Put away your hot toddy and head to The Great Indian Cider and Mead Festival to kick off the last month of the year amidst clinking glasses and rounds of cheers. Breweries, meaderies, home brewers and cider and mead enthusiasts from Mumbai and Pune have come together to present their best work at this one-of-a-kind festival. There’s no competition here, just collaboration with like-minded brewers who are passionate about their craft to build a strong community.
Conceptualised by Oliver Schauf, the ‘mad scientist’ brew master at Doolally, the event will feature Kimaya, Effingut, Gateway, Meadpro, Moonshine Meadery, 2nd Pint who will put out an assortment of their best innovations and the popular favourites of the consumers in the breezy setting of 1st Brewhouse, Corinthians Resort and Club. We speak to a few breweries to find out what they have in store for the festival.
“Doolally will be serving our popular Apple Cider, which happens to be India’s first cider. Then there’s a nice and fresh Mango Cider which is a favourite among our guests. The Karvanda Cider has been on and off our menu for a while. But specially for this festival we have come up with a Smoked Chilli Cider. The interesting flavour comes from smoked chilli peppers. The base is of Apple Cider, but the apples are smoked when they are ripe and juicy before fermentation. Then we infuse the chillies into it. We collected a batch of tabasco peppers last year and have been fermenting it. The fermentation process for the chillies is different from the regular process, in fact you can say it’s more of a thickening process than fermentation. This year, we infused the chilli peppers into the Apple Cider,” says Schauf.
How did he come up with this interesting fusion of flavours we ask him. “You can say that there is a personal preference there. I do like smoked foods. One doesn’t think of such combinations immediately. But have you tried chilli biscuits or chilli chocolate? The balance of sweet and chilli works very well. The sweetness of the Apple Cider perfectly, and deliciously, balances the hotness of the chilli peppers, and then you have a hint of the smokey flavour to finish it off,” adds Schauf.
Kimaya will be serving their lip-smacking, tongue-clicking Kokum Cider. “The kokum is sourced locally to help the farmers in Maharashtra. The Indian palate is used to flavours such as kokum. Specially in Maharashtra, kokum is used in a variety of preparations. You use Kokum in everything from Sol Kadi to Amti. So people will have a hint of familiarity when they taste this flavour,” says Saurabh Patwardhan from Kimaya. They will also be serving traditional mead made from honey sourced from the Western Ghats.
New on the brewery block, 2nd Pint will be offering Graf. “Graf is the result of fusing apples and malt into a drink. The modern version of this beverage made its debut in the Stephen King series The Dark Tower,” says Akshay Kirpekar from 2nd Pint, adding, “A simple way of developing Graf is simply mixing apple juice with beer wort and then fermenting it with ale yeast. We have used dark Stout malt fused with apple juice.” This is a great drink for fans of the horror genre to reckon with.
Moonshine Meadery will be presenting four different types of mead. “The Coffee mead is one of our popular favourites, so we will be offering that. In addition, we will be putting out varieties from our small batch series for the festival too. We have a Hoppy Mead, which we first made in 2016 and it became a hit with mead drinkers. It is matured with aromatic hops which is generally used in beer. It has a mild sweetness. Then there’s an Oolong tea infusion mead which gives you a layer of freshness followed by a nice tangy flavour. We also have a Spiced Cranberry mead which is semi-dry, sweet and sour in taste with the flavour of rich Indian spices to leave you asking for more,” says Manu Mishra from Moonshine Meadery.
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The Great Indian Cider and Brew Festival is being held at 1st Brewhouse, Corinthians Resort and Club, Nyati County, NIBM Annex, on December 1 and 2, 1 pm onwards