Q. How long you have been brewing in Bangalore? How do you think you have contributed to the city’s brews?
I have been brewing in Bangalore since May 2013. I would like to think that I have brought some creativity to the craft brewing industry with what I have learnt and seen across the UK. As secretary of the Craft Brewers Association of India, I am also helping spread the message of responsible drinking and also educating the public on different aspects of beer.
Q. What drew you to the craft of beer making?
I had a module of brewing and distilling in my undergraduate degree at SRM University. I got curious and that led me to doing a M.Sc. Brewing and Distilling at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland. I didn’t even like beer at the time. Having said that though, the kinds of beer I tasted there and most of all the kind of passion I saw in the brewers, I knew then what I wanted to do.
Q. How did you learn the process of brewing? When was the first time you brewed?
I learnt my trade at the International Centre for Brewing and Distilling (ICBD) at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland. That was where I brewed for the first time as well. It was a terrific experience.
Image Credit: The New Indian Express
Q. Which is the best brew you have created? What made it special?
In my opinion, the Chilly Lager is the best beer we have brewed so far. What made it special was that it was the first time Bangaloreans had a taste of red chilies in beer. What made it even more special was that it turned out exactly like how we wanted it to, the right amount of chilly with a well-rounded aroma to complement that soft spiciness that came through. It was phenomenal.
Q. Would you like to talk about the new trends? Are you working on anything new?
The kinds of beer that are being served today are exquisite. All of us brewers are trying out pretty much any new flavor we can. This is very good for the industry.
At Biere Club, we are working on many new things. For Valentine’s Day we have five very special beers. Bangaloreans will be able to try out a Passion Weizen, a Strawberry Wit, a Chocolate-Mint Porter, a Cherry Wheat and a Honey Pale Ale. There are many many more exciting flavors to look out for in the future.
Q. What do you think about the taste and love for beer of Bangaloreans?
It is amazing to see how the people’ palate is changing. Five years ago, not many people would have wanted to drink a dark beer. Today, people are curious. They want to try out not only new flavors of beer but also newer styles of beer. It is absolutely fantastic to see this growth. People are beginning to appreciate what they drink which is key to making craft brewing a success.
Q. Is there anything you would like to change about the city’s tastes? What would that be?
There is absolutely nothing I would like to change about the city’s tastes. People are very receptive to craft beers. It is a growing trend and I can only hope it lasts for a long time to come.
Q. You have created Bangalore’s first Chilly Lager, Vanilla Stout and Oak Ale. Please tell us something about this.
The first thing that comes to mind is the memory of experiencing excruciating chilly burns. It was a terrible day for me. The beer turned out brilliant though, which compensated for all of it. I guess it all started with a need to break out of the shell. This was in 2013, so the industry was relatively younger then. We, at the Biere Club, have always been the pioneers of Craft Beer in Bangalore and we wanted to offer Bangaloreans something interesting that they had never tried before and voila! People loved it… we loved it.
Q. Do you experiment with uncommon flavors? Please share the details.
We do small trials all the time, with anything we can get our hands on. Most of these trials have been fruitful and we’ll be scaling them up and tapping those flavors in the future. I don’t want to ruin the surprise, so you’ll have to wait and see.
Q. Have you ever had a bad batch? If so, how long did it take you to figure out what caused it?
Since inception in 2011, we have never once had a bad batch of beer. Hopefully I haven’t jinxed that.
Q. What do you think about the recent surge in popularity of craft beers?
As a brewer, it’s heart-warming. It’s only because of this popularity that we’re able to express ourselves through our beer. These are very exciting times and we brewers are lucky to be here in the midst of all this.
Q. Can you briefly explain the process of creating a new brew?
Well, it starts off with malt, mainly barley malt. We crush the malt, mix it with hot water and extract all the sugars we can from it. We filter the malt out and collect the wort, which is the sweet liquid that eventually becomes beer. We boil this wort with hops. Hops give us bitterness. This bittersweet wort is then cooled, fermented with yeast and then matured. After 10 – 14 days, the beer is ready to serve.
Q. Do you have a favorite style of beer – to brew and to drink?
Not really. I do enjoy a good IPA, that’s India Pale Ale, but I wouldn’t classify it as my favorite. I haven’t really found that one style I’m crazy about yet. I do love brewing any beer though.
Q. Which are your favorite flavors/ingredients to work with?
I love working with fruits. We make a day out of it at the brewery. Washing them and cutting them and pureeing them, it’s a very good team building exercise.
Q. If you could share a beer with anyone, who would it be?
Mahendra Singh Dhoni. I really admire that man. I would love to have a conversation with him over a beer.
Q. What do you think is the favorite beer and food pairing?
I’m not a very big fan of pairing food with beer but if I have to pick I’ll pick a plain old pizza margherita. It’s fairly neutral and it’s delicious.
This interview first appeared on The New Indian Express