Amidst the lazy music playing in the background, crowd chattering its way out and guzzling pints of beer one after another, one cannot overlook the sight of huge cylindrical tanks which are equipped to craft the frothy drink to their taste.
Microbrewery (In-house) is a culture of brewing beer in small batches on its own premises and this is being witnessed by Bengalureans for around four years now. Dr. S Cariappa, Brew master at Bangalore Brew Works, said: “It was a trend around the world where people, apart from standard bottled beer, wanted something different, and Bengaluru being the IT hub and with a number of young people looking for entertainment and wanting changes, this was a fantastic opportunity for the young entrepreneurs to come in. They came in and brought in people who knew something about brewing and crafted a variety of beers. This was appreciated by all and is now a growing trend.”
Apart from its freshness and unique taste of flavors what attracts the beer connoisseurs is also the ambience, music and the gastronomical experience which synchronize well with the golden drink in a microbrewery outlet.
Mr. Jagat Jiban Mohapatra, F & B Executive at The Biere Club, Bengaluru’s first craft brewery, said: “Craft beer has no carbon dioxide content or preservatives, giving it a better taste. We brew 1000 liters or more of beer every day depending on the demand. Our drinks don’t last for more than 20 days. We have special ingredients and also add seasonal flavors for a twist, our specialty being the mango and the lemon grass flavour.”
October Fest, which began in Germany, is now celebrated by many microbrewers in the city which is now geared up for the occasion. Mr. Berlin, brewer at Bangalore Brew Works, said: “We have a separate menu for the October Fest.” Mr. Mohapatra added: “We have made a drink in ginger flavor and is quite popular among the crowd.”
Mr. Logan Schaediga, brew master at Arbor Brewing Company, India’s first American-style brewpub, said: “We make beer which is similar to the ones made in the US and also some unique to India. Our honey lavender flavor is the most popular along with German-style beer called the Bangalore Bliss. We make best IPA in the country called the Raging Elephant.”
The process involved is an age-old tradition of making beers which includes mixing of malt or barley with water to achieve a certain temperature. Then strain the liquid, boil it and add the hops, cool it and immediately add yeast to let it ferment. Thus alcohol is created and cooled down and later put in tanks to finally reach the tap. The raw materials needed are imported.
Alcohol being a state subject and not many states in India are open to the idea of microbrewery; Karnataka was one of the few entrants into the industry. Bengaluru has 25 microbreweries against Guru gram, also an IT hub which has 35 breweries.
Mr. Cariappa said: “Because of the high duty structure, especially in Karnataka, and the terms and demand for CL 9 licence which is not freely available, the economic viability of microbreweries is not that good unless the government changes its policy, people will still have microbreweries but it will not be a profitable venture for young entrepreneurs with limited funds. That is the trend as of now in Bengaluru whereas in Gurugam it is growing stronger as the license policy there is entrepreneur friendly. The microbrewery growth rate abroad is 15 to 20 %, and the trend is picking up all over the world, but Karnataka has been lagging behind because of its restrictions.”
However, with more and more people developing the taste for finer things such as freshly brewed beer and some even substituting it for other beverages and with the extended time for pubs and restaurants, Bengaluru is likely to catch up soon with its competitors.