By Cesar Cruz
As fate would have it, while I was biking through the unconventional U-shaped compound known as Cubao Expo (formerly called Marikina Shoe Expo) in Quezon City, a newly opened craft brewery called my name and stopped me in my tracks- Cubao x Brewery. Fresh from the October Fiesta event in Newport World Resorts a few weeks back, craft beer seems to be making a concerted effort to lure me in again.
As I entered the al fresco brewery with my mountain bike in tow, I recognized a familiar face caught in a flurry of activities- dispensing beer, cleaning hoses, and washing beer storage equipment all by himself. It was Jun Flores, the craft brewer/owner of El Deposito Brewery in San Juan. Cubao x Brewery is his second microbrewery.
The microbrewery proved to be a welcome addition to the number of establishments here living in harmony - quirky stuffs, vintage finds, art exhibits, authentic cuisines, fusion dining, modern cafes, a speakeasy bar and more. Thus, Cubao Expo exudes a charm uniquely its own. It is indeed a melting pot of creative minds and a haven for artists.
The brewery exudes a no nonsense, homey vibe with its use of Capiz windows, wooden bannisters, and red metal barstools. Whether you arrive in a casual attire of a T-shirt, walking shorts, and foam clogs combination or in a corporate attire, this microbrewery gives you reason to sit up straight and pay attention to its brews.
We gotcha brew
There are currently seven craft beer available on tap. They are Psychotropic IPA, Harvest Moon Pale Ale, Sam’s Project Pale Ale, Bulul Pilsner, Katipunan Indio Pale, Milky Way Galaxy Hazy IPA, Munich Madness Pale Ale. (Five brews are made in house and they are not available anywhere else, except for two kinds of beer which are from other craft beer players- a noble expression of support to the craft beer community.) I had the Psychotropic IPA for its aroma as well as its hop forward, citrusy and fruity flavors. I then proceeded to have a chitchat with the master brewer himself.
Given the wealth of alcoholic beverages available, Jun has always been into beer. What got him into exploring the different beer styles was a taste of Chimay Red, a Belgian dark ale with a fruity, sweet, and malty notes. It is amazing to learn that this guy is self- taught when it comes to making craft beer- absorbing all he can from video tutorials, attending conferences, discovering what works thru trial and error, and learning from the tightly knit craft beer community. I learned from him that drinkers of craft beer look for the beer style they enjoy from other craft beer players as well, thus the whole craft beer community benefits from it.
I vividly remember El Deposito brewery in San Juan, named after an old underground water reservoir of the city, churning out beer with the taste of Barako coffee, purple yam, pandan, and even Chocnut! Indeed, pushing the envelope when it comes to craft beer creativity has stirred much buzz among zythophiles. It is this same spirit of innovation with beer styles that the hands-on owner brings to table with his second branch, Cubao x Brewery.
Therefore, give this master brewer his hops, grain, water, and yeast. Stand back and watch him concoct his liquid masterpieces that pack a wallop of aromas and flavors.