Cheat Day Craft Beer and Food
After a relatively successful first four weeks of dieting, I’d reached my minimum goal of 15 pounds lost. I was aiming for 30, or more realistically, 20, but I was satisfied with my progress nonetheless. Fortuitously, a friend had just returned from smoggy Singapore after attending Beerfest Asia. He had a bunch of IPAs back with him, so we spent the better part of a week trying to figure out where to go for our next beer and food pairing meal. Our previous ones, at Rub Ribs and Harvest Gastropub, were quite memorable, and we were excited to look for a new venue. We had originally planned to go to Brotzeit, but we were craving a bit of heat and spice to go with our hop-oriented lineup. Thus, we ended up at Silantro Fil-Mex Cantina in Kapitolyo, Pasig.
We opened with orders of their Caliente Wings and Beef Quesadillas while waiting for our beers to chill. The wings were on the dry side, and not very spicy despite the deep red sauce they were tossed in. This was easily remedied by adding some of the house hot sauce, which was nothing short of excellent. The quesadillas were bursting with gooey cheese and topped with fries, exceeding my quesadilla standards by far. Meanwhile, I will admit that we ordered a round of San Miguel Pale Pilsen as a show of good faith to the establishment, which had generously waived corkage, if not to the craft beer goddess.
Our first craft beer was Blue Moon, an Americanized, industrialized Belgian-style witbier which has a debatable “craft” designation. If you search for this on Untappd, your first hit will be the brewery’s flagship beer, Coor’s Light. Enough said. This is more Hoegaarden white than Hitachino Nest white, but at this price, you can’t do much better. Unless of course, you go local…
Which is exactly what we did. Our next pairing was Silantro’s Dinamitas and Katipunan Craft Amarillo Anniversary India Pale Ale. Dinamitas are green finger chilis, deseeded, stuffed with cheese, rolled in wonton wrappers and fried. This version was almost totally devoid of heat, though. The Anniversary IPA turned out more East Coast Coast than West, red-amber with a solid malt backbone and a prominent bitter finish. The head seemed quite strong, which was the same observation noted by several others who have tried this. I bought another bottle and will definitely give this beer a closer look.
Silantro has some of the best tacos in Manila. I swear by their incomparably juicy and flavorful lengua (beef tongue) and oxtail, so I recommended these as well to my dinner companions. We decided to order the Lengua Ligero, b t there are also options to get two or three different meats in one taco. This was as good as the previous times I’d tried it, made even better by their cilantro-based house sauce and hot sauce. Their tacos are as delicious as they are messy, but I have no complaints. And apparently, no issues about licking off the juices that run down my fingers.
Yeasty Boys Digital IPA from New Zealand was a big surprise. It was aggressive, bold and boozy. While it claimed an A.B.V. of 7.0%, its impact on the senses was almost barleywine-like. Great stuff from the brewery that was patronized by the cast and crew of The Hobbit while filming in New Zealand. This beer definitely had all the intensity and intimidation of a Maori haka. Luckily, the taco was pretty bold as well, but the hops and the hot sauce had my tongue burning for a while.
The Macho Lucha steak was a steal at around 360 Pesos for maybe 400 or so grams. It was cooked perfectly, still tender despite using a budget cut and quality of beef. (This was flank, I think). Since the gravy was on the salty side, we chose to pair this with another traditional IPA instead of the coffee IPA (more on that later). BrewDog’s Chaos Theory IPA is a limited release that just screams BrewDog. It’s pretty similar to the regular releases, Punk and Hardcore. I’d say it’s the median between the two, with Punk’s more floral nose and Hardcore’s aggressive bitterness balanced by some strong maltiness. This was easily my favorite IPA of the night.
For dessert, we ended upmoving to Poco Deli up the road. But before that, more food of course. We had a sausage and cheese platter (we chose the bratwurst, kielbasa, frankfurter; and grana padano, manchego, gorgonzola) to partner with a couple of quadrupels, Mikkeller Monk’s Elixer and Trappistes Rochefort 10.
Mikkeller’s quad was fruity and relatively mild and more drinkable than the bold, boozy and warming Rochefort. The flavor profiles were very similar, as with other quality Abbey-style quadrupels. Rochefort is definitely the bigger, more complex beer of the two, but Mikkeller stands its ground, going down much smoother. Monk’s Elixir was a solid brew that would be worthy of the Trappist appellation.
I’ve enjoyed the classic pairing of carrot cake and IPA before, and coffee is always good with any dessert. Hence we figured that Mikkeller Koppi Tomahawk x Guji Natural Coffee IPA and carrot cake would be a no-brainer. Sadly, this was our second straight failed dessert pairing after the resounding success of wicked oreos and mocha porter. This ale had all the IPA hoppiness with an acidic, fruity coffee bean bitterness and a hint of chili flavor (not heat, but the slightly tart bite of deseeded chilis), but none of the roasted malts that would have been present in a coffee stout or porter to balance out the bitterness. Thus, this beer effectively neutralized the sweetness of the carrot cake, but the lasting hoppiness didn’t add anything else to the total experience. I’m sure this would have been a great beer to sip on its own, especially for a hophead likeme, but paired with carrot cake this definitely crashed and burned. One day, we’ll get a dessert pairing right again. It’s always very difficult when attempted with a beer one hasn’t tried before
With the lineup complete, we headed home amidst a chilly, rainy night, looking forward to our next beer and food pairing meal.