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Spotlights and Deep-Dives

Engkanto Is Turning Up Philippine's Beer Game With New Styles And Local Flavours


Cebu native Ian Paradies, like many other Filipinos, loves beers - and yet, the selection of beers available in the Philippines tends to point in one direction - the giant that is San Miguel.

Yet, Ian had thought to himself why should that be the case.

To him, beer was a vibrant category with a myriad of styles ranging from ales to porters, stouts and sours, and could even be aged in wooden barrels, or feature local ingredients such as mango, dalandan, calamansi, ube and more. It could be low ABV or high ABV, and even be paired with food - the possibilities are endless.


Engkanto blends local Filipino ingredients into its brews, from dalandan citrus, to ube yam and mangoes.


Why should every Filipino be constrained to commercial lagers.


“Everywhere around the world people look up to and love Filipinos and we have such a great reputation abroad, yet we ourselves often believe that we can’t do things as well as others...But that’s not true, we can do things just as well as anyone else can, and we want Engkanto to represent that”


Neither did Ian believe that the only avenue for good beers should have to be made outside of the Philippines. 


The Engkanto family has only grown, starting from a microbrewery in Makati City to today a bigger outfit in Cavite. (Image Source: Engkanto)


And so Ian set out to create Engkanto in 2017.

The word "Engkanto" itself holds a special meaning in Philippine's native Tagalog, said to mean "enchantment" or that of a mythical quality or spirit, often associated with the spirits of ancestors. The idea being that Ian hopes for the brewery's fans to have a mystical experience through its brews, and at the same time carrying on the culture fueled by the energy and passion from the enchanted spirits of the country's ancestors.


“A lot of people ask me what I would like Engkanto to achieve or become. Truthfully, my hope for Engkanto is really to just be a harbinger for change and inspire people to grow by challenging themselves and the things they are not happy with”


With a focus on natural ingredients and introducing the Philippine consumer to a wider variety of beer styles, Engkanto has grown from strength to strength. What started out as a microbrewery in Makati City has now outgrown its outfit and has now moved to Carmona, Cavite.


Engkanto brings to Philippines much needed diversity in its beers, whilst retaining a nostalgic and familiar touch.


But of course he's not in this alone. With the help of American Proclamation Ale's owner Josh Karten, to Engkanto's experienced brewmaster Michael "MJ" Jordan, previously from Shanghai's Boxing Cat Brewery, Engkanto's beers have bagged numerous international awards.


“What really gave me the courage to push forward was my desire to change what I felt was wrong with the industry in the first place, the lack of choice, and the focus purely on commercial products,”

Engkanto Live It Up Lager - Review



Said to be brewed with "New World" hops, this is rated by the brewery as being more easy-going. It is made using a classic European brewing technique but uses hops grown outside of Europe - hence a New World Pilsner. This is 4.8% ABV.

It is suggested to be paired with meats such as pot roast, swiss steak, sindhi mutton, corned beer and grilled sausage, as well as cheeses like manchego, gouda, feta and brie, also ham, salami, and even Caesar's salad or Thai salad.


Tasting Notes

Color: Light Gold

Aroma: A really interesting immediate note of uncooked rice - slightly umami and starchy, with a very rustic vibe. Very aromatic actually, these aromas of jasmine rice, with a light grassiness.

Taste: Wow! Really smooth and well-rounded with a light carbonation, it’s so texturally enjoyable already. Mellow notes of natural honey, straw and a light bitterness. This is darker than your standard commercial lagers - more rich, but at the same time it isn’t overly dense like some of the European stuff.

Finish: It gets more dense here with slightly more bitterness, a hint of marmite and more on rice crispies and brown rice.  Very refreshing with a good balance between crispness and sweet mellowness.


My Thoughts

This was an incredibly solid lager - one of the best I’ve had by far quite honestly. The jasmine rice aromas were just wonderfully rustic and felt so fresh, while on the palate, it was simple but so well-rounded and smooth and yet had a nicely medium to heavy body that made it the perfect balance of refreshing crispness and sweet mellowness. 

Wonderful, wonderful stuff.