The C Word | Betel Juice


The definition of the word Collaboration, according to Wikipedia is:

“Collaboration is the process of two or more people or organizations working together to realize shared goals.Collaboration is very similar to cooperation, and both are an opposite of competition”

Collaboration in the Craft Beer industry is not a bad word. Microbreweries/Brewpubs can collaborate with each other coming out with new Brews to promote Craft Beer. Alternatively, Beer enthusiasts can collaborate with Brewpubs, as well.

The Indian Scene

Does India need more collaboration brews? We have over 60 plus brewpubs across the nation that have all sprung up in the last eight years. This is the perfect platform to help spread awareness about Craft Beer.

Last October, Independence Brewing Co in Pune released their first collaboration brew called the Puneri Honey Basil Ale – Link

Soon after that, Gateway Brewing Co in Mumbai launched their first collaboration brew called the Kaapi Stout as part of their two year anniversary celebrations – Link

Pune did again in February with Effingut Brewerkz releasing a jaggery ale, The Effingut – Link

Bangalore seemed to be lagging behind but we were not going to sit still and talked to a few brewpubs that were keen on doing a collaboration brew. Ideas were exchanged and finally, one of Bangalore’s top brewpubs agreed.

Arbor Brewing Company India – Bangalore

Raging Elephant IPAs

Arbor Brewing Company India was set up as joint venture between partners in India and the owners of Arbor Brewing Company (Michigan) to create India’s first American Craft Brewpub. Arbor opened its doors to the Bangalore public in December, 2012.

Arbor is now one of the top brewpubs in Bangalore and by far the most experimental in terms of Craft Beer and they are now the first to do a collaboration Brew with Beer enthusiasts. They are no strangers to collaboration though.

Arbor Brewing teamed up with Gateway Brewing Co. in Nov 2014 to come up with Bombalore – a Pale Ale doused with 4 different types of hops.

Through this blog, I’ve been able to connect with several other Craft Beer enthusiasts here in Bangalore and across India. I belong to a group called the Bangalore Brew Crew. This small group is made up of die hard Craft Beer enthusiasts from various backgrounds. Several of these guys have spent time abroad learning how to brew and constantly exchange information about Craft Beer, brewing and come up with new recipe ideas.

On February 20th, Arbor invited a few of us to brew a recipe that one of our members came up with and this is how Bangalore’s first collaboration brew – Betel Juice came into being. Betel Juice was tapped on April 05, 2016.

Beetel Juice Poster Facebook

Arbor’s Viewpoint

Gaurav Sikka
Image Courtesy: TelegraphIndia.Com

Gaurav Sikka, MD of Arbor Brewing Company India shared his views on collaboration with me.

Q: What you think of collaboration in general? I know Arbor was the first to do a collab with another microbrewery  (Gateway) and the first in Bangalore to do a collab with Beer enthusiasts. 

The craft brewing industry has an inherent spirit of collaboration and since we have our roots tied to the American (especially Michigan) craft beer scene, it only made sense to introduce that vibe to the Indian craft beer community. We are amazed by the evolution of the home brewing scene and very excited to have been able to tap into the creative energies of the Bangalore Brew Crew!

Q: What do you think of Betel Juice – do you like the Brew and so far what’s the reception been like? Those who have come and tried it liked it and were all pleasantly surprised by how mellow it was. 

We’ve been known to really push the envelope with our beers and have made some really fun ones over the last few years. Logan (Head Brewer)has always been a big fan of making beers with spices, herbs and other indigenous ingredients. I think the combination of lemongrass and betel leaf has combined well to give the beer a very balanced flavor and of course the aroma of the herb and hops is just delightful.


Q: Would Arbor be open to do doing more collaboration brews either with other brewpubs or enthusiasts in the near future? 

We are always open to new ideas and collaborations – no better way to promote our craft and engage with the community!


Q: What would you like to say to Bangalore’s growing Craft Beer community?

We are constantly amazed by the wonderful support we’ve got in Bangalore. The city has got a great taste for craft beer and it’s nice to see that people get behind what we’re trying to do. Our beer is only as good as the people who drink it and spread the good word. So we hope that the community will support our long-term mission of educating as many people as we can on the joys of drinking beer that’s made locally, is fresh and full of flavor.


Betel Juice – From Grain To Glass

Crazy Sign

Head Brewers Logan and Hollis have always been approachable and friendly. The Bangalore Brew Crew’s (BBC) first ever meetup was held at Arbor.

Concept & Recipe

BBC co-founders Karthik Singh and Vivek Maru had conceptualized the recipe for a Lemongrass Paan infused ale last year. Craft Beer can be indigenous and here in India we have a variety of easily available herbs and spices that should be used to create a Beer. Their idea was to create a Beer that would resonate with Bangalore’s multi-cultural population. Lemongrass adds such a wonderful aroma and flavor to several dishes but is also an aromatic healer and has several health benefits. The Betel leaf is not only used in Paan but has several ayurvedic health benefits such as an aid for indigestion, a cure for headaches,  the common cold and acne.

The idea was to create a refreshing, light bodied ale with paan and lemongrass on the nose, slightly sweet with a balanced flavor. Lemongrass dominates the palate at the beginning and the flavor ends with a mild dry paan finish.

The initial pilot batch had great flavor but the paan flavor was a little overwhelming. Karthik worked with Logan and Hollis to balance out the recipe. Once the go ahead to brew a full batch was received, the recipe was scaled up to produce a 1,000 litre batch.

Batch Size – 1,000 L

Malt Bill – 80% Pilsner, 20% Munich

Hops – Bittering> Hallertauer , Flavor & Aroma> Citra

Adjuncts – Fresh Lemon Grass & Betel Leaves> Infused during flameout.

Conditioning Time – 2 weeks or longer



Naming the brew was an interesting process. We cycled through several names including Baba Paan and during one such sitting the name Beetle Juice popped into my head. If you’ve watched the Tim Burton classic starring Michael Keaton, Beetlejuice then you’ll understand why the name fits. Arbor is an American brewpub and our recipe was Indian and this was a perfect mash up! Hence, we all decided that the new collaboration brew was to be called Betel Juice.

Krack Inc. were called in by  Arbor to design the creatives and artwork and it turned out great!

betel juice cover


Brew Day

On February 20, 4 of us from the Bangalore Brew Crew ( Karthik, Vivek, Archit and myself) went to Arbor to help brew Betel Juice.

Brewers Logan and Hollis as well as their assistant brewer Arun showed us the ropes. Once the mashing and lautering were complete, we tried our hands at cleaning out spent grain. That’s a lot of hard work!  The next part was a lots of fun – smashing up bales of lemongrass and tearing up betel leaves. Once the boiling process began, in went the hops and during flame out we helped add in the fresh lemongrass and the betel leaves. The wort was then cooled and transferred to the fermenter and yeast pitched.

We took a sample of the wort post boil to check out the flavors – really heavy on lemongrass and paan. This was not something to worry about since flavors tend to mellow out once the Beer conditions post fermentation. The entire brewhouse and pub smelled of lemongrass – perfect!

For more on the Brewing Process – click Here

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The Finished Product & Tasting Notes

Betel Juice The Beer

We had originally planned to release Betel Juice after 2 weeks of conditioning however due to various circumstances, Betel Juice ended up being conditioned for about 6 weeks. This timespan helped balance out the flavors.

On April 05th, Betel Juice was tapped!

ABV: 6.3%

IBU: 38

A refreshing light to medium bodied ale that starts out with aromas and the flavor of lemongrass and citrus that slowly transitions to a lingering dry betel leaf finish.

Betel juice’s flavor has been evolving with time. When it was first tapped, lemongrass was more dominant on the nose and in the flavor profile. You’ll find that now the betel takes the center stage aroma and flavor wise.

For more more on sampling Beers – click Here

Media Coverage

  • The Indian Express – Betel Juice – New Beer -Read Here
  • Little Black Book – Summer Beers – Read Here (article written by me)
  • Little Black Book – Bangalore Brew Crew – Read Here
Little Black Book Beer Features – April 2016

All Images Courtesy: Arbor Brewing Company India, Tales Of Froth & Bangalore Brew Crew unless otherwise stated.

Betel Juice has now officially sold out as of April 29th. We hope Arbor Brewing will agree to brewing another batch soon!

Cheers and as always Stay Frothy!!!

Where: Arbor Brewing Company India, 8, 3rd Floor, Allied Grande Plaza, Diagonally Opposite Garuda Mall, Magrath Road, Brigade Road.

Contact: +91 8050144477, 080 67921222

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