This article first appeared on Deccan Chronicle and is republished here only for personal use.
Mumbai: Microbreweries have given beer drinkers a legitimate reason to enjoy beer that tastes like any thing but normal unflavoured beer because craft beers are more than just about drinking chilled beer. Craft brews have been around for quite a while with people relishing different notes including citrus and clove. These different ales, lagers and stouts have made guzzlers enjoy a potent combination of flavours and beer that is nothing but pure bliss.
While restaurants have been serving quite a few craft beers from breweries like Independent Brewing Co., Gateway Brewing Company, Doolally Taproom, and Brewbot among independent beer makers, the need for a unique flavour infuser has always been felt so as to appeal to individual tastes.
Neighbourhood Hospitality’s gastropub Woodside Inn launched India’s first Beer Infuser, the Randall, in Mumbai on Friday and it is quite an interesting device. The infuser has been transported from the US and was first developed by Sam Calagione, founder of popular beer-maker Dogfish Head in 2002. Technically called organoleptic hop transducer, the machine, resident “beer geek” Abhishek Chinchalkar, tells us that it looks complicated but is actually very simple. The beer flows through a pipe under room temperature into the Randall – a cylinder filled to the brim with flavour, where it blends with the beer to come out as a chilled frothy drink.
Pankil Shah, co-owner at Woodside Inn when asked about the introduction of the Randall even though craft beers have existed previously, said, “Beer, unlike a lot of other beverages has a culture of experimentation and fun. We have tried to push the boundaries of the craft beer culture in India and the Randall is a device which allows us to have fun with craft beer when it comes to different infusions to create flavours that people would like to experiment.”
The restaurant is currently serving three different kinds of flavours at its Lower Parel outlet, namely – jasmine (mogra), rosemary and basil, betel nut (paan) and star anise (dagad phool). The flavours are infused into Gateway Brewing Company’s White Zen, Doolally’s Gose and a more common Kingfisher beer respectively that lend a delicious taste to the beers. The combinations can be deservingly credited to the experimentation of the in-house team of chefs, mixologists and beer enthusiasts, over the past few months. The jasmine flavour has a noticeable floral taste, the rosemary and basil is comparatively smooth while the Kingfisher has an interesting combination that starts with the flavour of paan to be followed by the bitterness of star anise.
The introduction of the beer infuser and its current flavours seems to indicate an increasing interest in serving people Indian-flavoured beers that would make the experience more local. Chinchalkar affirming the notion says, “Yes, we see this as a way to not only make craft beer approachable but also to carve out a unique identity for Indian craft beer on a global stage”.
Catering to the various palates, the restaurant will be giving people tasters so that they can decide on what exactly they would like. The restaurant, which also has outlets in Andheri and Colaba is experimenting with other flavours involving fresh fruits, herbs and even spices among other combinations and we can expect flavours like tangerines, cinnamon and even oak chips sometime soon.