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Gurgaon’s first Collaboration Brew


The Background

In June of this year, the first ever Beer Week took place in Gurgaon – a week long celebration of Craft Beer. I was invited to be a co-host during the week long festivities from helping launch the festival to judging Beer cocktails, conducting crawls, workshops and finally picking out the best Craft Beer among the 22 participating breweries.

What was immediately clear that one did not have a vast selection of Beer styles in Gurgaon and hence forth we had to narrow our criteria down to:

  • Best Light Lager/Ale
  • Best Hefeweizen/Wit
  • Best Porter/Stout
  • Best IPA

Finding Beers that were brewed to style was a challenge largely due to a combination of factors ranging from green beer being put on tap due to high demand and smaller brewhouses to palates not ready for anything remotely hoppy. Several brewpubs tend to serve beers that are far too sweet with a generous amount of carbonation yet lacking the balance from you’d expect from hops. There are exceptions however and these were the brewpubs that were selected to win awards during Beer Week.

 

It is also quite hard to find a Belgian Tripel, Saison, Rauchbier, Bock, Gose, Mead and so forth – Beers that you do find quite easily in cities like Mumbai, Pune or Bangalore.

Ishan Grover is  a head brewer and consultant who represents RJ Brewing Solutions, a company that has set up over 30+ brewpubs across India and actively brews at several brewpubs in Gurgaon. In May, Ishan had contacted me after reading about Betel Juice -a collaboration brew I had helped brew with the Bangalore Brew Crew at Arbor Brewing Company. During our phone conversation we talked about ideas to create a few new recipes for Gurgaon and possibly do a collaboration brew in Gurgaon which was something that had never been done.

Collaboration brews either between brewpubs or between beer enthusiasts are one of the means by which new recipes can be brewed for the public and a means by which Craft Beer awareness can be increased. In countries such as the US where Craft Beer has grown exponentially over the last couple of decades, collaborative brews were instrumental in helping expand this segment. Today there are over 4,600 Craft Breweries in the US. In India we have over 60 breweries that have sprung up since 2008 but that number is growing exponentially. This is the right time to do more collaborations.

Beer Week

Thean, Archit, Ishan and JJ at Beer Week Gurgaon, June 2016

During Beer Week, I met my fellow co-hosts – Ishan Grover and Thean Kruger. Thean, a landscape architect & Beer enthusiast has turned pro brewer and now actively consults at a few breweries. We had plenty of down time to sit down and discuss Gurgaon’s local Craft Beer scene. Thean with a decade of homebrewing under his belt from South Africa and Ishan with his Masters in Brewing from Herriot-Watt University in Scotland both agreed that Gurgaon desperately needed some new brews to shake up the landscape.

The Bangalore Brew Crew had to come up with something unique to brew in Gurgaon. Karthik Singh, Vivek Maru (co-founders of the Bangalore Brew Crew) and I had already started a preliminary discussion with Ishan a few weeks prior about potential recipes. A few weeks later Ishan had flown down to Bangalore for Farzi Cafe’s launch – the first Farzi Cafe with a brewhouse (installed by Ishan’s company). All of us got a chance to meet up in person and discuss progress made.

A few weeks later, the concept for the collaboration brew was finalized. The lads would brew two ales at two different locations in Gurgaon in early August.

GGN BLR Collab Brew

The Concept

“For decades now there have been differences that have divided the North and the South ranging from physical distance to cultural diversity. There is no better time for unity than now as India is in the global spotlight. Craft Beer is rising in this nation and we feel it is time to showcase a Beer that bridges all cultural divides in India”

A collaboration between the Beer Enthusiasts & Brewers of the Bangalore Brew Crew & RJ Brewing Solutions at LAGOM Kitchen+Brewery and Quaff

 

Event partners: TaLeS of FrOtH and The Thirsty Monks (A 16,000 strong FB group of alcohol enthusiasts in Gurgaon and Delhi).

The Brew

The one style that nobody that you cannot find in Gurgaon but do find occasionally in Bangalore is a Saison.

What are Saisons?

Saisons are fruity & spicy, light farmhouse ales originally from the Belgian province of Wallonia that were brewed at the end of winter for summer. Typically this style is light to medium bodied, dry, high in carbonation with a long lasting head, fruity & spicy, low in bitterness and slightly malty. Saisons typically have a mixed grain bill with fruity esters and spicy phenols being produced by the yeast but can have spice additions to enhance spiciness and fruitiness.

One of my favorites has to be Brasserie Dupont’s Saisons. One of the classic Belgian Saisons that has a mixed malt bill with wheat and the Belgian yeast that give it that characteristic peppery taste and citrusy aroma.

Brewday

Brewday was on August 6th at Quaff and August 7th at Lagom. Karthik and Vivek Singh flew up to Gurgaon from Bangalore on August 5th just in time for Brewday.

Quaff – Hibiscus Saison 

hibiscus.jpg

Batch Size: 300 liters

Grain Bill: Pale ale, Vienna and Wheat
Yeast: Danstar Belle Saison

Additions: Re hydrated hibiscus flowers added at flame out (last 5 mins of boil) until the whirlpool. More will be added once primary fermentation is completed.

Local alcobev freelance writer Karnia Aggarwal was present during brewday at Quaff along with Ishan, Thean, Vivek, Karthik & the rest of the Quaff crew.

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Lagom – Pepper clove Saison

Indian_Spices.jpg

Batch Size:  200 Liters

Grain Bill: Pale ale, Vienna and Wheat
Yeast: Danstar Belle Saison

Additions: Fresh Black Pepper added during  whirlpool. Clove will be added once primary fermentation is completed.

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Release Dates:  These Saisons should take approximately 3 weeks to mature and condition. Once they are deemed fit for consumption, you can expect a launch party at both Quaff & Lagom.

Tales Of Froth will be hosting the launch along with The Thirsty Monks and you’ll get to meet all of us and of course sample these new beers!

Stay Tuned for Part II with details of the launch party and tasting notes. We will be coming up with some special names for these beers prior to their launch.

Cheers!

JJ The Keg


Images Courtesy: Beer Week, Ishan Grover, Bangalore Brew Crew, Wikipedia & Tales Of Froth

2 thoughts on “The C Word GGN | The Story

  1. Pingback: The C Word | Ekta | TaLeS Of FrOtH

  2. Pingback: Ekta’s Launch | TaLeS Of FrOtH

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