Indian beer would taste like what? Cardamon? Lemongrass? You might be ready to shake your head in disbelief. Actually both of these flavors can be discovered in freshly brewed Indian craft beer nowadays. India has developed – in some of its bigger cities with a lot of young urban workers who can spend an extra buck on beer – a quite lively landscape of microbreweries.
I just visited Bangalore, the IT capital of India, and found myself tasting local beers in a very nice pub, something that came to a complete surprise to me. So far I had only been served canned „Kingfisher“ in India. The beer I ordered was called „Bangalore Bliss“ and it was one of the finest balanced and freshest „Hefeweizen“ I drank in recent years –brewed right in front of me and coming out of the tap with no preservatives. And yes, the beer with lemongrass taste was delicious as well …
Most of these new pubs are breweries at the same time. The shiny copper or metal brewing machines are often staged in the center of the venues, which gives – along with other creative settings – a special feel to these places. The food you can order with the beer tasting is just as worth while: French fries with a special Indian „masala“ or spicy chicken legs match perfectly with the „Bangalore Bliss“.
Bangalore’s variety of craft beers might not compete with Brussels yet, but five years on I am not so sure that this statement would still be valid. Trendy rooftop restaurants brewing their own beer is not something that you would have found five years ago in India. Obviously cities like Pune, Gurgaon or Bangalore have changed their liquor laws and young entrepreneurs have been quick to respond to it.
These „beer-startups“ are trying to stay ahead of the crowd and invent new flavors constantly. Every month you will find a new beer on their menu. A mostly young crowd has appreciated the new tastes and the freshness of the offer. The „beer cafés“ have become the places to go and definitely add to the spice of the Indian cities.