MY RANGGO was invited to visit Papa Bolo in Tagaytay, to try six of their signature local brews, and to taste some dishes from their menu which have been carefully created and paired with the drinks.
It was an invitation we couldn’t turn down!
Papa Bolo is located in Tagaytay City right across from Sky Ranch. It certainly stands out among the other establishments in the area with a striking and modern façade. Seeing the glass and concrete structure of Papa Bolo, one might mistake it for a hip boutique Resort or the office of an up-and-coming Start-up company.
Stepping inside the 4-floor structure though, you immediately see that it’s a bar, with a hip and up-and-coming vibe. The brewery for the draft beer is right by the entrance.
The interior offers a modern yet comfortable experience, with art deco pieces and vintage memorabilia displayed throughout the four floors. The bar has booth seats, or barrel seats as they call it, regular chairs and tables, as well as armchairs and sofas.
The atmosphere inside is homey yet brimming with energy, creating the feel of having friends over for a round at your own place. It’s relaxed yet fun and certainly a first-rate place to hang out.
An intimate area was set aside for the invited Press on the 3rd floor, complete with name and place settings.
Aniela Tolentino, who started it all, welcomed the guests, explaining that the inspiration for Papa Bolo came from the idea of celebrating with friends, but with exceptional beers.
With that concept, Papa Bolo took shape with Mike Wayne as their Brew Master. Papa Bolo crafts brews using the highest quality ingredients, with some ingredients sourced locally.
The pairing menu was created by two talented chefs of Lampara in Poblacion, Chef Alphonse and Chef RJ.
Mike Wayne took the role of Cicerone (the beer equivalent of a wine Sommelier). He first instructed the guests on how to “taste” the beer correctly, much like a Sommelier. His instructions and guidance helped us to recognize the notes and flavors of each crafted beer.
We were encouraged to admire the color and smell of the beer first. Then take 1 ounce into our mouth, let it sit for 5 seconds, exhale and swallow.
Using this process we noticed the difference immediately.
Upon swallowing, you will be able to savor the flavors on your tongue, and once you inhale you will also detect the aroma mixed with the flavor. We highly recommend doing the same process as this way, you will be able to appreciate the flavors of each of Papa Bolo’s brews.
The first beer to be tasted at Papa Bolo was Barkada Bliss, a Pilsner with 5.0% alcohol content. On first impressions one can’t help but compare it to San Miguel’s Pale Pilsen, the country’s best known Pilsner. But the comparison ends there.
Barkada Bliss is a golden yellow beer with a mild fruity smell. The taste is clean and smooth with the usual bitterness that you would get from a pilsner.
It was paired with Wagyu beef marinated in Stout and served with fried Enoki. This was a sublime start to the tasting and the pairing dish was a fantastic match to the Barkada Bliss. The glazed beef was a perfect foil to the flavor of the beer.
Mike advised us to experience it separately from the drink. No washing down each mouthful with the beer. Each bite was to be savored in order to then appreciate the flavors of both the Barkada Bliss and the Wagyu.
The second Papa Bolo crafted beer was the Cowboy Classic. An American Pale Ale with a 4.7% alcohol content.
Slightly darker than the Barkada Bliss, this beer has a beautiful fruity smell, is less bitter than the Pilsner and is refreshing to the taste buds. It comes across as a Shandy but with a kick.
The Pata was soft and tender. It was cooked really well and served with a tamarind sauce garnished with coriander, which gave a slight Thai flavor. With the Cowboy Classic’s slight Tropical flavor, this is yet another pairing that I would happily keep coming back to Papa Bolo for.
Bad Pony, an IPA with an alcohol content of 6.4% was the third taster. This has a more orangey tint with a floral, aromatic smell. The taste is similar to a hard caramel candy with a bitter aftertaste.
Bad Pony was paired with Lampara’s Chicken Lollipop with a hickory rub and the flavor of the Chicken Lollipop amplified the taste of a caramel candy.
The dish came with mozzarella balls and a blue cheese dip that, for me, can be regarded as one of the best there is. It had just the right amount of blue cheese so that it did not take away from either the beer or the hickory taste of the chicken. Another perfect pairing!
The fourth beer was an absolute favorite! The Piña Niña is an ale with a 5.2% alcohol content. The name speaks for itself, as the ale is made from pineapples sourced locally in Tagaytay City.
It’s a golden orange color, which is not as clear as all the other brews. If you look closely enough you may find tiny bits of pineapple floating in the brew. Needless to say, the smell of this ale is fruity and inviting.
The Piña Niña was matched with a flavorful Soft-Shell Crab dish, in a pineapple curry sauce. All I can say is this pairing was genius!
The ale complemented the curry so well that the crab was gone in no time. The curry was cooked just enough for you to get hints of flavor and not too strong that it would bury the flavor of the ale.
A must try definitely!
The fifth Papa Bolo beer was the Twin Suns. A strong Double IPA with 10% alcohol content!
The Twin Suns has a similar but cloudier color to Bad Pony and a similar but stronger scent. As I expected from its description and alcohol content, it is strong.
If you like strong tasting brews, this one’s for you!
The Twin Suns was paired with Corn prepared with mozzarella, Katsuobushi, Nori and Shiitake powder. Most probably served with a double IPA as a light counterpart, the dish served to enhance the flavors of the brew.
Last but not the least, is a dessert beer called Disco Biscuit. That’s right! A dessert beer!
This is another ale with a 5.5% alcohol content.
Disco Biscuit is darker and cloudier orange than the other beers, with a sweet aroma. A caramel ale blended with fresh blueberry, lemon and vanilla the flavor is stronger than the Piña Niña but still engaging.
As the name suggests, there is a hint of biscuit flavor when tasting this beer.
Disco Biscuit was paired with Lampara’s eye-catching dessert Taal, named of course for the famous nearby volcano and tourist attraction.
Taal is a gorgeous layered dessert made with grilled corn and cheddar mousse, meringue, sweet pea sponge and with a tart yet sweet raspberry syrup drizzled on top. The whole concoction is served warm to melt the mousse and the meringue.
This dessert was a total experience! If you love desserts, then you need to try Taal yourself.
Paired with Disco Biscuit, the tartness of the raspberry syrup enhanced the sweetness of the ale. The flavors jumped out at you, drawing out the caramel taste of Disco Biscuit.
An amazing combination for both the beverage and the dessert.
If you are in Tagaytay for a staycation, or driving just for the day or night, then Papa Bolo is an absolute must visit!
The location, the building, its atmosphere, the food and most especially the brews are worth the drive alone.
Papa Bolo is an experience that will definitely enhance any trip to the area. It will quite possibly be the highlight of your visit!
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Address: Corner Crisanto De Los Reyes Avenue and Tagaytay-Nasugbu Road, Brngy. Kaybagal South 4120 Tagaytay City, Philippines
Telephone: 0953 477 7734