Ale & Hearty

Anjali Jhangiani
Friday, 21 July 2017

Local breweries get together with their counterparts from Mumbai to bring to Pune the first edition of Tapped, a craft beer and food festival, next weekend

Local breweries get together with their counterparts from Mumbai to bring to Pune the first edition of Tapped, a craft beer and food festival, next weekend

What better way to destress than spending your Sunday indulging in the finest craft beer and delectable food? What if we told you there will also be live music featuring some popular indie artists and a bunch of games you can try your hand at after you get tipsy? Oh yes, there are prizes too.

After two successful editions of Tapped in Mumbai, Nevil Timbadia brings the craft beer and food festival to Pune at Balkrishna Lawns, Mundhwa-Kharadi Road, on July 30. The best part? They tied up with High Spirits to bring in the groove with live band performances. Here, brewers from Pune tell you what you should look forward to beer-wise.

Effingut Brewerkz
“The reason we got together and started Effingut is because the concept of craft beer is really beautiful. It’s beer as it was supposed to be made in local taverns and inns 500-800 years ago. Of course industrialisation happened and people got used to beer in bottles and cans. But all commercial beer is literally just one style of beer called pale larger,” says Manu Misra, partner, Effingut Brewerkz.

He claims that when one starts exploring craft beer, they will find that there are over 150 varieties of the beverage. At the festival, they will be offering four varieties of craft beer, including Hefeweizen, Apple Cider, Peach Ginger Melomel and Dunkelweizen.

Sharing more about why craft beer is the way to go, he says that it has no artificial flavouring and no preservatives. “The advancement of technology allows us local brewries to change our water in a way to mimic the water of multiple countries. That’s how we make different styles of beer in one location,” he shares.

Their Apple Cider will definitely catch your attention with its sweetness. Even for those who do not like beer, this beverage, they might just enjoy. “The Apple Cider is closer to wine than beer because of its fruitiness. It is made from fermented apples. Even if there is some other type of cider, say a Strawberry cider we make when the fruit is in season, the base will be of apples, with added strawberries,” he says.

For those who cringe at the thought of sweet tasting beer, they can opt for the Hefeweizen. A popular choice among Indians, Misra feels that India will soon be producing more Hefeweizen than Germany itself.

Kimaya Brewing Company
A popular vegetarian restaurant among the locals in Pune, Kimaya in Kothrud does not serve beer. But the owners started the Kimaya Brewing Company in late 2016. The name, of the restaurant as well as the brewery, is Sanskrit for ‘divine magic’ and that’s exactly what the founders — brothers Saurabh and Sameer Patwardhan claim their food and beer is. They are bringing four of their finest brews to the festival, including the Kimaya witbier, Kimaya red ale, Deccan draugh (blond ale) and Golder Sour (Sour ale). “We run a blog called Currently we are serving our beer at 10 different places in Pune like Farzi Cafe, Malaka Spice, Vivanta by Taj, and the Raasta Cafe outlets,” informs Saurabh.

Talking about the fancy sour ale they recently made, he says, “We fermented the beer using a wild yeast trail from the Tamini Ghat. Our brewery is on a very beautiful location, on the way to Lavasa. So we just kept the beer out in the open and it just fermented after 14-15 days. It has a funky and sour taste.”

Telling us an interesting story about how they brewed a Buckwheat blonde last month, he says, “The grain grows in the Eastern parts of India. It’s not really wheat, but just a flower grain. We collaborated with an NGO called Happy Roots and purchased the seeds from them. The grains were cultivated in the tribal areas of Nagar and Nashik before we sourced it from them and made a beautiful blonde. We sold it exclusively to Malaka Spice outlets and it has been doing well with local craft beer drinkers. Our entire system is locally fabricated.”

The red ale, another specialty of the brewery, is full bodied. The taste of a sip has a hint of chocolate, and it leaves you with a lingering aftertaste of coffee.

Independence Brewing Company
A popular favourite variety at the brewery outlets in Pune and Mumbai is the Belgian Wit. “It’s called Wit because it uses a lot of wheat and oats. It’s light and traditionally spiced with coriander and orange peel. During the boil, we put the coriander and hand peel the mandarin oranges and add that too and then the beer goes into the fermenters. Whatever other flavour you get comes naturally with the yeast,” says Shailendra Bist.

Apart from the Belgian Wit, the brewery will present four varieties of beer at the festival — Hefeweizen (German-styled wheat beer), Session Pale Ale and Peach Sour.

He reveals that the peach sour has about 60 kg of peaches added flavour the beer. “It is fruity, yet sour.”

People don’t associate beer with being sour, but this one is different. It is still in the tanks, intentionally timed to be ready to be on tap for the festival.

Bist claims that he has witnessed the palates of his regular patrons, who were newly introduced to craft beer, evolve within a year. “They start with a blonde ale and move up to more experimental beers. The Belgian Wit has picked up really well and so have the seasonal flavours available the the outlets,” he says.

Great State Aleworks
Bringing their flagship beers to the festival — Brightside Witbier and Off Duty Pale Ale — Great State Aleworks hopes to promote home brewers in the city. “The craft beer scene in the city is changing very fast. Earlier, you wouldn’t find many people drinking pale ale, but now there is a demand for it. We hope it will also catch some steam at the festival,” says Rohan Hastak, parner, Great State Aleworks.

They believe in collaborating with home chefs and other home brewers to come up with exciting innovations. Such an innovation is the reddish pale ale. “We’ve been working on the pale ale for year now. It has 4.5 per cent alcohol, and is currently not as bitter as it should be. When you take a sip, I suggest you take a big one because the bitterness is tasted most at the top,” says Hastak.

A musician and a home cook himself, just like his partners, Hastak feels that the USP of craft beer is the attention to detail that the makers pay. “The same requirement, attention to detail, exists in fields like music and food too. Because we are a small set up, we have the freedom to experiment and innovate. Brewing in small batches gives us access to better ingredients. In fact, my partner still uses his 20-litre drum and sack set up, which looks shady but makes great stuff, to experiment with new recipes. If that’s a success, we move to making batches of 200 litres at a time. Chefs come to us suggesting to use a fruit that wouldn’t have occurred to you as a brewer, and we go with it. We prefer using organic ingredients. Vrundavan Farms just sent us some pineapples to try out,” says Hastak.


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