The Effin Jag Ale – Collaboration, Craft Beer & Cheers
The ‘C’ word makes a comeback and the brewers in Maharashtra are at it again coming up with a new innovative collaboration brew. This, after the recent releases of collaboration brews by Independence Brewing (October, 2015) and Gateway Brewing (January, 2016).
On a visit to Pune in mid December 2015, I got to be a part of a launch of Effingut Brewerkz’s Sorachi Ace Saison and meet several fellow Craft Beer enthusiasts, brewmasters and brewpub owners whilst there. A lot of new friendships were forged.
The Discussion & Recipe
Several of the these guys started a discussion on January 11 about creating a new beer for Effingut Brewerkz, a brewpub located in Koregaon Park. Deciding what to brew was an interesting exchange of ideas online that I was fortunate to be a part of. Head Brewer Mukteshwar Tripathi and owner Manu Gulati pooled in their ideas too, of course.
Twenty four hours later, on January 12th, after much discussion it was decided that a Dark Marzen styled brew would be created. A Marzen is a Bavarian beer that takes its name from two months of the calendar – March and October (spelled März and Oktober in German). This lager was typically brewed in anywhere from March to October when it was less susceptible to spoilage. Historically this was a dark (dunkel) lager that was drinkable by the time Oktoberfest was celebrated. Today, the Marzen is much lighter in color and body.
The beauty of Craft Beer is the number of variables that can be tweaked to produce a new style of Beer. Lagers take around 3 weeks to condition and the folks in Pune were quite eager to get this brew from grain to glass in about 2 1/2 weeks time. The solution – use an ale yeast and condition for 2 weeks instead.
With the grain bill comprising of a mixture of 4 different types of malt (light, dark caramel and black), an Indian twist was needed and it was quickly decided that Jaggery would be added. The idea was to create this – A dark medium bodied session beer with a rich malty profile finishing with the sweetness from the jaggery with 5.5% ABV with bitterness at 22 IBUs.
Jaggery has several health benefits such as being a digestive, acts as a detox, rich in minerals and antioxidants and is a healthy natural sweetener.
Here’s what Beer enthusiast Manu Misra had to say about the whole recipe collaboration process:
“I was surprised at the amount of work we got done in the first 24 hours. The 4-5 recipes were formulated with speed and the selection/voting process was enjoyable.”
The Effingut team went to work sourcing ingredients and the brew day took place on Jan 26th. The team brewed a 550 liter batch.
Manu Misra, Sapan Maniyar, Sameer Madan,Heramb Arjunwadkar, Saurabh Patwardhan,
Ameya Kale & Shaun helped brewed this batch along with Head Brewer Mukeshwar Tripathi.
Bravo Guys – Well Done!
The next task was picking out a suitable name and designing a poster. Naming didn’t take too long and the name Effingut Jag was decided on, as well as the launch date.
On Monday 15th February at 7:30pm as promised the Keg was tapped at Effingut. Several Craft Beer enthusiasts, influencers from the Pune blogging community, members of the media were amongst those who attended the launch.
What they set out to do: A dark medium bodied session beer with a rich malty profile finishing with the sweetness from the jaggery with 5.5% ABV with bitterness at 22 IBUs.
I couldn’t make it over for the launch but this is what some of the folks had to say about the Ale:
“A perfect balance between sweetness of jaggery and bitterness of hops. Creamy mouthfeel along with medium body and moderate carbonation” – Saurabh P
“Rich, dark and stunning amber color with a creamy tan head. Perfect balance of malts, hops and jaggery on the nose. Silky smoothness on the palate and a sweet finish makes it an easy drinking and highly enjoyable beer” – Ameya K
Saurabh, one of the enthusiasts/brewers flew into Bangalore on Tuesday from Pune and brought a sample of the Effing Jag with him for me to sample and these are my notes:
SRM ~30 Dark Brown/Very Dark Brown. Unfiltered – Opaque.
Off white creamy head, good carbonation and head retention.
Toffee, Caramel – Sweet on the nose. Very little hop aroma as expected from Magnum hops.
Creamy, smooth, medium bodied with a taste profile that mirrors the aroma, sweet but not overdone, some of the malt notes coming through with a very mild bitter finish.
If you have a sweet tooth and like toffee/caramel then this is the brew for you. Not too heavy on the body or sweet making it very sessionable. Consider all the health benefits of Jaggery and you’ve got a winner in this glass.
So, we’ve seen three collaborative brews launched in the last five months in Pune and Mumbai. We can expect Bangalore to follow shortly and so far there are a couple of brewpubs interested doing such brews.
Why are collaborations important?
Making Craft Beer is an art form in itself and must be treated and promoted in that manner. Those who truly take delight in being enthusiasts, home brewers, brewers or owners must take it upon themselves to enlighten others about this wonderful art form.
Collaborations either those that are done with other breweries or Craft Beer enthusiasts are a sign of unity in the Craft Beer movement and they promote camaraderie.
There are plenty of short-sighted business owners today who scoff at such ideas simply because they have more Beer flowing off their taps than they can produce and they see other Craft brewers as competition. In the long run, such businesses may or may not survive. One can hope that such people either change for the better or exit the business.
Those who remain passionate, stay true to the art of Craft, work together and are innovative will win in this business and help promote Craft Beer across India.
Well done Team Effingut and all the local Craft Beer enthusiasts who helped create the Effin Jag. Cheers to all of you and Stay Frothy!
If you’d like to stay connected with Effingut Brewerkz, you can find them on Facebook here
All Images Courtesy: Effingut , Hops & Tales Of Froth