Filipinos practically regard beer drinking as a pastime. It’s no surprise, as we’re spoiled by delicious brews from the likes of San Miguel Corp. and Asia Brewery. In the past few years, we’ve also seen a rise in local craft brewers. Their entrance into the market have not only expanded locals’ beer options; they’ve also broadened people’s knowledge about the drink. In this episode of 101, we visit Monkey Eagle Brewery in Tagaytay to learn how to brew beer. (And to have an excuse to have some booze in the morning.)
What is brewing?
Technically speaking, brewing is the process of controlling the interaction between grains, water, hops, and yeast to produce beer. As one of the brewmasters says in the video, “it’s really simple; it’s only actually five steps… but in reality it’s a little more complicated.”
Step 1: Milling
At Monkey Eagle Brewery, the milling of the grains starts the day before the rest of the brewing process. They use imported barley malt, which are cracked through a milling machine to help make the sugars more easily available. After the cracked grains are collected, they’re transferred into large 300-liter containers called “mash tuns,” ready for the next step.
Step 2: Mashing
Hot water is added to the malt, breaking down its starch to extract the fermentable sugars (which later feed the yeast to create the alcohol). This step produces wort, the liquid that eventually becomes beer. Next, the wort is re-circulated into the grist until the liquid runs clear—a sub-step known as “vorlauf.” Afterwards, more hot water is introduced through another sub-step called “sparging,” which draws out as much sugars from the malt.
Step 3: boiling
The boiling of the wort follows. During this step, the hops—which add bitterness, aroma, and flavor—and any other flavorings (such as fruits) are added. They’re whirl-pooled in the liquid for a couple of hours, then removed.
Step 4: fermenting
The leftover liquid is cooled, then moved into fermentation tanks while simultaneously incorporating yeast. The type of yeast differs depending on the brew. “Like the Saison,” one of the brewmaster shares, “[it] has a particular yeast that gives off that [specific] taste.” It’s left to ferment for at least two weeks. The duration it ferments, as well as the maintained temperatures you ferment it in, affects the final results of the beer.
Step 5: bottling
After fermentation, the beer is bottled and shipped for retail. Monkey Eagle Brewery uses semi-automatic bottling machines; and the labels are stuck by hand on each bottle.
Monkey Eagle Brewery has over five beers in retail. But they often experiment with new flavors, as well. (They were working on another fruity rendition when we dropped by—stay tuned!) For these creative flavors, they usually produce test batches in their 50-liter brewing machines. Once they’re happy with the recipe, it goes into regular production.
You’ll find Monkey Eagle beers at select bars and restaurants in the Metro; and you can also order online through Boozy or by sliding through their social media DM’s. Next time you’re having one of their bottles (or any other beer for that matter), savor each sip. It takes a lot of time—and math—to get those flavors right.
P.S. Shout-out to the the dogs of Monkey Eagle Brewery, who capped off our little field trip with lots of boops and belly rubs!
Monkey Eagle Brewery
A local craft brewer that designs complex beers with the island life in mind.