Arbor Brewing Company, here in Bangalore is one of the top the brewpubs in the city and since 2012 have been churning out quality, true to style Craft Beers as well as pushing the envelope with seasonal specials. It’s no surprise that this happens to be one of my favorite brewpubs and conveniently located close to my residence.
On Feb 20, 2016, The Bangalore Brew Crew (a collective of amateur brewers) brewed a collaboration brew with Arbor Brewing Co. I was a part of brew day back then and helped name the beer Betel Juice and promote it online. What a wonderful experience that turned out to be. Karthik Singh’s recipe was a hit.
Betel Juice made its rounds on the internet and social media and in news publications across the country. It was a success and the 1,000 L batch sold out in 3 weeks upon its release on April 05, 2016. Its success in my opinion can be attributed to the use of indigenous ingredients such as local lemongrass and fresh betel leaves. You’ll find a link to references at the bottom of this post.
There are quite a few specials that I have enjoyed at Arbor over the years including the Buzzsaw DIPA, Coldwar Coffee Stout, their Barrel Aged Sours & lastly Betel Juice. I’ve been asking management over the last 2 years to do another batch of Betel Juice and finally my prayers were answered when the Craft Brewers Association Of India (CBAI) and Brewnation selected Arbor to be the host for a second round of their “Brew Talk” series. Brew Talks – This is a new initiative with CBAI and the first of the series was done at Windmills Craftworks in November/December.
Ankit Sethi from Brewnation, Rohit Parwani (CBAI) along with the team from Arbor – Matt & Rene Greff (Arbor’s Co-founders), Gaurav Sikka (MD Arbor India), Hollis (Head Brewer), Arjun Tale (Asst Brewer) & the rest of the brewing team along with Karthik Singh (Head Brewer at Brewsky & co-founder of the Bangalore Brew Crew) made all of this possible.
Tales of Froth, The Beer Chronicles & Brewer World were chosen as Media Partners for the event.
Brew Day – Wednesday Jan 31st
This time it wasn’t just the 4 of us brewing with the Arbor Team but rather a collection of those involved in the industry including brewers from several different brewpubs across the city & operations managers, as well as those who are involved in the Craft brewing industry.
Here are few moments from Brew Day before we dive into the ingredients.
All of us had a great time brewing this beer together and it’s always good to see the brewing community get closer together with such events. Not only does knowledge gets shared but new friendships and networks end up being formed.
The folks at Arbor always look after us and this time it was no different. They set out a table for us and gave us a lovely feast. There’s nothing like breaking bread with those in the brewing community and sharing a few pints.
Batch Size – 1,000 L
The beauty of Craft Beer is that no two batches need be the same. Betel Juice was a hit the last time around but like everything in life could now do with a few subtle tweaks
IREKS Malt – (http://www.ireks-malz.de/Malt-for-brewing.htm)
90% Pale Ale
The malt bill Is slightly different from its predecessor – use of Pale Ale malt now instead of Pilsner and less Munich malts. Essentially less sweetness and more crispness form the Pale Ale malt and lower Munich malt impacts the color of the beer. Betel Juice V 1.0 had a color profile similar to the Raging Elephant IPA whereas V 2.0 now looks very similar to the Beach Shack IPA. We’ll compare the colors when we get to the tasting notes later on in the blog post.
YCH Hops – (https://ychhops.com/varieties/citra-brand-hbc-394-cv)
Bittering, Flavor & Aroma – All Citra from YCH – HBC 394
Once again a difference from the previous version. 1.0 used German noble hops – Hallertauer for bittering and a mix of Citra & Cascade for flavor/aroma.
This time around for V 2.0, to keep the flavors cleaner and let the other ingredients shine, Citra was used during for all 3 applications – kettle additions (60 mins -bittering, & 20 mins – flavor) and during whirlpool (aroma)
Citra’s hop profile – Citrus & Tropical fruit work well with lemongrass and does not clash with the spicy/bitter notes from the betel leaves.
200 Fresh Betel Leaves
20 kg Fresh Lemongrass
With Betel Juice 1.0 two types of leaves were used – one more intense than the other. With 2.0 the lower intensity leaves were chosen in order to keep the flavor profile balanced with the lemongrass.
Lemongrass and the leaves (in muslin cloth) were added to the boil at flameout.
BRY 97 – American West Coast Ale Yeast.
Clean ale yeast with neutral aromas & flavor. Works very well for Pale Ales.
Dry yeast – rehydrated and left to sit for half an hour before pitching.
Hear from Betel Juice’s creator Karthik Singh (now head brewer at Brewsky) and Head Brewer at Arbor, Hollis Coats.
Launch Day – Tuesday Feb, 20th
Betel Juice was brewed on January 31st and 3 weeks later ready to be put on tap for the first time.
Once again a closed invitation was generated for members of CBAI and the brewing community in Bangalore for the launch.
We had a few people present about various topics before we we did a tasting of Betel Juice.
George Jacob from The Beer Chronicles started off the session by addressing the attendees and ensuring that we had a few laughs.
Gaurav Sikka (Arbor India’s MD) was next along with Matt & Rene Greff (Arbor’s Co-Founders). He shared the amazing story of how Arbor Brewing Company India came to be in 2012. Matt and Rene shared their stories of their early days of brewing, how they started a brewpub and then moved into production and their journey to India. They also gave future brewers advice.
Robert Beck – Head Brewer for Arbor’s new production brewery in Goa walked us through the challenges of moving from a brewpub type model to a production brewery and the differences between commercial and craft production. A very insightful discussion indeed.
We are all looking forward to Arbor’s beers on shelves in Goa and the rest of the country later this year.
Ankit Sethi, founder of Brewnation then took us through the latest hop trends including Cryo Hops from YCH – similar to “cold pressing” hops to extract maximum hop flavor.
There is a crop surplus at the moment and that simply means prices should come down per kg. Popular hops being used in in India include American C hops such as Citra, Cascade, Centennial, as well as Mosaic, Simcoe & Amarillo, German/Czech/Slovenian noble hops, Australian Galaxy hops, Nelson Sauvin & Motueka from NZ, Fuggles/EKG from the UK and so on.
We then heard from Karthik Singh & Hollis – the background on Betel Juice and how Betel Juice 2.0 is different and the recipe.
If you look carefully, you’ll see Hollis in the second picture!
We all helped ourselves to Betel Juice pints and Rohit Parwani from CBAI closed out the presentation.
The “Brew Talks” series is such a great initiative and these gathering are informative and we also have a lot of fun, as well.
Ishaan Puri, founder of White Rhino Brewing Co graced us with his presence later on in the evening. Everyone is looking forward to White Rhino finally launching in Bangalore.
Betel Juice V 2.0 6.3% ABV | 38 IBU
Straw/Yellow in appearance, hazy with fluffy white head. Medium carbonation.
The aroma is an interesting – it starts off with the citrusy notes from the lemongrass and then gives way to spicy aroma from the Betel leaves used to make this brew.
On the palate you definitely get the citrus notes from the lemongrass a delicate touch of sweetness, spiciness/sting from the Betel leaves ending with a nice malty note and slight bitter finish.
Compared to what we made 2 years ago, this version is definitely much more refined or rather balanced. This beer will continue to change in character as it ages. I suggest trying it now and then later on and comparing your notes. Last time, the lemongrass faded and the Betel leaves took over the aroma and flavor profile.
You can see how version 2.0 on the left looks quite different from version 1.0 on the right.
If you’re wondering what to pair this with, don’t think too much. It’s a pale ale that will work well with spicy and rich food. I tried this the other day with the smoky sunday bacon pizza and it worked well. You can also see that the beer has further clarified and the lemongrass aroma is not as prominent as before.
On tap now – go get your Betel fix before it runs out. As I write this blog post, Arbor have sold 500 liters of Betel Juice – there’s only half left! Go!
Hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post. As always don’t forget to say:
Cheers & Stay Frothy!
JJ The Keg
Where To Find Betel Juice 2.0
Arbor Brewing Company India, 8, 3rd Floor, Allied Grande Plaza, Diagonally Opposite Garuda Mall, Magrath Road, Brigade Road.
Contact: +91 8050144477, 080 67921222
Find Them on Facebook: – https://www.facebook.com/arborbrewindia
- Betel Juice 1.0 Blog Post
- Craft Brewers Association Of India – Facebook Page
- Brewnation – Raw Materials for Brewing & More
- Bangalore Brew Crew
- The Beer Chronicles
- Brewer World Magazine