Beer Craze - India's Most Popular Microbreweries
India's first microbrewery, Doolally, opened in Pune in 2009. In its wake, it brought a slew of small-scale Indian craft beers to Mumbai, Bangalore and Gurgaon; everything from the traditional stout, IPA, porter etc. to more unusual varieties. And although the craft beer industry is still rather nascent, there's already a barrage of microbreweries offering the perfect quaff.
Mumbai’s Love for Beer
Thirsty Mumbai residents were long used to making the drive to Pune for a taste of Doolally's craft beer. No more. In the last two years, a flood of microbreweries have contributed to raising the city's spirits, the very first one being The Barking Deer, a brewpub that launched in 2015 in Lower Parel. The first taste of craft beer this city had was the Barking Deer's robust India Pale Ale; the more gentle-flavoured wheat beer, Bombay Blonde; and the broodier, heavier Flying Pig Belgian Wit. Their long list of other beers from around the world is equally compelling.
Not very far away from it, The White Owl's microbrewery serves up its own home brews – the caramel-flavoured, light Diablo; Halcyon, a wheat beer; the robust Shadow; and the boldest, bitterest brew, an American Pale Ale called Torpedo. Purists may shudder though since it is all served in gimmicky jam jars.
Further north, Doolally itself has opened a microbrewery in tony Bandra, where it serves apple cider, wheat beer and oatmeal stout. Soak up all the alcohol with beer-battered Bombay duck and house fries.
Gateway Brewing Company is the star of Dombivali, a nondescript Mumbai suburb. The passionate brewers behind GBC wrestled for years with bureaucracy in their attempt to open a microbrewery, but then finally gave up and decided to open a production brewery instead. Today, you can swig their creations at restaurants and bars across Mumbai, including the British Brewing Company, Woodside, Blue Frog, The Jamjar Diner, The Good Wife, Bombay Canteen, even the Cricket Club of India. Most popular is their German-style wheat beer, the playfully-named White Zen.
Woodside also offers three artisanal brews from Pune's Independence Brewing Company; Belgian Wit Beer, Ryan Pale Ale and the most intriguing Four Grain Saison, crafted from barley, wheat, oats and rye. IBC has impressive credentials, having roped in Greg Koch, a brewer who pioneered the craft beer frenzy in the USA.
The Beer Craze in Gurgaon/Delhi
There are plenty of charming microbreweries in Gurgaon, one of the most popular being Striker for its in-house brews of pale Jazzy Light, Weiss Blues (made with wheat and barley malt), the dark Rock Beer and Country Pilsner Beer. But for the proper craft beer experience, 7 Degrees Brauhaus' exotic German beer garden theme brings all the boys to its yard. 7 Degrees signifies the ideal temperature at which to drink beer and Brauhaus means Beer House. Patrons perched happily on bar stools get to ogle at Brauhaus's massive brewing vats as they suck down its wheat, light and dark beers together with a plate of juicy Bavarian-style sausages.
The Original Pub City - Bangalore
Bangalore too, has been clasped by the firm grip of the microbrewery revolution, with 18 of them now dotting the city. Compared to all the metropolitan cities, it was among the first to popularise the concept. The granddaddy of the microbreweries, The Biere Club, ushered in the craft beer craze in 2010. TBC has plenty of traditional ales, stouts, lagers and wheat brews that it serves alongside light, flavourful Mediterranean food. But those with an experimental turn of mind can guzzle the Club's seasonal brews too - the mango beer is especially flavourful.
Windmills Craftwork is a microbrewery, a jazz bar, a restaurant and a library, all rolled into one hefty package. This is where Bangalore connoisseurs congregate for a lick of smooth jazz with a jorum of beer on the side. Traditional takes are offered.