By Maan D’Asis Pamaran
Photos courtesy of Lifestyle TV
It’s no secret that Filipinos love their beer. In any big gathering, there is bound to be a few bottles of ice cold Pilsen passed around to go with the fiesta fare. Those who want a little extra buzz have even found ways to add a little more kick to the cerveza, hence the ubiquitous “beergin,” which is basically a hangover in a tumbler.
Thankfully, savvier metro drinkers have now discovered something with an extra kick to it, with the growing popularity of craft beers, with Marco Viray of Joe’s Brew as one of the up-and-coming craft beer players. He recently joined screen heartthrob Piolo Pascual and actor/host Robi Domingo on a nighttime pub crawl around the Poblacion district in Makati—including a stop at Joe’s Brew—to be aired on The Crawl Poblacion, August 16 on Lifestyle TV.
Marco gives the differentiation of craft vs. commercial. He starts off by listing the four common ingredients: water, barley, hops and yeast. “The really big breweries look at bottom lines and find ways to lower costs, so they end up putting in additives and adjuncts. They may not use the freshest ingredients or use shortcuts and extracts. Craft beer, by tradition, is independent and hugely family-owned, making smaller batches using fresh ingredients with no shortcuts to the process.”
Fresh ingredients and the production that goes into craft beer make that difference in taste, because the beers are full-bodied and have more flavor. “There are commercial beers that are watered down where you don’t taste that bitterness anymore. Some people like that. But with beer, you really have to have that bitterness with it.”
The craft beer movement has grown since Marco and his siblings Joey and Mika started producing their brews at home and selling them at their mom’s food truck back in 2013. “We were one of the first two or three at the time. It was very niche, our first customers were mostly expats and foreigners or people who have lived or travelled abroad and knew what craft beer was. These were the people who introduced their friends to the concept. When restaurants and bars started ordering their beers, they moved to Poblacion and set up a Tasting Room along with their bigger brewery.” He is happy that there are more microbreweries delving into the craft. “There are more competitors coming in and the market is growing,” he describes.
When asked for his newbie recommendations at Joe’s Brew, he says it depends on what the customer is used to and what he or she is looking for in a beer. Their Fish Rider Pale Ale is medium-bodied and copper-colored with a caramel finish, which is often the preferred entry level. The Sierra Madre is a wheat pale similar to Belgian wheat beers Hoegaarden and Blue Moon. “The Soothsayer is medium, light, easy to drink with fruity notes, another beginner’s beer,” he describes. For those who want to go more hard core, there’s the 34th Pursuit IPA that’s at 6.8% alcohol content and the Sunsweeper that registers at 7.2%. To appreciate the beers better, take a “flight” so you can enjoy the full range of flavors that go into each of their brews.
The Crawl Poblacion airs August 16, 7:30 pm on Lifestyle TV (channel 52 on SkyCable). Visit lifestyletvph on Facebook for more details.
Joe’s Brew is located at 5834 Matilde Street, Poblacion, Makati. Call (02) 400-0700 or visit Joe’s Brew on Facebook.