David vs. Goliath: A Face-Off Between Katipunan Craft Ales and San Miguel BeerDecember 29, 2018
- Nico GocoWords
Drinking beer in the Philippines is practically a national past time. Some of us only drink occasionally, others indulge every Friday, and we all have that one friend who will use any excuse to consume his weight in beer at least a couple of times a week.
Our choices, though, have been limited. While there are a number of both local and international brands available, San Miguel still dominates the market. It leaves us with little variety when it comes to taste and style.
To fill this void in the local beer market, a counter-culture movement of home and craft brewers has been steadily growing, successfully making their own beers to suit just about anyone’s unique preferences. They can be found all over the country, providing their fellow enthusiasts with different styles and flavors of beer. In Manila, one such craft beer brewer has taken the next step, introducing their beer to the local commercial market.
Meet Katipunan Craft Ales. Formed by a group of friends who are passionate about beer, the brewery is trying to ferment a revolution to challenge our perceptions on what beer should be.
Even though they’ve only been commercially brewing for a couple of years, they have found much goodwill and success among the drinking circles of Manila, as well as the rest of the country. They make a few different brews, but it is their flagship product that best embodies their brewing philosophy: ale that represents the revolutionary spirit of the Filipino.
Today we pit this rebel against a symbol of our Spanish conquerors, San Miguel Beer. Will it be a worthy face-off? Find out below.
As we’ve established before, beer holds a special place in my heart. It’s easy to see why I was so excited to give this brew a try.
Katipunan Craft’s signature brew is called the Indio Pale Ale, a nod to the India Pale Ale. It is a classic type of ale that is distinguished by a distinct hoppy, or bitter taste.
Pouring the beer into a glass shows a deep golden, almost brown, color. You can immediately smell its fruity and faintly hoppy aroma. You’ll also see a few particles floating around, but this is perfectly safe and normal. They’re just leftover products from the fermentation.
The taste is very hoppy. It’s far more bitter than what the local large breweries offer, but it is not an unpleasant kind of bitterness. In fact, it helps to better round out the flavor of the beer. You can also taste tangy, fruity notes with some slight malty sweetness.
This is a beer that goes well with food. I had a burger and fries with it, and the food made the drinking experience all the more enjoyable. The flavors balance well, and the fruity notes became much more distinct.
It’s a different enough experience that you’ll be curious and eager to try it again.
We pitted the Indio Pale Ale against San Miguel’s Super Dry, a beer that boasts a character all its own.
So, will Katipunan Craft Ales ever knock San Miguel Beer from its throne? Probably not. Indio Pale Ale is priced at PHP 150 (that’s straight from the source, it’d be more expensive from resellers). That’s more than thrice the cost of the most expensive brew that San Miguel offers.
While it’ll never reach the financial success of SMB, Katipunan Craft Ales has already succeeded in sparking the revolution it initially sought. Yes, indeed. They’ve helped change how many Filipinos think and feel about beer. Nowadays, more and more people no longer see beer as something you simply gulp down, making them actually take the time to savor and appreciate the flavor of the beer.
The difference in flavor between a well-made craft beer and something you bought from 7/11 is night and day. Drinking one after the other only makes it easier to taste the blandness in most big-name beers.
For this face-off, Indio Pale Ale has the upper hand when it comes to being full-flavored and well-balanced. Though we don”t see it toppling San Miguel as a regularly consumed beer, the ale is an excellent choice if you”re looking for a great tasting beer, one that would go well with a nice meal.
The Indio Pale Ale is a great drink, one that demands your attention. It is, perhaps, what makes it all the more different from your usual bottle.
Have you tried the Indio Pale Ale or other craft beers? Have you tried brewing your own beer at home? Let us know in the comments!