THE COUNTRY is experiencing a record-breaking heat wave this year—in fact, Phalodi in Rajasthan sizzled at 51 degrees Celsius earlier this month, the highest temperature recorded in the country since 1956.
So how does one beat the heat? There are myriad ways to do so, like eating light, staying indoors, etc, but one of the most popular remains a tall glass of chilled beer. Beer drinkers will vouch for the refreshing relief a swig of the cold alcoholic beverage provides against the searing heat. What’s more interesting is that consumers today aren’t restricting themselves to specific favourites. Walk into any bar or bistro and you will see patrons swigging brands like the 571-year-old Belgian Hoegaarden, the American pale lager Budweiser or the Chinese beer Tsingtao.
Craft brewing is another rage primarily because beers made through this process contain traditional or innovative ingredients like mango, honey, basil, coconut, etc. “Consumers today prefer fresh craft beer over bottled beer. In the past eight years, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of microbreweries, especially in Gurgaon. Craft beers are widely accepted for their low alcohol content and rich character,” says Ishan Grover, a master brewer with Gurgaon-based RJ Brewing Solutions, which provides design support and facility planning for breweries.
As per ratings agency Moody’s, India currently accounts for 13% of the world’s beer consumption. Not surprisingly then, the country is attracting a lot of foreign attention. Take, for instance, Playboy Enterprises. The US-based lifestyle company recently launched Playboy Beer Garden in Pune. A beer café, it also has an in-house brewery with the capacity to produce 8,000 litres of beer per month.
For those of us who can’t go to Pune as yet, here are some new and refreshing beer brands that can help you beat the heat this season…
The Beer Café, a popular beer chain in the country, has introduced the concept of ‘cutting beer’, which is basically a smaller serving of your favourite beer. It’s not only easy on the pocket, but also perfect for those looking for a quick gulp of their preferred brew without getting drunk. Different brands of draught beers are served in customised cutting glasses, giving enthusiasts a chance to try a wide variety. Single servings begin at Rs 39 and can go upto Rs 129, depending on the choice of beer, available at all outlets in Delhi-NCR, Mumbai & Pune.
Launched in India in April, this Czech beer’s smooth taste and aroma is achieved through the use of saaz (a variety of a flower called hop) and Czech Sladek (a high-yielding, saaz-type aroma hop), combined with carefully-selected barley malt. Grown in the Czech Republic, these hops give the beer its earthy, fruity aroma. A mild version of the beer will be launched in the first half of June. * Rs 160 for a 650 ml bottle, available in New Delhi, Punjab,
Rajasthan, Chandigarh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Assam, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.
UK’s Witlinger recently announced two new variants: Witlinger Wheat Ale and Witlinger Lager. While Wheat Ale is a Belgium-style wheat beer with a taste of orange zest and spices, Lager is a premium beer with a smoother taste. Rs 150 for a 330 ml bottle (for both), available in New Delhi.
Mahou India, a subsidiary of Spanish brewing company Mahou-San Miguel, currently has three beers under its portfolio: Mahou 5 Star, Mahou Clasica and Dare Devil. Mahou 5 Star: Mahou 5 Star, produced with the finest varieties of hops and yeast, is the company’s flagship product and stands out for its golden colour and distinctively mild taste. Rs 150 for a 650 ml bottle (Rs 100 for a 500 ml can), available in Rajasthan, New Delhi, Haryana,
Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, West Bengal and Meghalaya
Mahou Clasica is a premium lager that comes with a tinge of fruity flavours. It has a bright golden colour and a faint malt aroma. A scrumptious drink, it has very light balsamic hints with a bitter finish. Rs 150 for a 650 ml bottle, available in Haryana, West Bengal, Rajasthan, New Delhi, Meghalaya, Assam and Uttarakhand.
Indian at heart, but with a touch of French, Belgian and Bavarian ingredients, Bira91 has become one of the most popular beer brands in the country. Some news reports also say it’s the largest-selling premium beer in Mumbai and New Delhi. Currently, it has two variants: Blonde Lager and White Ale.
Bira Blonde Lager
Made with the choicest two-row barley (a type of barley), Bira Blonde Lager is extra-malty with a delicate aroma. Rs 80 for a 330 ml bottle, available in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Pune, Goa and Chandigarh.
A product in the semi-premium category, Dare Devil has a slightly bitter malt aroma with fruity flavours. Rs 110 for a 650 ml bottle (Rs 90 for a 500 ml can), available in Rajasthan, New Delhi, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh,
Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Assam, West Bengal and Meghalaya
Bira White Ale: It is a delicious wheat beer, which has low bitterness and a hint of spicy citrus, with a soft finish.
Rs 100 for a 330 ml bottle, available in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Pune, Goa and Chandigarh.
* Prices as per availability in New Delhi