Bira 91 – Specially Brewed & Hand Crafted
In our previous post, we looked at how the Bira 91 Brand came into being and the direction it is heading. Now, it is time to take a look at the Beers in detail and where you can find them in Bangalore.
There are two Bira 91 variants in the market today and they fall into the two main types of Beer – Lagers & Ales.
- Bottom fermenting yeast
- Flavor contribution more from malt, hops used rather than yeast.
- Ferment at cooler temperatures (7 to 13 Deg C ) and condition for a longer time ( typically 3 weeks or more)
- Top fermenting yeast
- Flavor contribution more from the yeast (esters) as well as hops and malt.
- Ferment at warmer temperatures ( 20-22 Deg C) and condition for a shorter time (typically 2 weeks)
To understand how to sample Beers, the perfect pour and sampling terminology, please read the post on Beer Sampling.
Both the Bira 91 Blond and White are available in the following offerings:
- 330 ML Glass Bottles (Karnataka)
- 30 L One Way Kegs (Select Cities) – One way kegs are lighter, more eco-friendly and thus cost-effective.
- Growlers – 1.5 L (select cities that have Bira on tap)
Bira 91 Blonde Lager (EBC 6, 4.9% ABV, 21 IBU)
Style – Pale Lager
Price (Karnataka Only) – Rs. 110
Ingredients (as per label) – Water, Barley Malt, Maize & Hops. The labels are eye catching with a rear label packed with information.
Bira Blonde is a lager made using two row malted Barley that produces a fuller malty less grainy flavor than six row barley.The word “Blonde” refers to the pale color straw/yellow color of the Beer due to the use lightly roasted malts. The Hops used are from the Himalayas and this brew is slightly hop forward giving you a medium IBU (21).
- Appearance – Pale Straw/Yellow, Clear, Good carbonation and head retention.
- Aroma – Mild sweet/malt aromas present. No detectable hop aromas.
- Flavor/Mouth Feel – Crispy and smooth on the palate, light bodied. Stars out slightly sweet, with malty notes and finishes with medium hop bitterness.
- Overall Impression – A highly drinkable, quality lager that is definitely much better than most mass produced lagers in the market today.
Serving Glass –
Since it is a lager, any glass will do including Bira glassware. I used a Pilsner glass for the pour.
Food Pairing –
Lagers go with traditional pub fare – both veg and non-veg and spicy food – that’s what I call “versatile”.
Bira 91 White Ale (EBC 6, 4.9% ABV, 13 IBU)
Style – Belgian Wheat Ale
Price (Karnataka Only) – Rs. 130
Ingredients (as per label) – Water, Barley Malt, Wheat, Oats, Coriander, Orange Peels, Hops & Yeast. The labels are eye catching with a rear label packed with information.
Bira White is a Belgian Style Wheat Ale made using two row malted Barley that produces a fuller malty less grainy flavor than six row barley. The grain bill also includes mainly Wheat and Oat and the signature orange peels & coriander that Belgian Wits are know for. Wit simply means White – a name given to this type of Beer because of its pale, cloudy “white” appearance. The Hops used in this beer are Styrian Golding & Saaz – European Hops. This brew is not hop forward hence a low IBU (13), meaning the other ingredients are more present in the flavor profile.
This Beer is unfiltered and bottle conditioned. Bottle conditioning simply means yeast is present in the bottle (see the deposits in the photo on the right). The yeast continues the fermentation process in the bottle to give you added carbonation.
- Appearance – Pale Straw/Yellow, Cloudy (unfiltered), Good carbonation and a nice big frothy head giving your good head retention.
- Aroma – Plenty of citrus notes on the nose with a slight spicy hint of coriander & sweet aromas.
- Flavor/Mouth Feel – Light/Medium bodied, medium carbonation. Flavors start off sweet, spicy and the citrus really comes through with a very low bitterness on the finish – not very hop forward.
- Overall Impression – A refreshing wheat ale that is perfect for any time of the year, sessionable and very well suited to the Indian palate.
Serving Glass –
Similar to a Hefeweizen, you can ideally use a Weizen glass (similar to the one used for the pour above) that promotes a nice frothy head or traditional tumbler like the Bira glassware below.
Food Pairing –
Light soups and salads; vegetarian dishes; lightly spiced/citrus chicken & fish, sweet and fruity Asian dishes,citrus fruit, dessert and salad dressings. eg:- Paneer, Malai Kababs, Lemon Cheesecake.
In conclusion, these two variants are definitely what the market needs and given that they will soon be produced in India, these Beers have already shown promise so far and it certainly looks like Bira 91 will increase its consumer reach in the weeks, months and years to come. Good quality brews, great price points and a strategic marketing approach have certainly paid for the folks at Cerana Beverages who manufacture Bira 91.
The Bira 91 White is my overall favorite and is the choice of several of my friends, fellow Beer enthusiasts and Beer drinkers across the country.
Bira Finder | Bangalore
(Data provided by Bira 91 – updated Jan 15, 2016)
Please click on the link below to display a .PDF of all restaurant/pubs/bars by area that retail Bira.
The folks at Bira are hard at work pushing into Bangalore spreading Bira hoppiness to many new outlets. Follow their Facebook page for the latest Bira Finder updates such as this one which was just published (Dec 26, 2015):
Please click on the link below to display a .PDF of all liquor stores by area that carry Bira.
All Images Courtesy – Tales Of Froth & Bira 91If you’ve come this far in the post, you might as well subscribe to the blog & social media channels listed below. Feel free to comment, share and of course drop me an note, if you’d like to share a pint with me sometime!As Always Cheers & Stay Frothy!!!