Unboxing Craftpoint’s Beer Explorer
Craftpoint Brewing Company’s Beer Explorer Club is a monthly craft beer subscription — the first of its kind in the Philippines. It takes a two-pronged approach by attracting both craft beer newbies with an adventurous side and enthusiasts who want something new amidst the growing number of locally crafted pale ales, wheat beers and even IPAs in the country.
Members can choose between three- or six-month packages, either for pickup or delivered to any point with Metro Manila. Payment is also flexible, via Paypal, bank deposit or cash-on-delivery. Each month, club members get a six-pack of beer which includes three bottles of the mystery beer of the month – a unique, freshly brewed ale released only for the first time, and an assortment of three of Craftpoint’s regular releases (Summer Sessions blonde, Summer Passion passion fruit ale, Liberation pale ale, Revolution Belgian IPA, or Hopnosis IPA. If you’re lucky, you will get Hopnosis every month). You also get a Beer Explorer sticker to proudly proclaim that you have gone where no other craft beer aficionado has gone before. Six month subscribers get a free dry-fit shirt as well!
The first month came with a Craft Beer Primer to guide neophyte drinkers in enjoying their box of goodies. It is well-researched and well-written in a casual, friendly and accessible style. And no, I did not write that for them, though I wish I could have done half as good a job as they did with their primer.
What I did contribute to, however, was the flavor text (to use a Magic: the Gathering term), on well, flavor. Each month’s box also comes with write-ups on tasting and experiencing the brew of the month (generally written by yours truly), on the history and intricacies of the chosen beer style (by Concon San Antonio) and on beer and food pairing (by the Beerman, Francis Panuncialman). Perhaps more interestingly, Craftpoint has also engaged the services of legendary Filipino comic book creator Pol Medina Junior to come up with a monthly strip, in which he gave the three founders of the brewery Pugad Baboy-style comic renditions (Marvin seems to have drawn the shortest straw).
Launching the subscription in January was The People’s Champ – a champorado milk stout brewed with Malagos cacao shells from Davao and lactose. It’s one of the best chocolate beers I’ve tried – definitely up there with the decadently rich Southern Tier imperial stouts. I can only wish that they will brew this beer again, and more regularly at that.
February’s beer was Love and Lust, a vanilla and chili brown ale. For the month of hearts, it was only fitting as well that the A.B.V. for this seductive beauty was 6.9%. Craftpoint used imported organic vanilla and the chilis were dried Dumang labuyo, a community livelihood project from Typhoon Pablo-stricken Cateel in Davao Oriental. I’ve tried a number of chili beers, from both local and foreign craft brewers, but none of them thought of the idea of marrying the chili with vanilla bean. This was a resounding success, to say the least. My wife loved it, and she pretty much took over the month’s supply.
I purposely did not go in depth as to my reviews because I had written more substantial tasting notes for these beers to accompany the subscription, but I will go so far as to say that the final product was in both cases, even better than the numerous test batches.
I am candidly disclosing that I not only wrote about the beers for the Club, but I also participated actively in the research and development process along with my two other fellow writer-bloggers. I signed a non-disclosure agreement, but I think I can let out vaguely that this March’s beer is of the fruity variety. I hope to see more people subscribe over the next months! It’s definitely not too late to join the Beer Explorer Club!