Iloilo is one of the best destination for foodies in Visayas. For most people, a trip here isn’t complete without having Ilonggo favorites like La Paz Batchoy, Pancit Molo and Lechon Manok. But if you’re a craft beer lover, Brewery Gastropub should definitely be at the top of your list of places to visit. Brewery Gastropub is the first bar and gastropub in Iloilo City that offers a wide selection of both imported and local craft beers from all over the world. They feature over 100 different varieties of bottled beer that you can choose from including 15 fresh beers in draft form.
Whenever I travel abroad, I always make it a point to try the most popular beer from other countries. I’ve been documenting the growth of the craft beer in the Philippines, but I’ve never written about the country’s mainstream or commercial brands. Mainly, it’s because I feel like all Pinoys know these beers already. I mean, beer drinking is considered a national pastime! But I realize that foreign backpackers and first-time visitors to the country may not be familiar with these beers yet, so am listing them down just for reference.
If you follow this blog, you know I have a thing for beer. I’ve been compiling all the different beers I’ve tried here in the country and during trips abroad. Each country has its own signature brew, which I look for and try whenever I travel to a new place. For me, travel and beer really go together. Nothing ends a great day of sightseeing than relaxing with a bottle of ice-cold beer and a good meal. Here are just a few of the most popular and iconic beers I’ve sampled around Southeast Asia.
I always feel like I’m in a different country whenever I go around the neighborhood of Poblacion in Makati. Barangay Poblacion in the old downtown area feels like a backpacker red light district, similar to Bangkok’s Khaosan Road or Cambodia’s Pub Street. The food choices in the neighborhood have wide international appeal, from small Korean joints to biker bars serving Indian cuisine.
Updated August 2017
A revolution is definitely brewing in the craft beer scene here in the Philippines. It seems that in the past few years, there’s been a boom in local microbreweries. According to the Philippine Craft Beer Community as of 2017, there are now 36 local breweries: 12 Craft Brewpubs and 24 Nano / Microbreweries with over 200+ Craft Beer Styles in the Philippines. (Whew. It’s getting hard to keep track of all these beers and keep this post updated!)
While guzzling down 99 bottles of beer for a self-imposed sidequest, I was glad to come across some great craft beers which are brewed right here in the country. If you’re a craft beer enthusiast or you want to try something new, here are some homegrown microbreweries and beers that you should look out for when you travel around the Philippines.
Every fan of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films dreams of going to New Zealand. In fact, the movie trilogies directed by Peter Jackson based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s novels have spurred a rise in Tolkien tourism. Many fans of the LOTR fictional universe travel to significant filming locations based on the books.
The best place you can experience Middle-Earth magic is the Hobbiton Movie Set, a sprawling farm complete with hobbit holes, gardens, bridge, mill and souvenir shops. My favorite part of Hobbiton is The Green Dragon Inn, a real pub where you can sample beers traditionally brewed in the Shire, the home of the hobbits! Continue reading
Japanese cuisine is very popular throughout the world. As an island nation surrounded by the ocean, it’s widely known for its seafood. Aside from the freshness and high quality of food, what I like the most about Japan is how beautiful everything, including their food, is presented. No matter how many elements there are in a dish, everything always looks so neat and organized. Japanese food really reflects the culture.
Thailand’s food is a feast for the senses. First you eat with your eyes, as each dish is beautifully presented. A whiff of the spicy aroma teases you again before you finally dig in. Once you start eating, every bite tantalizes the tastebuds. Thai cuisine is diverse, with influences from a lot of different countries. Its flavors are complex. Each individual element and condiment is used deliberately. It’s a delicate blend of exotic spices, flavors and textures that result in dishes that transports you to places.
Updated September 2016
There’s a new food park in the neighborhood! Merkanto, located inside 38 Autocare Car wash in UP Village, serves international street fare. I love sampling street food and eating in hawker centers when I travel to other countries. Street food is really big in other countries and it looks like the trend is catching on in the Philippines. Though there are a lot of restaurants and food parks already in the Maginhawa area, I have to say the concepts here are pretty unique. The dishes are affordable, and so far from what we’ve tried, everything tastes delicious.
Opened in April 2016, Merkanto currently has 6 food cart-type stalls serving a few street eats from Korea, Vietnam, Morocco, Indonesia, Brazil and India plus one beverage stall specializing in craft beer from the Philippines. It’s fairly new, so it doesn’t get as crowded as some of the other food parks even during weekends. However, I’m sure once word gets around, people will start to flock here as well. Below are some sample dishes per stall and the price range so you can get an idea of the offerings. Continue reading
I was really excited when I started seeing photos of Alamat Craft Brew’s beer on Instagram and the Philippine Craft Beer Community‘s page. I have a fascination for stories about Philippine mythology and think it’s really cool that brewers aim to popularize our folklore and promote local artists through beer.
Alamat Craft Brew is a limited batch craft brewery, currently working in a homebrew setup in Quezon City. The name of the brewery is inspired by the founders’ “nationalistic, yet playful, spirit.” In support of the local craft beer industry, they decided to adopt a local but very distinct name. The name Alamat is the Filipino word or legend or myth and the beers are inspired by Filipino Folklore and Mythological Characters and creatures. They currently have 3 bottled beers: Balete Pale Ale, Ansisit Session IPA and Kapre Roasted IPA (Limited Edition).