Michael Nikkel of Turning Wheels Craft Brewery has big plans for craft beers in Cebu.
Not only does he want to put up a taproom where people can drink beer and observe the brewing process, he intends to come up with home brew kits so people can learn to do it on their own.
“Before I moved here (to Cebu) in 2013, I was already interested in craft beers. I’ve always wanted to open my own craft beer bar. When my wife suggested that I push through with it, I started brewing in May last year. I have to admit the first few drafts I brewed were not that good,” Nikkel said.
The beer eventually got better and better that it was ready for commercial distribution in June of 2014. When it opened, Turning Wheels was the first craft beer brewery in Cebu, he said. Now there are four, he said.
Beer, cycling passions
Before making his move to Cebu in 2013, Nikkel was working as a respiratory therapist for over eight years in Los Angeles.
Nikkel’s passion for cycling and beers led him to name the brewery Turning Wheels. Like many other cyclists, he loves to indulge in good beer after a strenuous ride as a way of rewarding himself for achieving his goals on the bike.
His brewery produces an average of 1,500 liters per month of such handcrafted beer styles as Summit Wheat Ale, Skyline White India Pale Ale (IPA), Derailed Pale Ale, Singletrack IPA, Turning Point Double IPA and Singlespeed Imperial Stout.
“We’re currently distributing to several places in Cebu, Manila and Iloilo and soon in Dumaguete and Boracay. We understand it’s a new style and people here are not that familiar with handcrafted beer. We want to create more brand presence in Cebu,” Nikkel said.
American style of brewing
According to him, what sets the Turning Wheels beers is its focus on the American, specifically West Coast, style of brewing.
West Coast ales are known for being citrusy, more of the pineapple flavor, compared to the malty taste of their East Coast counterparts, he added. The cost per bottle of craft beer produced by Turning Wheels ranges from P250-P300.
Where you can buy Turning Wheels beers
Nikkel, who hopes to release his home brew kits by December, said he wants to make it easier for Cebuanos to make their own beer by providing them the necessary resources. There’s a strong community of craft beer lovers in Manila and Cebu adoption is not that far behind, he added.
Want a taste of fine handcrafted beer? Check out Turning Wheels brews at Irie Gastropubliko in Cebu IT Park or Room 801 of Cebu White Sands in Lapu-Lapu City. Learn how to order online from the Turning Wheels Facebook page or Turning Wheels Craft Brewery website.