The Best Imports of 2016

Our Picks For 8 Of The Best Bottled Beers


If you ever stop by the Tales Of Froth HQ, you’ll notice rows of empty bottles from all over the world. Now I know what your’e thinking (stereotyping) that I’m some sort of alcoholic. Don’t get me wrong I prefer savoring a pint rather than chugging one down – quality not quantity and yes I’m believer in #responsible drinking wherever or whenever plausible.

I collect empties and bottle crowns – they are souvenirs and records of the different beers I’ve tried – God only knows how many different Beers I’ve consumed in the last 20 odd years. If only Google  was around back then to keep track of all those pints – my mother would be truly ashamed!

Let’s get past all the stereotyping shall we and get to the meat of the story – What are the best Beers I’ve tried in 2016?

Classification:

  • Imported (Does not include Indian brands produced abroad).
  • Bottled
  • Currently available (Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune, Delhi or Gurgaon)

I’ve chosen a broad category of styles and tried to avoid the Beer styles that everyone in India goes crazy about – Hefeweizens and Wits. Why? The answer is simple – expand your palate and try the other styles folks! There is a whole world of Beer out there so don’t limit yourself to the same mundane style over and over again no matter wonderful those two styles are. Truth be told, Hefes and Wits are wonderful, sessionable brews that I too enjoy on occasion but let’s focus on diversity!

If you are looking for the best selection of Beers in an outlet, I highly recommend The Beer Cafe. They have over 34 outlets spread across India and usually carry over 50 types of different beers – bottles, cans and kegs.

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Styles:

  • Larger/Pilsner – Praga Pils
  • Seasonal Lager (Rauchbier) – Schlenkerla Marzen
  • Dunkel Lager – Franconia Dunkel
  • Blonde Ale – Leffe Blond
  • Brown Ale- Hobgoblin Ruby Red
  • Pale Ale -Primator English Pale Ale
  • Strong Ale – Shepherd Neame 1698 Kentish Strong Ale
  • Stout – Corvus Stout

Unfortunately there aren’t any bottled IPA’s I’ve come across in the past year – something I do hope will change in 2017. Embrace the Hops!


Praga Pilsner (Czech)

praga-pils

Country: Czech

ABV: 4.7%

Volume: 330 Ml

Style: Pilsner

Tasting Notes:

Pours golden, clear with a nice fluffy head with good head retention.

Aroma is a nice wiff of Saaz Hops on the nose as expected – smells spicy and slightly skunky – perfectly fine along with a nice malty, bready note from the malt.

Crisp, smooth , light to medium bodied, malty with a nice, pleasant hop finish. A perfect example of a traditional Czech Pilsner make by a brewery that is 200 years old and lagers this beer for up to 60 days. No adjuncts in the grain bill which is great to see. Retails for Rs. 293.50 (MRP -Bangalore) – two thumbs up from us and worth the money of you’re in the mood for a proper Czech Pilsner!

Price: MRP Rs. 293.50 (Karnataka)

Availability: Bangalore, Mumbai & Pune – Retail Liquor Outlets or at The Beer Cafe


Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen (Germany)

schlenkerla-marzen

Country:  Germany

ABV:  5.4% ABV

Volume:  500 ml

Style:  Rauchbier – Marzen (Lager)

Tasting Notes:

This Rauchbier from the German city of Bamberg is made with malt smoked over Beechwood. A Marzen is a typical German special seasonal lager that is brewed in March (Marzen) to be drunk in the spring time – typically during Oktoberfest. Marzens are typically moderately dry medium bodied malt forward lagers.

The result is outstanding – Smoky goodness that reminds you of smoked meat/bacon on the nose. With a nice creamy head, this dark brown lager is medium bodied and tastes of smoke, caramel and has lots of malty-bready notes.
.
Perfect accompaniment for anything off the BBQ. None of the brewpubs in India have made a Rauchbier close to this – well the exception maybe Doolally from Pune. Simply unmatched. 

Price: MRP Rs. 350 ( Maharashtra)

Availability: Mumbai, Pune, Delhi & Gurgaon – Retail Liquor Outlets or at The Beer Cafe


Franconia Dukel Lager (USA)

franconia-dunkel

Country:  USA

ABV:  4.8% ABV

Volume: 355 ml

Style:  Dunkel Lager

Tasting Notes:

This Craft brewery tucked away in McKinney Texas was set up in 2008 by a descendant of a German man who had a brewery in Tanna, Germany in 1800. Keeping family tradition alive in brewing traditional German styles by following the ancient German Purity Law.

This lager is brown in color and pours with a nice creamy off white head with good carbonation and lacing. On the nose you get plenty of notes from the malt – roasty, dark chocolate & burnt caramel. This aroma translates to the flavor of the brew with some malt sweetness, roasty flavors, dark chocolate and hints of dark caramel. This medium bodied brew has excellent carbonation and low bitterness. No off flavors (oxidation) detected.

The overall profile makes it extremely sessionable and a delight to drink. If you’re a fan of Stouts, this brew even though a lager albeit a dunkel comes pretty close in terms of its flavor profile – there is hope for those in Bangalore who miss Guinness or Murphy’s!

Price: MRP Rs. 361.82 (Karnataka)

Availability: Bangalore – Select Retail Liquor Outlets


Leffe Blond (Belgium)

leffe-blond

Country:  Belgium

ABV:  6.6 % ABV

Volume:  330 ml

Style:  Blonde Ale

Tasting Notes:

Typical Belgian Abbey Style Blonde copper colored ale with malty notes, caramel/vanilla  with a hint of citrus/clove and spices on the nose. This is exactly what Belgian Yeast is famous for – a variety of esters and phenol that really add to the aroma and flavor profile of Belgian brews. A hint of coriander is added to give it that touch of extra spiciness. 

This beer has medium head retention, good carbonation with a nice fluffy white head. In other words, it just looks gorgeous – you can stare at this sexy beer for a while and feel guilty about wanted to take a sip of it.
Medium to heavy on the mouthfeel with sweet, bready notes and a slight bitter, spicy finish. 

Liquid Bread indeed and a Beer that is to savored – delicious to the last drop. The Belgian monks who coined this recipe in 1240 certainly knew what they were doing.

Price: MRP Rs. 300 (Karnataka)

Availability: Pan India – Retail Liquor Outlets or at The Beer Cafe


Hobgoblin Ruby Red Ale (UK)

hobgoblin

Country:  UK

ABV:  5.2 % ABV

Volume:  330 ml

Style:  Brown Ale

Tasting Notes:

Amber Beers are always preferred and this Beer from Wychwood Brewery in the UK is absolutely wicked.
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There’s a lot more going on with this Beer than what’s written on the label.
The grain bill of chocolate and Crystal malt gives you boatloads of toffee and hints of chocolate aroma and flavor and some sweetness. This is very well balanced with resinous/spicy/fruity notes from the use of Styrian Goldings and Fuggles Hops.

The result is an Amber colored Beer with an Amber Head, fine bubbles, a stable head with all of the notes above. This medium bodied Beer starts with some sweetness, toffee, biscuit and fruitiness on the palate that gradually finishes with slight bitterness from the hops.

Overall Impression – Delicious! Savor every sip.

Price: MRP Rs. 310 (Maharashtra)

Availability – Mumbai, Pune, Delhi & Gurgaon or at The Beer Cafe


Primator English Pale Ale (Czech)

primator-english-ale

Country:  Czech

ABV:  5 % ABV

Volume:  500 ml

Style:  Pale Ale

Tasting Notes:

This brewery traces its roots back to 1871 to the Czech town of Nachod and has brewing award winning brews since then including this Beer which won first place in the Nordic Beer Challenge in 2016.

The fact that a Czech brewery can produce an award winning true to style English Pale is highly creditable.

Appearance – Rich Dark Amber, Brown, Creamy Head – Good Carbonation/Lacing/Head Retention.Aroma – Caramel, Nutty, Malty and Grassy/Earthy Hop Notes

Flavor – Malty with a lingering bitter finish from the English hops, silky and creamy mouthfeel with a medium body.

An excellent version of an English Pale Ale from Primator.

Price: MRP Rs. 325 (Karnataka)

Availability – Mumbai, Pune, Delhi & Gurgaon or at The Beer Cafe

Note – Was previously available in Karnataka in early 2016.


Shepherd Neame 1698 Kentish Strong Ale (UK)

shepherd-neame-1698

Country:  UK

ABV:   6.5% ABV

Volume:  500 ml

Style:  Strong Ale

Tasting Notes:

Triple Hopped and Bottle Conditioned, this special ESB style Ale was originally released to celebrate the tercentenary of Britain’s oldest Brewer.

You know you can expect good carbonation from bottle conditioning and a lot of biscuit, malt, toffee/caramel and some fruity/floral notes from what I’m guessing English hops. .
Exactly the case – Rich reddish/amber, color, clear with excellent carbonation and a nice head. Aroma dominated by biscuit, toffee/caramel and fruity/citrus hoppy notes.

Medium bodied with a dry finish with the flavor mirroring the aroma with a nice bitter after finish from the hops. Bitterness – IBU probably in the 35-40 range.

An absolute delight to drink this!

Price: MRP Rs. 330 (Maharashtra)

Availability – Mumbai, Pune, Delhi & Gurgaon or at The Beer Cafe


Corvus Stout (UK)

corvus-stout

Country:  UK

ABV:   4.1% ABV

Volume:  440 ml

Style:  Stout

Tasting Notes:

Brewed by Wadworth Brewery established in Wiltshire, England in 1875, this Stout is as smooth and creamy as you can get. 4.1% ABV , 440 ml can.
.
Appearance – The nitrogen widget in this can gives you a nice cascade effect with a lovely, creamy white head. This stout is black in color and opaque. Head retention is excellent with plenty of lacing.
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Aroma – Malty with notes of dark chocolate and a hint of coffee and toffee/caramel.
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Flavor – Medium bodied, malty with low bitterness, hints of sweetness, coffee and dark chocolate with a nice rich, creamy, smooth mouthfeel that does not finish as dry as a typical Irish Stout would do.
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Impression – The malted, flaked and roasted barley really adds to the flavor, body and complexity of this Stout that 
has beaten Guinness in taste tests and rightly so. This stout is extremely sessionable thanks to its smooth and subtle flavors. 

Price: MRP Rs. 500+ (UP)

Availability – Mumbai, Pune, Delhi & Gurgaon or at The Beer Cafe


cheers

Well, we hope you enjoyed reading this review. Make sure you try these Beers out and let us know your personal impressions.

Comment, Like & Share this post & don’t forget to follow Tales Of Froth on Facebook , Instagram & Twitter. (all the links are below).

Cheers, Stay Frothy & Happy Holidays Folks!

JJ The Keg


All Images Courtesy: Tales Of Froth

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