Friday, February 22, 2013

San Miguel - Part 2

More Fond Memories of Manila!

Beer Reviewed: San Miguel Pale Pilsen Beer
Style: Pilsner-style Lager
Brewery: San Miguel Brewery, a division of San Miguel Corporation.

San Miguel Promo Picture

Discovery (Continued)

OK, to recap my previous post, San Miguel - Part 1:

  • Very long flight
  • Beautiful Hotel
  • Bomb-sniffing dogs
  • Hookers

Much of the rest of my week centered on learning about the work environment, visiting the various offices around Manila, including Shaw and Alabang, and eating delicious and interesting foods. Not to focus on the food, but the Filipinos have a tremendous love and admiration of the pig. That’s something I can totally respect.

Sisig Platters

When I got to the end of the week, I wanted to host a bit of a Happy Hour for my team, and even though I had a couple of opportunities to have a single San Miguel with my meals, this evening I had the chance to drink a meaningful quantity. I did.

I learned a couple of things that were very interesting, and had I been told about them earlier in my stay, I may not have left the hotel. While I knew that the Philippines had a history of violence and bombings, what I didn’t know until the day before my departure was the hotel I had been staying in was the site of a military coup, where the soldiers drove a tank into the lobby and used it as their headquarters. I understand it was not enjoyable for the hotel guests.

Additionally, I learned that the Glorietta Mall I was spending time at was the site of a bombing only a couple of years earlier. I didn’t grow up or live in a country or city that had that level of violence, and if I had learned about this earlier, I probably would’ve been too scared to go outside and mill about.

It didn’t upset me because I was knee deep in beer and hors devours. This whole scene, held at the Shangri-La Hotel across from the Peninsula, really surprised me because I was half-a-world away from my home, but the happy hour seemed to be universal. We sat around joking and busting chops, eating calamari and other snacks, and drinking a lot of beer. I could’ve been having the same experience in NYC, TX or even Buffalo and it would’ve felt the same. It really put the commonality of man into perspective and it blew my mind a bit.

There was one important difference though. The folks at the happy hour were on my team, and as a sign of appreciation, they bought me a terrific gift that I’m honored to wear still. It’s a tracky jacket with the Filipino flag on it. It’s brightly colored and a pretty loud announcement when I walk into the gym, but I love it because of the meaning, the memories and my fondness for the folks that gave it to me.

So, let us talk about the beer...

San Miguel Poured Into Glass

The Beer

This beer is the definition of quaffable. It follows in the style of American Pilsners, it’s  light tasting, and would be a great drink when it’s hot and humid out, which is was. In spades!

Beer characteristics

Quantitative parameters of beer character

  1. The The Hitchens Taste Scale puts this around a -1, as there is almost no discernible bitterness and only a slight sweetness.
  2. Alcohol content is a very comfortable 5% alc/vol. Not too light, and not too heavy.
  3. The color is pale yellow, almost like apple juice, and very clear . Referring to the SRM,  I would put this at the lowest level I’ve reviewed, at a 2 on Lovibond.

Qualitative parameters of beer character

  1. The aroma is an apple juice nose. That may be suggestive selling, due to my description of the color, but I believe it is an accurate description. Let me know if you disagree.
  2. The flavor slight and subtle. it has a little malt, and even less hops flavor.
  3. The aftertaste exits very quickly and gives you a chance to throw back quite a few of these.
  4. The mouthfeel is a little back of the throat. There is a mouthfeel initially, just to remind you that you aren’t drinking water, but it exits quickly with a dry feel.
  5. The carbonation is slight. It poured a nice head initially, but it exited very quickly and what remains is a slight, but consistent single trickle of bubbles.
  6. Given that this is from a very tropical land where it is usually very hot and humid, you should be able to guess that my recommendation for the temperature is as cold as you can get it, without freezing!

San Miguel Bottle with Flash


I love this beer, and if you can find it, drink it! Drinking this beer reminds me that the memories you make while drinking can be the best, and most important in your life. This beer was used as a social lubricant to cross continents and build relationships, and if there is a better use for beer, I’d love to know what it is. Thanks, my Filipino friends!

- Enthusiast

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