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Desi Cheer


Drink up. Your pint of beer is now available in India-Inspired masala chai, bhel, green chilli and filter coffee flavours.

This summer, enjoy the official fruit of the season, mango, in a different form. Get a chilled glass of cider punctuated with juicy kesari at Doolally Taproom, Bandra. The drink is so popular that 20% of the beer sales at Doolally are of the mango cider.

But the kesar mango isn’t the most desi thing you’ll find in your beer today. Look around, and get homegrown masala chai, kaapi (filter coffee), kokum or coriander seeds added to your favourite brew.

Microbreweries are cashing in on the current love for craft beer and experimenting with local flavours and ingredients. The Barking Deer in Lower Parel, for instance, has served beer with kokum, black pepper, kala jamun and mango flavours in the past two years; they have a green chilli brew currently on tap. In June, they will launch a masala chai flavour. ”

It is fun to play with local flavours, and people are receptive to experiments with familiar flavours,” says Gregory Kroitzsh, founder of Barking Deer.

At Andheri’s BrewBot, Belgian Wit is made with coriander seeds. Craft brewers Gateway Brewing Company will be introducing bhel beer and a jaggery beer next month.

Krishna Naik, co-owner of the Gateway Brewing Company, says that he is inspired by the food that he ate as a child. “Pairing flavours is very interesting for us,” he says. “For example, when we made a kaapi stout for our second anniversary in January, we paired it with a strong, robust stout to match. On the other hand, we made Darjeeling and Earl Grey tea infused brew for The Bombay Canteen in Lower Parel, but paired with a lighter pale ale.”

“Beer is versatile, and craft beer volumes are low, so there’s enough space to test different flavours,” says John J Eapen, a beer consultant who blogs about craft beer at Tales of Froth. He has tried honey basil ale, kaapi stout, jaggery ale, and betel leaf-lemongrass brews in India, in just the past year. “This trend works to the customers’ favour, as it offers much more variety” he adds.

So the next time you head out for a drink, pass on the stouts and pale ales and try a desi-flavoured brew. The masala chai beer, we hear, tastes best in the monsoon.

Source: Hindustan Times
(Photo: streetdials)

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