The watering hole that started the Craft Beer movement opened its latest branch at the rapidly developing area that is known to my generation as the Fort (I grew up calling it The Fort or Fort and I refuse to call it by three boring letters). Technically, The Bottle Shop is the second branch from Global Beer Exchange, the company that imports American Craft Beers such as Stone, Anderson Valley Brewing Company plus the popular and deservedly appreciated Hitachino’s Nest by Kiuchi Brewery from Japan. The latest branch is the third watering hole by the company and the Beertender/Guru, Jim Araneta. The first one, the now closed The Tasting Room, was an amazing place near Greenbelt 5 where most of the original Beer Club of Manila. The latest Bottle Shop location continues the tradition of being the bastion for Craft Beer, both foreign and local. Last July 21, 2015 was the soft opening of The Bottle Shop to the general public. The Beertender himself invited several of the patrons of the original branch of The Bottle Shop at Paseo de Magallanes.
At first sight, The Bottle Shop resembled a Christmas present due to the glass wrapping covering the glass windows of the establishment. It had a vibe of exclusivity similar to the burgeoning explosion of Speakeasies in Metro Manila. With the wrapping, I felt as if I was part of the few in the know about it. What happened after was a great night that is usually present when I visit one of my favorite watering holes (The Bottle Shop Magallanes). (Update: The glass cover will be gone by today, Friday July 24, 2015) My friends and I arrived quite late to my standards (around 9:30 PM). Luckily, I was able to find my fellow beer lovers and the night quickly picked up from there. At first glance, the place is definitely my type of place. There is an ample amount of tables and chairs with a number of stools facing the bar. It was great to see familiar faces around. Craft Beer has come a long way since I started to become interested in the elixir of life. At the middle of the picture is the list of beers on tap. It used to be that the Craft Beer that you could get in the country was only available in bottle form. To have seven on tap is definitely a step in a very beautiful direction. Pleasantries aside, it was time to drink. My first beer for the night was the Derailed Pale Ale. The Derailed Pale Ale is an American Pale Ale and I found it as a good starter for the night. The Pale Brown murky appearance of the beer lead to a mouthfeel that was slightly sticky, similar to the feel of drinking a good sago’t gulaman. To add to that, there were similar tastes to be had with this beer to the drink I just mentioned. The Banana flavoring added to the sago’t gulaman was similar to the fruity notes plus the nice boquet of flower flavors from the hops. The starting flavor of the beer was full of dry malt, similar to the taste of graham crackers, followed by a sharp introduction of pine and fruity notes as discussed in the previous sentence. The hop profile of the beer is definitely close to the West Coast (West Coast usually means more hops compared to the East Coast) American Pale Ale. The only concern on my part is the stronger than hop finish. A pale ale should be more on the malts rather than the hops even if it’s more on the West Coast Preference. Overall, it was a good beer. Not to mention, it was on tap. A Pale Ale on tap is definitely a nice experience. While I was drinking my Derailed Pale Ale, Raffy of Katipunan Craft Ales offered me a chance to smell the beer that he was having. It was an unsual smell for me. I thought it was sour and it reminded me of apples at first. My nose was lying to me when Raffy told me that it was their Smoke Belcher Amber Ale. It’s an Applewood Smoked Amber Ale done in Collaboration with Mr. Delicious. Looks can truly be deceiving. WIth the color of the beer, I expected more of caramel notes due to the color of it. Instead, I got an ambush of smoke flavor around my mouth. The intensity of the smoke flavor caught me by surprise and definitely made me want to drink some more. The flavor the beer starts with smoke, smoke and more smoke with subtle hints of caramel and faint hints of the hops. This is definitely a smoked beer. According to Kiyo (the other Katipunan Craft Ale Brewer), the malts were smoked for eight hours. No wonder they called it a Smoked Amber Ale. It’s definitely full of smoke flavor. It was their first time to try this experimental brew and I definitely approve. It’s definitely going to be better when the second one comes out. This brew is a must try for anyone looking for something that is unique.
While drinking some of our beers, my friend ordered Pintxos to liven up the palate and due to the fact that it was already 10:30 PM. We had an order of Chorizo Y Huevos, Chorizo and Quail Eggs. Simple as it seems, the Pintxos were just the right amount of flavor and sizing for the Beer to be the start of the show. I talked to Jim about the Pintxos he liked the Pintxos to be a side attraction. It is a place for Craft Beer afterall. The night went on and I had to leave due to the day being a Wednesday. The Fort is now blessed with various places to go to and now it has possessed a great place for people to drink and discover beer made with love and passion. Till next time! Beerman out! The Bottle Shop is located at Net One Building 28th Street, 3rd Avenue, Taguig, 1634 Metro Manila, Philippines.