Baron of breweries

Baron of breweries

The episode straight-away went to the “very cherished memories” nook of this writer-'s life. My cousin came to town and declared that he had to sample...

What's one better than living in a city - Bengaluru, that is the bleeding edge of the microbrewery boom in India? Taking a craft beer virgin around the town!

The episode straight-away went to the “very cherished memories” nook of this writer's life. My cousin came to town and declared that he had to sample the fabled “fresh beer from the tap”. Up till now, the bumpkin was living off hard liquor and canned beer.

Now, this deserves a pause and a rumination. When you say to the bartender, “Scotch on the rocks!”, the expression originated when the Scots took the ice-cold pebbles and rocks from silvery streams and dunked them in to cool the scotch down. That's how the expression came to be and any other explanation of ice being “rocky” deserves bludgeoning to the death!

The point being, European climes lend to drinking hard liquor. Pray tell, where you would find the ice-cool “rocks” in the Indian summers?

But beer, now that's perfect for the Indian tippler in the worst of 45 degree plus summers. Man, woman or child LGBT, a nicely chilled beer feels just right and goes down even better! And when Bengaluru started the march for preservative-free, fresh and dewy beer, the foamy revolution had started.

So we started our pub crawl bright and shiny at 5 pm at Toit. Standing outside the venerable institution of fresh craft beer, my cousin was flabbergasted. “Why is there a line? Do people have to line up to swig beer? Beer?” With a world-weary look, I explained,

“Microbreweries have been around for a significant amount of time now. This generation in this city has now the knowledge that the canned crock that you have been pouring down your throat is not the be-all-and-end-all of this sudsy pleasure.

Refrain from talking and opening your mouth until you have something better to treat it to.” With a fuming stare that said, “They better have ‘sanjeevani booty yukt madira’ to back up your bombast,” he fell quiet and waited like the rest of us.

And why would he not be reticent? He has seen the transition from dingy “Child Beer Here” liquor shops to swanky supermarts and pubs, where people can drink respectably, but a change in the drinking culture itself over a malted alcoholic beverage which is mildly alcoholic – now that is the next revolution, isn't it? And the capital city of this particular revolution is none other than Bengaluru.

As of 2017, the city has 20 microbreweries with their own specials and twists on the Average Joe's after-work drink.

Just have a gander at what Bengaluru offers the craft beer aficionado. Take Hoot near Sarjapur – which other bar, let alone craft brewery, offers a menu of 500 types of beer? Yes, the number is right. The 40,000 sq ft (!!) brewery has three floors and a pool!

Or Windmills Craftworks, where you can read a book while draining your favourite pint? Or the Biere Club, the first brew-pub in Bengaluru to always serve freshly-brewed beer? Or Toit, Vapour, U4ia, Arbor, Barleyz, BBW (That's Bangalore Brew Works), Murphy's, District 6, Big Pitcher, Prost, The Brew and Barbeque, Brewklyn, Brewsky, The Druid Garden.... Can we continue this after I've drained my stout?

The Toit waiter, tipped off in advance by me, brought a taster's platter to my cousin. I watched in anticipation as he picked up the shot glasses and drained them of the beer, with an account of each's hops and whatever from the obliging waiter.

A moment passed as the whiskey-drinker contemplated, rolling his tongue around the fresh craft beer taste. “Gimme a pint of everything,” he said, nodding to the waiter. Because we are humans, we did not cry. We got drunk and asked for more beer.

By: Megha Paul

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