What’s on tap? Our top picks from the country’s best craft beer festivals this season
Did any of you guys make it to the Tapped Craft Beer Festival in Mumbai, earlier this March? What a day it was! Loads of beer, food, music, and things that made me go, wow!
There were over 40 different types of beers on offer, but the ones who stole the show were newcomers Moonshine Meadery, and the crazy meads they were serving. For those of you who don’t know, mead is an alcoholic beverage made by fermenting honey with various fruits and spices.
Started by Rohan Rehani and Nitin Vishwas, Moonshine Meadery - or ‘MM’, as they like to be called - are Asia’s first meadery. Their Apple Cyder (sic) and Coffee Mead is now available in bottles across Mumbai and Pune, and we sure hope to see them in other cities soon. The MM group had four varieties of meads at Tapped, and my favourite was their Bourbon Oaked Apple Mead. Speaking of an explosion of flavour, this drink was smoky, woody, not too sweet, and basically one of the easiest drinking pints I’ve ever tried.
Great State Ale Works is another fairly new entrant to the market. Nakul Bhonsle, who owns the setup and brews here, is pushing the boundaries when it comes to experimental beers and unique ingredients. This is a brand to watch, and I expect great things from them.
Bombay Duck Brewing, meanwhile, made their debut appearance at Tapped. They’ve been working on launching their beers for a while now, so it was exciting to finally see them out there in wild. They served a Grisette, a Sour and a Pale Ale, every one of which was super session-able.
As for my Pune favourites, Effingut had a new NEIPA on tap, other than their regulars. The word you’re looking for is, ‘juicy’! This beer has close to seven kilos of hops in it, making it extremely flavourful and aromatic. I don’t have a count of how many pints I guzzled by the end of the day!
In a Toit corner
Among the several exciting beers on offer, here’s my pick – Ninkasi served a Lager and a Porter, both of which were outstanding. Independence Brewing Company, as expected, served a few special brews. The Mango Cider from Gateway Brewing Company is to die for. And, Kimaya Brewing’s Vanilla Porter is, in my opinion, one of the top porters in the country.
Finally, our very own Toit had a stall at Tapped too. We got a chance to meet their new brewer, Chris, and engage in a chat over a pint of - you guessed it, the Toit IPA.
By the end of the night, though most of us were barely able to stand, we decided to head all the way out to the Toit taproom in Mumbai. The space they’ve built is gorgeous. Dare I say, I like it better than the interiors of Toit Bangalore.
For those of you who missed Tapped, there are two - yes, two! - beer festivals happening in Pune on April 21 and 22. One is called BRÜFEST, at Ishaniya Mall, and the other is called, Not Just a Craft Beer Festival, hosted by Secure Giving, a charity that is running this for the second year. Make the trip if you can, or look out for my travel and tasting notes!
Closer home, the new IPA goes on tap at Red Rhino at the end of this week. Head out for a taste - it is well worth the hike. Also coming up in April is a new brewery on Sarjapur Road, where I hope to be stirring up some brewing magic! More on that the next time.
Cheers and safe drinking!
George Jacob is the Founder of The Beer Chronicles - a brewing consultancy, a Brew Master with a degree in Brewing, certified in Craft Beer by Brewers Association, a Cicerone® Level 1, and a Certified Beer Steward by the Institute of Brewing & Distilling, London.