Monthly Archives: March 2016

Follow Us!

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29 March, Tuesday, 11:30pm, Manila, after a haphazardly prepared dinner with a nice 2005 Saint-Emilion and good company, I’ve finally decided to be a wee bit more public about the blog and create an Instagram account.

There’s not much photos uploaded yet (I’m slowly posting stuff during my free time), but the current content may be familiar to people who have read previous entries of the blog.

Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/2shotsandapintofficial/

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It’s OFFICIAL! Instagram: @2shotsandapintofficial

Here’s to hoping it becomes a good source of #drinkspiration. Cheers!

 

Writer’s Block, Hunger, and Beer

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Hello, my name is Gail, and I’m suffering from writer’s block.

*”Hi, Gail!”*

Anyway, I’m hoping my tried and tested combination of Anthony Bourdain, Natalie MacLean, good food, and a couple of pints of beer would help.

That being said, here’s something I’m really looking forward to:

I mean, come on: Excellent beer (courtesy of Baguio Craft Brewery)? Check.

Awesome burgers (by Burgers and Brewskies)? Check.

Good, fun people all around? CHECK!

See you on April 1 from 11am-9pm in Open Space Jupiter! Cheers!

*video courtesy of 2 Big Guys Productions

Visita Iglesia 2016

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“Pineapple” (juice) and “Chocolate” sold amongst Pinoy street food near San Agustin Church in Intramuros

In the spirit of Holy Week, we are not posting the usual hardcore (and slightly snarky) drink post in our blog.

Instead, in respect to the religious tradition in a predominantly Catholic country, we will refrain from doing so. We will definitely post something after Easter, though. 🙂

That being said, as we are also participating in the traditional Visita Iglesia (a Filipino Catholic tradition of visiting seven churches) and Stations of the Cross in this scorching Manila heat, we would like to remind everyone to keep yourselves hydrated.

See you after Easter! Cheers!

What Happens in Baguio…

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…Shouldn’t stay in Baguio.

Before I alarm some of the friends I went to Baguio with (I promise I won’t talk about your seven levels of inebriation in this article), let me explain.

Apart from the fact that it is really and truly the ultimate summer capital of the Philippines (yes, there is a place in our tropical archipelago that goes below 20C!), Baguio is also one of the finest places in the Philippines to go for a major food trip.

I can go on and on about how amazing and fresh the vegetables are (we were lucky to have sampled them straight from the farm!), or how yummy Good Shepherd Ube is (any Pinoy child of the 80s has been dragged to the convent kicking and screaming, only to be sated by a spoonful of their legendary strawberry jam)… But this being a drink blog, I would like to highlight (nay, capitalise) on my ultimate Baguio discovery: Baguio Craft Brewery. It’s the first craft beer brewery in the city, with the brewing equipment in plain sight, a variety of IPAs, dark beers, fruit beers, and great food to pair them with. The brewers (with a reputation of intense attention to detail coupled with an incomparable fun-loving vibe) are always on hand to share this experience (and their amazing passion).

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The sign of good times… 😉

I have heard about these legendary craftsmen ages ago through one of my chef friends, and since then, I made it a mission to take a trip there myself when I had the opportunity.

I finally had my chance over a week ago when a group of my chef and foodie friends decided to go up to Baguio to explore farms, which included a trip to the brewery.

After climbing up to the restaurant, basking in the spectacular view, and enjoying the borderline Rastafarian music (the duo could do a mean acoustic Bob Marley), I was thrilled to meet Chris Ordas, self-proclaimed “Thirst Prevention Officer and Chief Executioner” of Baguio Craft Brewery (his vibe and ultra-unique facial hair, a requirement for the upper echelons of the brewery’s organization, is perfect for his “occupation”).

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Brewskies with Friends (L-R): Chef Jonas Ng (Le Jardin Manila), Chris Ordas, Ed “Steady Eddie” Bustos (Food Creator and “Director of Awesome”), Genghis Khan Enrique (Fun Foodie Friend)… We were told that the fancy facial hair was to further distinguish themselves and their beer. 😉

It seems like I’m writing so much about the people behind the BCB, but it’s impossible to separate them from their beer… Their restaurant/tasting room/brewery alone just resonated with their vibe and friendship. That’s how they got started in the first place: a group of self-proclaimed “raging alcoholics” decided to brew perfect beer in Chris’ garage in Canada (which included Arnold Miguel, Head Brewer and “Ex Moonshiner”; and Alex Basa, “Head Receiver”… Best occupations ever IMHO). In 2013, armed with fervour, mad brewing skills, and the belief that there was a lack of beer choices in the Philippines, Chris, Arnold, and Alex quit their jobs and put up The Tasting Room at Baguio Craft Brewery.

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A multitude of choices for their beers on tap

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Six-pack beers in native packaging (with funky tags!) for easy transport back to Manila, and witty shirts

Some of my favourites (according to classification):

  1. Dark Beers
    • Kraken – A Baltic Porter with sweet, malty notes and hints of roasted coffee and toffee (which, after a couple pints, made me want to cry, “Unleash the Kraken!”… No? #nerdhumor)
    • Stout Crusader – A beautiful, rich, heavenly, creamy Russian Stout that I ended up treating as a dessert and a bartender/chef friend used to make a fun beer cocktail
  2. IPAs (India Pale Ale)
    • Pugaw – A wordplay on Ifugao (a mountainous landlocked area in our Nothern Cordilleras and home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site the Rice Terraces), this is a “beginner’s trek” into IPAs (and an excellent showcase on what the Ifugao people are all about: earthy and richly complex).
    • Message in a Bottle – An intense black IPA with an excellent roast
    • Hop Attack – A beautiful Double IPA with an elegant bitterness that definitely begs for food
  3. Fruit Beers (note: unlike some brewers who make fruit beers by injecting fruit syrup to their beer, BCB uses the actual fruits during the secondary fermentation, hence they end up with the essence of the fruit infused in the beer instead of a crude, slap-in-the-face fruit flavored beer)
    • Lagud (Strawberry) – Because Baguio is famous for their strawberries. Think strawberry cream in beer form (yum!)
    • Ripe (Passion Fruit) – A sharp, tangy fruit beer excellent with greasy bar chow
    • Keywheat (Kiwi) – I’ve never had Kiwi beer before but I am a big fan of the fruit… So, kiwi? Check. Beer? Check. Happy.
  4. Other Beers:
    • Rolling Fog – I admit to having a predilection for German wheat beer, but the subtlety and elegance of Rolling Fog just blew me away.
    • Englishman in New York – An American Pale Ale with caramel notes seamlessly blended with herbal undertones (a favorite of a friend of mine, he kept insisting I try it… “This will change your life”, he said. It did)

Don’t take my word for it. Baguio Craft Brewery is located in the RKC Building, 120 Marcos Highway, KM 4 Baguio City.

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Saccharine sweet strawberry “wine”

After partying it up with these perfect craft beers, I highly recommend indulging in some of Baguio’s renowned strawberries in their spirit form. It’s sweet and packs a mean punch.

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Camp John Hay Coffee Plantation

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#hoarding healthy stuff after all that alcohol

The following day, it is imperative to sober up with some coffee. Baguio has a wide selection of affordable coffee… I had to take home bags of Irish Cream, Arabica, and Civet Cat coffee beans. It’s also worth noting that John Hay (the best place to get a cottage for the ultimate Baguio trip) actually grows their coffee beans. I also had to get the turmeric tea I found on the way up to Good Shepherd (after all that beer, I needed a healthy ANYTHING).

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The “Morning After” Traditional Hot Chocolate from Choco-Late de Batirol

When all is said, drunk, and done in Baguio, it is imperative to stop in for a quick brunch in Choco-Late de Batirol garden restaurant. It’s the ultimate “morning after” place. They have interesting items on their menu (tocinong kalabaw was quite adventurous), but they’re legendary for their traditional hot chocolate. It’s thick, rich, and so artisanal that the texture is still grainy, it redefines “hug in a mug”.

Whether it’s a gastronomic, alcoholic, or foodie adventure, Baguio has a lot to offer. Whatever people are after, there are many options that are a far cry from the Baguio of the 80s (with an excellent TPLEX that cut down the once 8-plus hour trek to about 3.5 on a good day). Note to self: Make another trip, stat! Cheers!

Big Things Poppin’!

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Event!

I think the best way to drive home the spirit of April Fool’s Day is to start a diet…

Psych!

Join us for mouthwatering burgers and some of the best craft beer in the Philippines for a fun, wild day (11am-9pm!) on April 1, 2016 in Open Space Jupiter.

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Get it? Got it? Good. See you there!

Big Blog Announcement!

Here’s a little sneak peek into the blog’s upcoming makeover, courtesy of the awesome team of Urban Geppetto:

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New Logo = Big Changes Happening Soon!

 

…and these are just a few of the exciting things coming up. 😉

Cheers!

*video produced by 2 Big Guys Productions

Bubbles and Barcelona

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Guaps,” I texted our friend from Barcino’s, “what do you suggest I do in Barcelona for 72 hours?”

Hola guapa! Wanna visit any winery??? It’s to die for!” he replied.

Honestly, when I sent him the message, my intentions were purely to get recommendations for restaurants and activities, but hey… Who was I to pass up an opportunity to sample wines straight from the source?

Backtrack: The trip technically involved me tagging along while Chad attended the Mobile World Congress with some of the most awesome tech writers from Manila.

So, the trip had nothing to do with alcohol… That is, until we spent an interesting unplanned 10 hour layover in Singapore. What was there to do while agonizing over a major airline gaffe?

Raid SilverKris Lounge’s bar, of course.

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Photo courtesy of Michael Josh Villanueva of Gadget Match

They had a selection of decent wines representing some of the nicest from the regions they came from, and a bar with sufficient ingredients to make a killer martini.

Several hours and an unintended stopover in Dubai later, we finally arrived with 62 hours left in our Barcelona trip.

Prior to that excursion, everything I knew about the place I learned from friends who were from/have been/are still there. I heard about legendary tapas and an extremely relaxed lifestyle enjoying cerveza and glasses of cava.

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Alhambra in a restaurant along La Rambla

That being said, I decided to spend an afternoon lounging about and people watching in La Rambla over beer and tapas*. I ordered a bottle of Alhambra Reserva 1925 to go with my pulpo (octopus). This award-winning beer has a rich, amber color and bottled in a sparkling green label-less bottle. The intensely flavored extra lager made me think of orange trees, caramels… And an intense desire to stay there forever.

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Cava Sangria

For dinner, I met up with some friends for Cava Sangria. Barcelona has an interesting take on Sangria, using readily available cava instead of still wine to create a beautiful, sparkly cocktail.

Since I’ve been going on about cava, let me go back to the initial master plan: A quick afternoon trip to Sant Sadurní d’Anoia for a visit to Vilarnau.

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Messi versus Messy: Messi won 😉

I’ve been to a lot of wine houses on earth, but I’ve never been welcomed in a more awesome manner. I managed to pop in just in time for the manager and winemaker, Damià Deàs, to let me join in a truly Catalan tradition: partaking in calçots (onion shoots, which were char-grilled) with salvitxada (a salsa with tomatoes, olive oil, and nuts as some of the ingredients), and drinking wine out of a porron (a traditional glass wine pitcher). Damià said he was like the footballer Messi when shooting wine straight from the porron into his mouth… I said I was just plain messy (like the amateur that I was… Maybe I needed more practice).

I knew Vilarnau in an intimate way. Years ago, I was first introduced to cava (the exquisite Spanish take on sparkling wine involving some of Catalan’s indigenous grapes: Macabeo, Xarel-lo, and Parellada) through the brand… And you know what they say: you never forget your first.

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The fantastic Eva Plazas of Vilarnau as we sampled wine straight from the vat… #lifegoals achieved 😉

Needless to say, I was thrilled when the fabulous Eva Plazas showed me around their property, explained their winemaking procedures, and had me try their wines before and after the secondary fermentation (done in nothing less than the traditional method, a delicate procedure that involves doing the secondary fermentation in the same bottle which introduces bubbles into wine).

Enough text. I’m letting the photos say the thousands of words.

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Sharp still wine after the first fermentation. This will undergo a secondary fermentation to get fabulously bubbly.

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Riddling Tables

4 - up close and personal settled yeast

Up close and personal: Yeast slowly settling to the bottom of the bottle

6 - frozen yeast neck of bottle ready for releasing

Frozen yeast, ready to be disgorged and topped up

7 - what mushroom looking corks look like before process

How corks actually look like before being plugged into a bottle of sparkling wine (before looking like a ‘shroom!)

 

10 - rose with gaudi and cava using chestnut barrels

Left: Brut Reserva Rosé, designed as an homage to renowned Catalan artist Antoni Gaudí; Right: Xarel-lo Castanyer, which made use of chestnut tree barrels for fermentation, giving it a nutty, creamy taste and texture

 

I feel like the 62 hours were certainly not enough to explore Barcelona’s awesome food and wine scene. I guess that’s my way of saying, moltes gràcies, i que tornarem Barcelona.

 

*tapas: bite-sized snacks popular in Spain

 

Muchas Gracias to Ricardo Infante of Barcino’s for setting the trip to Vilarnau up. Moltes Gràcies to Eva and Damià for showing me a wonderful time. Special shoutout to Karen and Ice for showing me around (we owe you another dinner), and the fabulous Michael Josh Villanueva of Gadget Match for making the awful layover more fun with martinis and wine.