Global Beer Exchange Bottle Shop Opening

Global Beer Exchange held the soft opening for their new Bottle Shop located at the Tritan Ventures Building in Paseo de Magallanes. Since the old Tasting Room near Greenbelt closed around August last year, hopheads had been thirsting for GBEx to open a new place devoted exclusively to craft beer. While there have been “tasting corners” and “hotspots” sprouting up in restaurants and bars all over the metro, the atmosphere of the original Tasting Room was sorely missed. That is, until the opening of the new Bottle Shop last Friday, the 16th of November. The hopheads were out in full force, and the cozy four table seating area, good for around twenty, was packed, enjoying some of the best beers available in Manila. College students, businessmen, lawyers, bloggers, programmers, craft brewers, philosophy professors, chefs and professional bums were all present to show that the market for decent beer is growing in the Philippines. Beer is slowly but surely becoming a beverage that is to be seriously appreciated, yet still thoroughly enjoyed in the company of friends.

My first beer of the night was the limited release Ibaraki IPA. Ibaraki is the region in Japan where Kiuchi Brewery produces the now-ubiquitous Hitachino Nest White Ale (currently available in the top Metro Manila Japanese restaurants). Kiuchi has a program for contract brewing wherein anyone can use the company’s facilities to formulate their own recipe and brew their own beer. Thus, the first Global Beer Exchange x Hitachino collaboration produced this traditional India Pale Ale. At 60 IBUs (International Bitterness Units) this is a classic IPA, not too aggressively hopped like many American IPAs. While the bitter finish was a bit lacking, the surprising mango notes in the nose and on the palate more than made up for it. The mango, which could probably be attributed to the combination of hops in the recipe, really gave this international collaboration a distinctly Filipino flavor. This was a beer in a style which originated in England, meant for travel to India, perfected by Americans, and brewed in Japan by a Filipino – truly a “Global Beer Exchange.”

Next, I tried another collaboration, Stone x Victory x Dogfish Head’s Saison du BUFF. This was my favorite beer of the night. As DFH’s main man Sam Calagione put it, “Goodness gracious! It’s herbaceously outrageous!” Brewed with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, this beer is great on its own – refreshing, spicy, citrusy and light. I guarantee, though, that this would be phenomenal with some light grilled fare, sitting by the beach. I think I know what beer I’m bringing along to my Cebu trip next weekend.

The last new beer I tried was the Ballast Point Indra Kunindra Curry Stout, brewed with madras curry, cayenne pepper, cumin, toasted coconut, and kaffir lime leaf. This was intense! The aroma wafted out immediately as the beer was poured, and yes, it really did smell like curry. After a while, the coconut started making itself more prominent on the nose. The taste was exactly as one would imagine – curry in a beer bottle – spicy, complex and with a nice back heat and noticeably boozy. I’d say 650ml bomber of this is best shared and paired by a group enjoying a hearty Indian lunch.

I tried to go for the all the newer releases that GBEx had with their latest shipment, while some went for their favorites, like Ballast Point Sculpin IPA and Unibroue La Fin du Monde. Many patrons also were excited to try up-and-coming Filipino craft brewery Katipunan Craft Ale’s Indio Pale Ale, which is already making big waves. The ladies went for craft vodka and Hotlips soda cocktails, while El Demonio started spiking drinks and issuing challenges with craft gin and sake. The variety available really shows that there is something for everyone at the Bottle Shop. We’ll be there pretty often, I’m sure, and hope to see new faces. Cheers!

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