Craft Beer Is Here To Stay – Crows Craft Brewing

Like most Filipinos I love beer. I was weaned on a steady supply of San Miguel; Pale Pilsen, Cerveza Negra, Gold Eagle, Super Dry, et al. That all changed when I moved to the United States in the 80′s. I remember my first night in California. I walked to the corner liquor store to get a beer and wound up spending 15-minutes browsing the row of chillers full of beer unable to decide what to buy. That opened my mind to the possibilities.
I naturally gravitated to the smaller, less known brands; Henry Weinhard, Samuel Adams, Rolling Rock, Pilsner Urquel, Dos Equis and Bohemia became staples in my fridge. Then while shopping in Old Pasadena, I came across a small bar named Crown City Brewery. Not only did they have 100 different beers from all over the world on the wall (just like the song) but they actually brewed two in-house. The fresh full flavor from the home brews drew me in and I was hooked.
On trip to Seattle while wandering around the old city center we came upon a rockin’ blues bar and sauntered in. They had 4 home brews on tap. As none of us were driving, we went through all their offerings and it was glorious. It was the most memorable stop of the trip.
When I moved back to the Philippines in the 90′s, I hoped that I would not be forced into a life of mass marketed beer (as well as I liked SMB). I was lucky to find a bar in the Glorietta called the Brewery which brewed a selection of beer on the premises. I was in beer heaven! Unfortunately, the beer there was quite a bit more than the public was used to paying at the time and the Brewery went under not too long after.
When the Hotel Nikko (now the Dusit) was built, I was overjoyed to find German beer giant Paulaner had set up a Brauhaus there. Again, my joy was short lived as the market support to keep the place in business was lacking.
In the meanwhile the craft industry in the United States just exploded and to date some 2,400 craft brewing companies have sprung up all over the United States. A couple of years ago, entrepreneur Jim Araneta began bringing in some of the bigger brands of the burgeoning US craft beer craze. Tentatively, brands like Gordon Birsch, Ballast Point, Stone Brewing Company and Rogue Ales made their presence felt in bars across the metro and things have snowballed from there.
Just after Jim opened his first bottle shop at the Prince Plaza just across the street from Greenbelt 5, he hosted a local brewer named Mario McDermott who hailed from Bacoor in Cavite. The beer was fresh and delightfully different. Not as complex as the American craft beers but every bit as interesting. The market was ripe for the next step forward; the emergence of the Filipino craft beer.
I was fortunate to stumble on the launch of Crows Craft Brewing’s launch of their DePuta Madre XX IPA on Facebook a few weeks ago. The brainchild of certified hop-heads Jose Mari Cuervo and Miguel Vecin, De Puta Madre was their first attempt at a hop monster of a beer. It looks the part but turned out just a bit light for a double IPA. It was balanced with a nice hoppy, slightly bitter finish and very nice to drink but they were the first to tell us that it fell a bit short of what they set out to do.
This batch was very drinkable and only moderately hoppy when compared to the true hop monsters like the Stone Double Bastard and the Ruination IPA. But I don’t see it as a failure. It was a very pleasant beer. Beautiful amber/caramel color, medium bodied with some caramel and woody notes on the tongue and that slightly bitter hoppy finish I mentioned earlier.
The only real shame is that they only made 48 bottles of De Puta Madre. I hope they put on their thinking caps, tweak the recipe a bit and brew more of it. I’m dying to taste what they set out to do with this beer in the first place.

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