Thursday, September 03, 2015

Meditations on Drinking Beer in Manila

Man drinks alcohol. Man is happy. That's like one of the most zen realities there is. This is the reason why we flock to watering holes at the end of every week - every day, if you're an alcoholic - for a pint or two of the golden brew.

Living in Manila, however, means that you're either a San Miguel Pale Pilsen fan, or a Red Horse Beer fan. Colt 45 is also there for the truly courageous, and Manila Beer - a fantastic product while it lasted - just didn't make it.

The lackluster selection of alcoholic beverages in the metro has led to a proliferation of high-end "speakeasies", a hipster term for the truly expensive drinking spots mostly found in Makati. Do not confuse these places with prohibition-era speakeasies; you won't find the neighborhood drunkard here, on his way to see a man about a dog. These places have achieved exclusivity by virtue of being expensive, and I spit at the idea of calling them speakeasies.

There is nothing "easy" about a hefty price tag on a simple bottle of beer.

There's much to be said, however, about the microbrewing community in this same city. These guys spend a lot of time and money in creating new blends that can help the Pinoy palate experience a different kind of brew. Now I'll be honest and say that some of these brews are just plain shit, but there are those that deserve a hearty tip of the hat.

One of the factors that truly define a good alcohol, however, isn't always the taste. The company you keep where you drink your beer can improve the way you experience your drinking session. For example: I prefer the cozy confines ofthe old  Freedom Bar in QC to the hoity-toity atmosphere of Cafe SaGuijo, but mostly because I knew the owners of the former. And then closer to home, there's the choice between the Tap Station and The Other Office, which is really determined by whether you'd like to spend your time in a cozy hangout bar or an equally cozy 1960s bar.

But at the end of the day, as the Wyld Stallions have been known to say: "the best place to [drink] is here; the best time to [drink] is now." So I leave you with the following quotes from Bill and Ted, and from Jon Kabay-Zinn: be excellent to each other; and wherever you [drink], there you are.