Please beer with me...
I've once read somewhere that for anyone to be able to write well about something, the topic should be something that you are knowledgeable about. That being said, consider this as my disclaimer for sounding as though I happen to know what I'm talking about, and maybe most of the time I do. But in this case ---- beer isn't exactly my forte. Still that doesn't mean I don't have an opinion about it.
Thank god I actually had people to help me out and gave me sort of a brief lesson on how to properly appreciate and taste beer. The sole reason why I was even introduced to this growing society of craft beer aficionados is because of my best friend Jeffrey, he is quite passionate about everything that is bitter in life --- wine, coffee, dark chocolate and beer. Marjorie and him introduced Cagayan de Oro to a new plethora of tasteful beers and hopefully in the long run ----- that will somehow educate people that there is more to beer than the usual Red Horse and San Mig Light, that there is in fact some varieties of quality beer, it's a Science and a whole new world just waiting to be untapped by anyone who is brave enough or curious enough to taste it's splendors.
Entering Damaso, one of my favorite restaurants here in the city. I was greeted with not exactly the usual vibe of "chill" but rather a busy night filled with people from all walks of life wanting to not only taste but rather experience the beers before them. Across the room I was able to see Jeff approaching me, where he then ushered me to a table which I was seated with Abigail. A few minutes after I was served with four glasses of beer each containing four different types of Fat Pauly's craft beers namely; Iligan, Ilaya, Baluga and Sultana. Alongside the beers are four different dishes made by the competent hands of culinary men in Damaso.
While lightly taking sips of all four beers, munching bits of the food and catching up with Abi about everything, it was kind of crowded and every table had their own topics to talk about whether it be how their day went, the beer itself or whatever floats their boat at that time.
Jeff then introduced me to Paul--- the creator of Fat Pauly's. I was greeted with the same warmth and intimidation as with the beers he has created. Warmth because in the literal sense of drinking beer --- it really does somehow increase your temperature and intimidation because aside from the sheer volume of the beers the alcohol and flavor content I can't deny is extremely high.
1. Iligan - Just like Iligan, Paul is light, fun and easy to take on. I consider this to be his gateway beer before trying out all his other creations. It's light and pungent at the same time, you can taste the honey which gives out this sweetness that just gives you enough warmth but wouldn't intoxicate you that much. It smells like honeysuckle and has a slight tinge of bitterness in the end. Just like life, sweet in the beginning and then comes bitterness. To me it had a taste of pineapples--- not that it had any but Paul said that it was the hop's flavors, which according to him is different in each person. It's the type of beer I would be able to drink to the whole night without really getting drunk.It's what they call pale ale and "session beer".
It is my favorite among all the other beers that was served on that night just because I really don't like my beers to be that strong.It was served with what I think was a cocktail of assortments of chopped fruit and vegetables with white cheese. I preferred taking the beer on it's own though. If I had to rate it, I would give this beer a ten out of ten will drink it again!!!!
2. Ilaya - Fun Fact Ilaya is actually a place in Iligan which is where Fat Pauly's started out! During our light conversations about his beer and when and how he started getting into the beer business. The sheer sight of the beer you'll immediately can tell that it's going to be a bit stronger compared to Iligan, it has a tawny sort of amber auburn hue that reminds me so much of apple cider! Upon tasting it Ilaya hits you hard!!!! The first thing that hit me was the overall rawness of the flavors, it was SO BITTER!!! THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY..from the light taste of Iligan, Ilaya gives you a whole new world with a punch! And quite not what I expected because based on the smell of this beer. I thought it would be sweet because it had this sort of like citrusy smell to it that just reminds me of tangerines in summertime and just like Paul he's not what most people would've expected, a successful entrepreneur and a passionate lover of beer -----you would think he would embody someone that is close to being a snob, but he is everything but that. Just like his beer it immediately gives off an impression of someone you can really relate to well, lets just say this beer you shouldn't take it based on face value alone because once you've tasted it. It just tells gives you an entirely new experience as if to say "I'm not shitting with you, I'm the real deal honey! ". And my God Ilaya does mean business. It was paired with a slider. The pairing compliments the beer well in my opinion. I can totally picture out that beer to go on well with during summer when you're at the beach and you would want something a bit stronger compared to Iligan, it is in fact good with meat respectfully. And I would someday want to experiment on actually cooking the beer with barbecue and just see how that goes.
3. Baluga - When I thought that Ilaya was bitter, boy was I wrong. That was the biggest understatement of that night. And here I thought Paul wouldn't surprise me anymore. This beer is way more intimidating compared to the first two. The beer with it's sort of dark chestnut color gave me a new meaning to the concept of bitterness. And to top that the word "Baluga" actually translates to Black person.This was when everyone got a bit more comfortable talking about other things, so I guess you could say the as we go through the series of beer and their flavors as well as their colors become deeper, so did our topics. So yeah I guess the conversation as well as the color of the beer fits. And just like the darker shade of the beer I was given the opportunity to witness a glimpse of a different side of Paul. His playful side.
This was when Jeff started talking about some technical terms about beer, and he was then teaching me the proper way to actually taste beer ,what are the things I should take note on, not just the smell, taste and color. He also taught me to take note on the head as well as the lace of the beer and how some beers have head and others give off more lace and stuff. Anyway I was quite curious about the beer head that I turned to Paul about my inquiry . And this when the conversation became a bit --- something haha! I am at a loss for words.
Our conversation went like this:
Me: Sir Paul, why do some beers have heads while other don't?
Paul: (he sort of smirked a bit and playfully he said) ah, we're talking about heads now. Well most beers just give better head than women.
Ladies and Gentlemen ---- MOST BEERS JUST GIVE BETTER HEAD THAN WOMEN- Paul del Rosario 2016
We bursted out laughing but on a serious note, here's the real definition of what a beer head is.
Aside from the puns and jokes we did talk about life and everything that contributes to it and what makes it even better. Sir Paul said that life is just better when there's a tinge of bitterness involved, you become more mature once you've learn to love life in not just the sweet moments but all of what it has to offer including the bitterness.
Getting back on the beer, it was served with ice cream. I know, I know I mean really? Who would've thought that beer was good with ice cream? But I shit you not, Damaso made a masterpiece with their blue cheese ice cream. Well if you think about it wine goes perfectly with cheese so for this one I guess it makes sense, but for Damaso to make a new creative way of experiencing those flavor. I have to give Chef Chino a thumbs up!!! The Baluga on it's own in my opinion was okay, but supplemented with the ice cream it was just a match made in heaven. It was perfect. The savory creaminess of the ice cream was at par with the overall briskness of the beer. I would drink this beer again with that blue cheese!!!! It was a pleasant surprise to experience the beer that way. And just like it's creator it was an auspicious moment to know that despite his being intimidating ---- you'll feel right at ease with him cause he is and I mean this in the most endearing way I could possibly say it. Paul is crazy, dark and bitter---- but the good kind.
4. Sultana - last but not the least. This is the stout which I later on researched that it just meant that it's rich and flavorful. Which I guess it makes sense to call it that because this particular stout beer was in fact full of flavor. The aroma that came off from it was a rich black coffee smell something I'm actually familiar with, ebony in color and absolutely intimidating since I already got the sequence that this would be the "umph" of the night, served with chocolate covered chicharon and candied bacon makes you feel like a breakfast that you wouldn't exactly have in the morning. But it was a kicker, a great finale of the series of tastes. Personally not my favorite just because it was too robust for my taste, I guess my palette has not matured enough yet to appreciate the overall delicious bitterness that comes with great beer. But I trust the experts and it is in fact Jeffrey's favorite among all other beers cause I did say he is bitter! (haha) With the candied spicy bacon and the subtle lusciousness of the chicharon it made it tolerable for me, so again another pat on the back to Damaso for doing a good job pairing their food with Fat Pauly's beer.
Overall it was an event that you would go to----- not just to literally taste the beer along with the food it's paired with. But rather the experience you gain from it, the people you meet and the surprising feelings you are exposed to once that liquid touches your tongue. I admit it's not for everybody, it is pricey and not everyone has the fortunate time or money to spend literally drinking and talking about beer but I guess like all things in life lessons and experiencing something new comes at a price.
And it was a humbling experience for me and I do urge people to experience what I have witnessed as well not just because it's in or trendy but rather to be inspired by tasting, listening and feeling things you've never thought of feeling before.
To hear Paul talk about his beers and how his love affair for the craft started, how each beer signifies a time, event or person in his life. How he has created something that people in the art world would consider his own masterpiece, was so empowering for me. I liked the fact that his beers has stories behind them, that there is in fact substance and depth in each beer he has concocted. It's so thoughtful knowing his process of experimenting and making the beers the way they are now. It's inspiring to know that there are still people in this lifetime that does things, despite all the obstacles and negativity from other people. Still they do it, not exactly thinking about how much they can gain from it, but rather doing it for the sole purpose of just loving what they do. That to me is pure poetry, loving what you're doing. Accepting and being at content with what you have---- and all the bittersweet things life can offer.
So eat, pray, love and drink beer. Cheers and more power to you Sir Paul del Rosario!!!! You are awesome dude! I can't wait to someday visit Iligan and go on tour inside your factory.
Thanks Pu and Marjorie for inviting me and letting me experience something that's literally not within my comfort zone.
PS. Sir Paul, I'll be waiting for that Green Matcha Beer and that Red Velvet Dark Chocolate beer too. :)