Gone are the days when India’s beer options were limited to a handful of mass-produced lagers. Today, India’s craft beer scene is bubbling up faster than a freshly poured pint, and it’s high time to hop on board! With microbreweries and artisanal beer makers sprouting across the country, it’s clear that Indians have developed a taste for these handcrafted brews. So, if you’re ready to embark on a frothy adventure, let’s explore some of India’s best craft beers that will make you say “Cheers!” with a desi twist.
Some well-known Indian Craft Beers and Breweries
- Bira 91 (B9 Beverages) – Bira 91, which catapulted the Indian craft beer movement into the limelight, offers a range of brews that cater to different palates. From their refreshing Bira 91 White Ale, with its fruity and spicy undertones, to their bold Bira 91 Strong, which packs a malty punch, Bira 91 has truly carved a niche for itself among Indian beer enthusiasts.
- White Owl Brewery – This Mumbai-based brewery is known for its innovative and quirky beer offerings, such as the White Owl Diablo, an Irish Red Ale that boasts of a rich caramel flavor, and the White Owl Halcyon, a German Hefeweizen that’s both fruity and spicy. White Owl is not only a hoot for your taste buds, but also a great conversation starter with its whimsical owl mascot adorning the labels.
- Simba Brewery – “Hakuna Matata” might be the Swahili phrase for “no worries,” but after tasting Simba’s craft beers, you’ll agree that it’s also the perfect motto for this Chhattisgarh-based brewery. Simba’s Stout is a smooth, dark brew with chocolate and coffee notes, while their Simba Wit is a light, citrusy, Belgian-style wheat beer that’s perfect for a hot Indian afternoon.
- Arbor Brewing Company – Originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan, this American brewery has found a second home in Bangalore, India’s craft beer capital. Known for its innovative flavors and commitment to quality, Arbor’s lineup includes the easy-drinking Bangalore Bliss, a Belgian-style witbier infused with Indian spices, and the bold Raging Elephant, an IPA that packs a hoppy punch worthy of its pachyderm namesake.
- Toit Brewpub – Another gem in Bangalore’s craft beer crown, Toit offers a lineup of beers with cheeky names that are bound to leave you smiling. Don’t miss the malty, medium-bodied Toit Tintin Toit, a Belgian Tripel with caramel and fruity notes that pays homage to everyone’s favorite Belgian reporter. Equally delightful is the Basmati Blonde, a refreshing ale infused with basmati rice that’s sure to leave you asking for seconds.
- Gateway Brewing Co. – When it comes to brewing, Mumbai’s Gateway Brewing Co. knows how to open the floodgates of flavor. With their lineup of delicious brews like the Doppelgänger, a malty German-style Doppelbock, and the Kaapi Stout, a coffee-infused dark ale, they’ve captured the hearts of beer lovers who are always seeking new, exciting tastes.
- Independence Brewing Company – Proclaim your love for craft beer with Pune-based Independence Brewing Company’s impressive array of brews. Their Four Grain Saison, a fruity and spicy Belgian farmhouse ale, is a perfect marriage of wheat, barley, oats, and rye. If you’re looking for something with a citrusy kick, try their Juicy IPA, which will have your taste buds dancing to its tropical rhythm.
- Kati Patang – This Himalayan craft beer, whose name translates to “flying kite,” is bound to lift your spirits with its range of brews. The Kati Patang Snappy Wheat is a zesty, lemon-infused delight, while their Kati Patang Amber Ale brings a caramel and biscuit maltiness that’s perfect for cozy evenings.
Tasting Notes and Unique Characteristics of Indian crafts
As you explore India’s craft beer offerings, you’ll find that each brew has its unique characteristics that set it apart. From fruity, citrusy notes in wheat beers to the rich, malty flavors found in stouts and porters, there’s a craft beer for every preference. Take note of the tasting notes and unique traits of each beer, and you’ll soon develop an appreciation for the art and skill that goes into creating these handcrafted beverages. Additionally, many of these breweries incorporate local ingredients, such as Indian spices, basmati rice, and Himalayan water, which adds a distinct desi twist to their brews.
For example, Bira 91’s White Ale is known for its refreshing taste and fruity, spicy undertones, while Toit’s Basmati Blonde boasts the unique infusion of basmati rice. Kati Patang’s Snappy Wheat is a celebration of zesty lemon, and Arbor Brewing Company’s Bangalore Bliss is a delightful blend of Belgian-style witbier with Indian spices.
As you dive deeper into India’s craft beer scene, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try new flavors. Each beer has its own personality, and experimenting with different styles will help you discover your personal favorites.
Raise a Glass to India’s Craft Beer Scene
With a growing number of breweries and an ever-expanding variety of craft beers, there’s never been a better time to explore India’s frothy landscape. As you navigate this exciting world of flavors, don’t forget to raise a toast to the skilled brewers who have put India on the global craft beer map.
So, gather your friends, make a beeline to your nearest brewery or pub, and embark on a hop-filled journey that will tantalize your taste buds and leave you grinning from ear to ear. As you explore India’s best craft beers, remember that the secret ingredient to enjoying this adventure is a good dose of humor and an open mind. And who knows, you might even find a new favorite brew that will have you saying “namaste” to your old standby. Cheers!