Craft Beers & Food To Drool Over

6 Craft Beer & Food Pairings To Try In Bangalore


 

With almost 30 brewpubs in the city and that number increasing to over 50 within the next 18-24 months, there’s plenty of Craft Beer to choose from. Let’s rejoice!

There are a handful of brewpubs doing a great job in producing some excellent styles there are consistently good or unique and they deserve due credit, a pat on the back and all the glory.

Well done owners for letting your brewing teams truly embrace the meaning of what it is to brew a handcrafted small batch Craft Beer without any shortcuts. Cheers to all the Brewers who follow these principles! 

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been visiting quite a few different breweries that have produced some top class brews that I’ve been sharing on the Tales Of Froth channels and on the Friends Of Froth group but it makes sense to compile these great finds into one post.

In Bangalore the distances one has to travel may seem quite small but travel times are significantly longer due to poor infrastructure and urban planning. Mini crawls are fun to do, if you can focus on 2-3 breweries in the same geographical area.

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Bangalore Traffic – Image Sourced from BBC.com

Some of the styles you see here are unique and some you’ll commonly find in the city but the Beers that have made the list below have stood out as being very well made Beers and this isn’t just my opinion but several of our Friends Of Froth group have come to the same conclusion.

Do keep in mind that batch consistency sometimes does vary and some of these beers chosen may or may not be on tap when you decide to visit. Always call ahead to check availability.

I’ve chosen a Beer from each location and where possible included what to pair these Beers with. Food pairing is not just reserved for Wine and other spirits but Beer specifically Craft Beer styles pair wonderfully with a wide variety of dishes ranging from appetizers to mains and yes, desserts! The list is not ranked but arranged according to location.

The next time you head over to a brewpub, try pairing your food and let us know what happens. You can find some general guidelines on pairing food with Beer at the bottom of this post.


(Please note that all the Best Brewpubs are not in this list. For a complete list of brewpubs in the city and a listing of the Best Ones, please refer to the post at the bottom of this post).

 1.  Windmills Craftworks – Whitefield

Windmills Smash IPA.jpeg

SMaSH IPA (India Pale Ale)

The new special on tap at Windmills. Yes if you have 10 pints of this, you’d get smashed but that’s not what this Beer was designed for.

SMaSH stands for Single Malt and Single Hop and as the name suggests involves using one type of malt and one type of hop for the entire brewing process. Several IPAs are typically brewed with a mixed malt grain bill and several different types of hops (2-8 is what I’ve come across so far).

Just like cooking, sometimes the simplest of ingredients makes the dish really stand out. In this case, using English Maris Otter malt with American Simcoe dual purpose hops (good for bittering and aroma/flavor) works really well.

The result is a light to medium bodied Beer that is golden, slightly hazy with good carbonation and head retention that is visually pleasing.

On the nose, bready notes mixed in with the piney/earthy aromas with slight fruity/citrus notes from the Simcoe hops revealing themselves. On conditioning some more, the fruity aromas that are currently quite mild will be more prevalent. In other words, keep going to Windmills on multiple occasions to see how the flavor and aroma profile mutates!

On the palate, the aromatics transpose themselves to the palate and you get hints of bready/grainy/biscuit like notes from the malt wonderfully balanced by the bitterness from the simcoe. The apparent perceived bitterness is a lot lower hence and this feels like it’s in the 40+ IBU range with a short, dry finish.

With this beer you truly appreciate the simplicity of this malt and the wonderful bouquet from the Simcoe hops. No wonder this hop is one of the top ten varieties in the Craft Beer market today.  Well done Windmills Brewing Team – JD, Shaan & Manish.

Food Pairing:

Windmills Cheesy Garlic Bread

Vegetarian

In keeping with the simpleton theme, I’d recommend a simple dish like this Garlic Bread smothered in melted cheese to pair with the SMaSH IPA.

The richness of the cheese is broken down by the Simcoe hops and the Maris Otter malt complements the bread itself with it’s bready/biscuit like contribution. The hops help bring out the robust character of the garlic additionally but not overboard. If you want to spice things up, use the chilli dipping oil. Overall, this works very well for this IPA.

Non-Vegetarian

Try one of the burgers at windmills. The Business Lunch specials work well – a simple Cheese burger, Beef Picante, potato wedges, salad and soup of the day.  The versatile SMaSH IPA will help cut through the fat in these dishes and bring out the heat in the picante.

windmills-burger


2. Biergarten Brewery & Kitchen – Whitefield

 

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Kolsch (Ale)

The Kolsch style, originally from Cologne (Köln) , Germany is a hybrid ale that is lagered (stored for conditioning) to mimic lager like characteristics. It is fermented at warmer temperatures like a normal ale then lagered at colder temperatures until the described flavor profile is attained.

The brewers at Biergarten have replicated this style accurately.  As expected – yellow in color, slightly hazy, high carbonation and good head retention, light bodied, crisp, malty, has a hint of fruity (berry) notes on the nose and is low in bitterness with a nice slightly dry finish.

Overall, a refreshing alternative to a lager that is definitely sessionable and apt for any time of day or night. Biergarten are currently brewing another batch of this. So do pay attention to when this is out on tap next – well worth the wait.

If unavailable, substitute with the Lager.

Great job Biergarten Brewing Team – Lalit & Pradip

Food Pairing:

Sausage Platter Biergarten.jpeg

Non-Vegetarian

When drinking a German style Beer, think like the Germans do. What goes best with a nice crispy ale? Sausages/Bratwurst.

Biergarten’s Sausage Platter works like a charm. An assortment of different pork & chicken sausages, crispy bacon, sauerkraut (pickled cabbage) and two types of mustard. The spritzy kolsch helps cut through the mild spiciness and richness of the sausages and the heat from the mustard.

Vegetarian

If you’re a vegetarian, then try pairing the Kolsch with the Feta & Garlic Mushrooms on herb Ciabatta bread. Once again the crisp Kolsch helps cut through the cheese and balances out the garlic from this dish.

BG Feta & Mushrooms


3. Farzi Cafe – UB City

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Masala Saison (Ale)

The Belgians have always had Beers where the malt and yeast take center stage rather than hops. The Saison (Season in French) has evolved from the seasonal ale farmers brewed for their seasonal workers and the main character of this Beer comes from the Belgian Saison yeast. The clove and pepper like phenols tend to dominate instead of the fruity esters in this case.

Incorporating an Indian twist was central to creation of this recipe. To complement the existing phenolic aromas and flavors from the yeast, freshly ground pepper and clove are infused into this brew.

Pale, golden ale with high effervescence with a long lasting dense head that is hazy in appearance. Spicy notes of pepper and clove dominate with very subtle hints of citrus (lemons, oranges) mixed in with soft alcohol notes. Medium bodied ale that is high in carbonation, crispy, fruity (citrusy), spicy (peppery & clove) with a grainy mouthfeel that is dry and with a slight bitter finish. This beer has layers of complexity on account of the yeast used and on warming will have some notes of alcohol and a slight amount of tartness on the palate.

Nailed It Massive Brewing Team – Ishan, RJ, Ripan & Chandra

Food Pairing:

Farzi Pork Belly

Non-Vegetarian

The spicy Delhi Belly – Pork Belly here pairs perfectly with the Masala Saison. The spicy clove and pepper notes from the beer work well with the pomegranate spiced chutney on the belly and the bitterness from the cloves and hops helps balance out the sweetness of the chutney.  The saison’s carbonation helps cut through the soft fat of the pork belly, as well.

Vegetarian

Don’t laugh but Saisons pair really well with Italian food – the crispness and peppery notes from the Beer work well with this cuisine.

Try the Mac and Cheese Pakora Bites. The higher alcohol and carbonation in the Saison help cutting down the richness of the cheese and the clove and pepper work as seasoning for the pakoda along with the garlic sauce that accompanies the dish.

Farzi Mac and Cheese

 


 

4. The Druid Garden – Sahakara Nagar

DG Dunkel Lager

Bohemian Dunkel Lager

The Bohemian Dunkel was in existence a long time before the Pilsner was ever created and was around at the time of King Wenceslas.  A typical Czech dark lager needs to have a roasty character that is malt forward and complex with a hint of bitterness from the hops.

Druid’s Bohemian Dunkel Lager  – Please do not confuse this style with a a Stout but a dark lager with plenty of dark chocolate and caramel notes but is light to medium bodied and easy to drink.

Dark in appearance on account of the dark chocolate specialty malts used with an off white head. On the nose, hints of dark chocolate and caramel and if you really search for it hints of coffee.  Light to medium bodied, crispy (high in carbonation) with the aroma transposing itself to the palate, rich in malt flavors with a low bitter finish and slightly creamy in texture.

Czech Brewer Ladislav is on top of his game – Cheers!

Food Pairing:

Druid Garden Beef Burger

 

Non-Vegetarian

The triple patty 100% Beef Burger at The Druid Garden is a real treat. Proper cheese and you’ll see the toppings are on the bottom bun – caramelized onions, smoked mayo and more. Perfectly cooked as instructed without the meat drying out – excellent.

Burger with Beer

 

The only feedback – the bun though toasted wasn’t able to support the fillings, so had to use a knife and fork – no biggie. Paired with the Dunkel lager – the char of the meat, the smoked mayo and the caramelized onions pair well with the toffee/caramel/roasted notes from malts used to make the Dunkel.

Try this yourself and see!

Vegetarian

This makes for an interesting pairing. The Chipotle Vegetable Tacos are bite sized soft tacos filled with mushrooms, peppers, corn & a pumpkin seed gremolata (condiment) smothered in chipotle sauce.

The toffee/caramel and roasty notes from the Dunkel work well with the roasted peppers and mushrooms.  The rich malty flavors work well with the taco shells themselves and help tame the spices in the chipotle sauce.

Appetizer 1
Chipotle Veg Taco

 

5. Arbor Brewing Co – MG Road

Pelican

Pelican Wheat – American Wheat (Ale)

The Pelican Wheat at Arbor is a delight. An American style Wheat where the yeast doesn’t contribute to the flavor profile – no esters or phenols.

Gold in appearance, with the haze normally associated with normal Hefeweizens complete with a thick, foamy, white head. On the nose citrus/spicy hop aromas along with the breadiness you come to expect from wheat beers.

The flavor is from the grains – some sweetness,  and a nice smooth medium bodied grainy mouthfeel, fruity/spicy notes  and ending slightly bitter from the bittering hops used and yes that slice of orange.  Use the orange to accentuate flavors, so don’t be afraid to put that slice in the glass!

If you like Bell’s Oberon (Michigan), you’ll love the Pelican. The next Pelican batch should be out soon (week beginning September 11 ), do check with your server at Arbor.

Cheers ABC Brew Crew – Team Hollis & Arjun – you guys are on fire!

Food Pairing:

Flaming Chicken at Arbor

Non-Vegetarian

The Flaming Chicken at Arbor is made with grilled chicken marinated in a chilli sauce made with citrus peels, lemon, garlic, pepper and bay leaves.

To quench the flames, the sweetness from the Pelican helps and the citrus and spices complement the sauce in this dish. Essentially, you’ll be wanting more of the flaming chicken in between sips which is actually a fun activity. Great for situations where there isn’t much social interaction taking place and excellent for hand to mouth motor co-ordination.

Vegetarian (Sort Of)

Did someone say Twisted Poutine? Traditional Poutine from Quebec is something else – French Fries smothered in cheese curds and rich beef gravy – essentially comfort food.

In India, it’s difficult to replicate but I like Arbor’s twist here. Instead of French Fries, Lyonnaise potatoes, cheese curds, house made beef gravy, green onion and fried onions. Well the cheese curds look like cheddar cheese blocks (that’s ok!)

Vegetarians, you can ask the staff to serve you a gravy without the beef or skip the beef gravy. 

The Pelican pairs well with the cheddar in the dish and makes for a different pairing. Had I focused on the gravy and the fried onions, I would probably opted to pair this with a Stout but hey let’s be different from the masses! The sweetness from the wheat compliments the sweetness from the onions and the citrus notes from the beer spritz up the potatoes.

If you dare, try this when the Pelican is next on tap.

Arbor Lynonaise Poutine

 


 

6. Toit – Indiranagar

Toit Dark Knight

Dark Knight – Irish Dry Stout

I’ve heard people complain they haven’t been able to find a good Guinness doppelganger or substitute in Bangalore. If you really know Beer and you look hard enough, it doesn’t take long to find an Irish Dry Stout much alike Guinness right here in the city. (No, you can’t find Guinness in Bangalore and I doubt you will in the short term).

After returning from a short trip to Dublin this year, the first Brewpub I hit was Toit and I had to go try the Dark Knight to see how it stacked up.

First things first, it’s tough to get Nitrogen (oh bad word these days! Oops) Beer Gas in a Stout right. Beer Gas is essentially a blend of Nitrogen and CO2 that’s used in Stout’s like Guinness. It results in a rich cascading effect on pouring/settling and most importantly a silky, creamy, velvety texture and mouthfeel.

Toit have done this right and when you look at this black beauty (dark brown almost jet black in appearance) after it has settled you’ll see that rich creamy foam head.

On the nose, notes of coffee and dark chocolate and a roasty aroma from the malts used. On the palate, you get those rich coffee and dark chocolate notes complete with the bitterness from the malt and a little from the hops along with that smooth, creamy, rich mouthfeel and yes this is a full bodied beer.

Toit’s Stout is Numero Uno in town and they have the Nitro right. It’s not surprising when you find out their Head Brewer is Irish!

Well done Toit Brew Crew – Matt, Jeffin & Manu (Hope I didn’t leave anyone out!)

Food Pairing:

Toit Brownie

I’m not going to do Veg and Non-Veg for this one. Yes, you can pair your Stout with a lot of roasted meats and so forth but where a Stout like the Dark Knight really shines is when you marry the Knight with a sinful Chocolate Raspberry Mousse.

The richness of the Stout complements the richness of the mousse and the dark Belgian chocolate works well with the chocolate and coffee stout flavors and the bitterness helps balance out the sweetness of the dessert. A match made in Heaven!

If you’re a coffee and chocolate lover, you’ve got to have a pint of this and religiously follow the pairing above or else…!


 

Conclusion

There are endless food pairings with Beer out there and it’s up to all of YOU to experiment and find things that work for your palate.

Don’t restrict your thinking or depend on the wait staff to provide you with guidance. Follow the notes in the food pairing guide listed below and sail off on your own culinary adventure.

Beer as you will discover provides a greater spectrum of food pairings than any of the other beverages out there. Just ask the Belgians – they’ll tell you!

Cheers & Stay Frothy!

 

JJ The Keg


 

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Resources:

Join the Friends Of Froth Beer community on Facebook – Click HERE to sign up

  • Bangalore Brewpubs – Complete Listing – Click HERE
  • How To Sample Beer Guide – Click HERE
  • Craft Beer & Food Pairing Guide – Click HERE

Zomato Listings:

  • Windmills Craftworks – Click HERE
  • Biergarten Brewery & Kitchen – Click HERE
  • Farzi Cafe UB City – Click HERE
  • The Druid Garden- Click HERE
  • Arbor Brewing Co – Click HERE
  • Toit – Click HERE

All Images Courtesy: Tales Of Froth

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