Great Jazz And Fresh German Beer A Welcome Addition To The Angeles Scene
Good music and fine quality beer are two things that really make life worth living. And so in this edition of Out And About, I want to bring your attention to two places that I’ve discovered over the last few months that offer the kind of music and beer that can literally elevate one’s daily existence. I can honestly say that since I discovered these two places, my life here in Angeles City has indeed become better and more enjoyable than it already was. And that’s saying a lot!
Let’s start with the music. Around last October a musician friend of mine told me that I had to check out a new place called the Jazz Grill. Initially I imagined a bunch of older type musicians playing boring standards, and requests from the audience for oldies like Sinatra. Well, I’m glad to inform you that I was seriously wrong in my first assumptions.
The Jazz Grill is a cozy, open-air venue located in one of the coolest spots I’ve seen for a bar anywhere; practically under the Abacan bridge right down the service road from Robinson’s Mall. The place is owned by Conrado “Titus” del Rosario, a 57 year old world class classical and jazz musician whose prominent family happens to own the Del Rosario Compound, which sits along the river to the side of the Abacan Bridge. (The bar is located next to the two clay tennis courts.)
From early childhood, Titus was a prodigy musician and went on to study at UP College of Music and won many awards. He eventually found his way to Germany where he studied music and lived and performed for 31 years. He returned home to Angeles in 2013 and decided to set up The Jazz Grill to give himself and other local jazz musicians a place to pursue their passions.
For most of the week the Jazz Grill serves as a cozy and cheap barbeque joint. But once a week, the place turns into a world class jazz venue. Titus’ band, the KAPAMU Jazz Collective,
is absolutely the real deal, offering amazing jam sessions of the likes of Dave Brubek. The Jazz Crusaders, Marcus Miller and Miles Davis. With the multi-talented Titus leading the
way on saxophone and occasionally on keyboard, the five or six piece band absolutely slays it in ways no cover band ever does in the Philippines. Who knew there were so many talented world class jazz musicians in our midst?
It turns out that while you don’t normally think of Angeles as a jazz hub, there is no shortage of world class musicians here. Many have been performing professionally abroad for years on cruise ships and resorts around the world. When you play on an expensive cruise ship you have to have the highest musical standards. Now these locals who have developed their craft abroad have returned from years on the world’s finest cruise ships and are looking for venues to express their love of music.
Titus knows that real jazz is not something most pop music and love song addicted Filipinos are used to. But he’s determined to bring the best of world class jazz right here to Angeles City. The growing crowds that come each week seem to agree.
“Listening to and appreciating Jazz involves going out of our “comfort zones,” Titus said. “We would like to invite people to expand their consciousness and experiences by letting Jazz bring them to new musical horizons. People here are ill so afraid of the unknown and are wary of new musical experiences.
The KAPAMU Jazz Collective plays every other Thursday at the Jazz Grill. On alternate Wednesdays, another terrific jazz band, ‘Tale of the North,’ plays and they too have been wowing audiences with their tight jams. With no cover charge, amazing music, and cheap drinks and food, it’s no wonder more and more people have been discovering the Jazz Grill.
For more information look up The Jazz Grill on Facebook.
Pinatubo Craft Beer
Now it’s onto one of my other passions; good beer. Angeles City has to be one of the beer drinking capitals of the world but the lack of choice other than San Miguel products has long been a serious bone of contention for me. (San Miguel controls 95% of the beer market in the Philippines!) So when I heard that two Germans had come to Angeles City and set up their very own microbrewery in our midst, I knew that it was soon to be happy drinking days ahead with something delicious and different.
The two Germans, Michael and Juergen, are currently brewing six different kinds of beer, all made with ingredients imported from Germany and made to exact German Purity Law. This means that you are literally drinking real German beer made fresh right here in Angeles.
They call their beer Pinatubo Craft and judging by the taste, the name really fits as you experience an explosion of flavors you will never find in the mass produced stuff .
Their beer has clearly caught on with drinkers around town as more and more bars and cafes are starting to carry Pinatubo’s big brown bottles. But the be place to drink Pinatubo Craft beer is at their very own bar, the Bierkueche Snack House, which is located just outside Josefaville 2 subdivision, about four blocks down from the VFW restaurant. This small open air pub is not easy to find, but the trek there is surely worth it.
A 300ml glass of freshly brewed German beer costs just P50, while a half liter of this liquid gold sells for only P80. A 500ml bottle costs just P80. The bar offers a tasty menu of German favorites that pair perfectly with the fresh beer. Try the Currywurst, the Bratwurst, the Frikadelle, the homemade potato salad and the hot German pretzel.
There always seems to be an eclectic crowd of foreigners and locals on hand who share the passion and camaraderie that only properly brewed craft beer can foster. The Bierkueche Snack House and Pinatubo Craft Beer have thankfully brought a beer drinking revolution to Angeles City. If you like great beer, and who doesn’t...then you must stop in for a visit. Bring your thirst.
For directions, please visit www. bierkueche-angeles.com. Or look up Pinatubo Craft Beer on Facebook.
Craft Beer Festival
While on the subject of micro-breweries and craft beer, word around town is that a major craft beer festival may be held in Clark later in the year. I’m told that at least 15 micro-breweries from all over the Philippines will gather for a three day festival featuring up to 150 different kinds of fresh beer all under one roof!
If this comes to pass this event will be the first ever craft beer festival in central and northern Luzon and will surely be a massive hit. The popularity of craft beer and micro brewing is growing by leaps and bounds and I, for one, couldn’t be happier. Although I have had some absolutely amazing memories over the years while holding that ubiquitous brown bottle of San Miguel, the lack of choice in the beer drinking market has gone on way too long. It’s definitely time to free the beer and a craft beer festival right in our very own back yard promises to be pure heaven on earth. Watch this space for more information!