, the common understanding is that a craft brew is produced and distributed by small (in terms of volume of beer produced), independent (not owned by any large corporation), and traditional (using techniques that focus on flavor vs. large-scale manufacturing) breweries.
In the US, the craft beer philosophy evolved during, and not long after, the time of Prohibition. With the small number of mega-breweries controlling the industry, it got to a point where beer began tasting bland and light, for the sake of uniformity and to reach a bigger target market (making more money!). This “beer water”, as some craft beer enthusiasts would call it, is supposedly the exact opposite of what a craft beer is.
So… Get to the point. Are they any good?
Most craft beers are all-malt brews, as opposed to commercial beers, which make use of rice and corn substitutes or additives. Going all-malt supposedly results in fuller flavors and aromas, while producing in smaller quantities allows brewmasters more creativity when it comes to experimenting with different ingredients. It also allows them to play around with alcohol content levels — ranging from 8, to 30, even 40%! Way higher than your average 5% San Mig.
Craft beers sometimes have some pretty badass names, too.
A Google search for “weird craft beers” ought to appease your curiosity. The sheer variety of craft beers out there is enough to overwhelm even the most adventurous of palates. Bacon beer, anyone? Perhaps a pint of chocolate milk beer for you, good sir?
(There’s even been a craft beer brewed with yeast grown in the brewmaster’s beard. Yes, human beard beer. Creativity is one thing, but… damn son.)
“So guys who don’t drink wine still get to be pretentious”
Of course, the craft beer movement isn’t without its own fair share of haters. Some even go so far as to say that craft beers exist as a marketing gimmick, so that beer drinkers still get to be pretentious and call their local watering holes fancy names like “brewpubs.”
Any kind of food or beverage trend, especially one as strange as this one, is sure to draw both raves and rants. Set aside all the articles, reviews, and foodie gossip going around, and the only thing left to do really, is to grab a bottle and see for yourself.
Enough talk. Can I Haz Beer Plz??
Whether you’re a hardcore beer connoisseur, or a casual beer-drinker just looking for something new to try next Friday night, this craft beer trend ought to be worth a try. A number of restaurants and bars in Metro Manila have begun keeping craft beer on tap and in their refs, catering to the growing number of craft beer enthusiasts out there.
Here are a few of places where you can get yo craft beer drank on!
Global Beer Exchange (Makati) – What better place is there to open a craftbeer pub than Metro Manila’s business hub a.k.a. where all the overworked and badly-in-need-of-a-beer people usually are. With dozens of craft beers to choose from, one reviewer described this place as “the Taj Mahal and Mecca” of the craft beer craze, and the “Theater of Beers.”
The Black Pig (Alabang) – Their menu mostly revolves around their selection of Black Iberico Pig dishes but one more thing they’re getting known for is their selection of Holgate craft beers, straight from the land down under, Australia. The place is a bit upscale in terms of prices, but if you’ve got the cash to burn, it’s worth checking out when you’re like, making biyahe down south, y’know.
B&B Burgers and Brewskies (The Fort, Taguig) – As the name implies, they serve burgers and beers (duh!). You won’t find any sisig or SanMig at this place, the restaurant serves only imported craft beers from a number of breweries. If you had any doubt as to how serious they are about their beers, take a look at their beer bottle chandelier. Yup, a beer bottle chandelier.