The Sherp spent Friday evening at The Craft Brew Festival, Mumbai’s first large-scale beer festival, and came away satisfied with all the guzzled happiness.
Take the city’s summer, and beer is everyone’s favourite buddy, especially at festivals. And to have a festival around beer entirely was pretty much our dream come true. So we obviously had lots of expectations before walking into High Street Pheonix’s The Craft Brew Festival. And suffice it to say, they were met wonderfully. Read on to find out how.
When we were told that the festival will be organised on an open terrace on top of one of High Street Phoenix’s buildings, we were a little sceptical because of how hot Mumbai evenings can be. The only respite was the cold and chilled (hopefully) beer awaiting us. But it was an extremely pleasant arrangement.
The parking lot cum terrace section was cleared off and decorated modestly, with warm yellow bulbs hanging from the wires in the air. There were simple chairs laid out, enough for everyone who’d turned up, along with beer and food stalls relegated to separate sections. Porta-loos were arranged on the same terrace, which was a lot more convenient for the gathered set of beer connoisseurs. There were also standing fans arranged at regular intervals, making it a lot cooler than it could have been. We genuinely appreciated the foresight!
The burp collection
We were promised craft beers by famous city brew makers like Doolally Craft Beers (and a Cider!), Gateway Brewing Co. The White Owl, Independence Brewing Company, Effingut Brewerkz and TJs Brew Works together! And while each stall had, on an average, three to four beers on the menu, and we did wish for more variety, the beers present were enough to keep people going for the evening. We almost did not dislike any beer we had and here are a few of our picks:
Doolally’s Apple Cider V/S Ace (Cider) from The White Owl
One of us promptly picked the Ace from The White Owl, while the other chose Doolally’s Apple Cider, as the latter is meant to be slightly sweeter in comparison. And while we absolutely loved both, the choice of beer rests with the drinker preferring a sweeter or a non-sweeter version of an apple-brewed beer.
Hefeweizen from Doolally V/S Hefeweizen from Effingut Brewerkz
The light beer was extremely well fermented, like a pale ale, and was popular among those who favour wheat beers. Pretty much on similar vein was the Heifezen from Effingut, which was well fermented as well. We couldn’t pick the better beer of the two, so we’ll settle for both, one glass each.
Bohemian Pilsner from Independence Brewing Company
What we love about the Bohemian Pilsner is that even though it is a slightly more bitter a beer, it settled comfortably, without any fuss onto our taste buds, much like the regular bottled beers we’re prone to having, except way richer.
The White Zen from Gateway Brewing Co.
This German root beer is quite easy and fruity on the senses apart from being very light.
Halcyon from The White Owl
What we very clearly appreciated about Halcyon was its moderation. It was just the right amount of light, just the right amount of flavour, and just rightly fermented. In spite of its regularity, it shone because of its absolutely clear taste.
Devil’s Dark Brew from TJs Brew Works
This dark, stout beer was the perfect antithesis to the lighter ones like The White Zen enabling us to hope on to the dark side. Not very bitter but leaves behind a lingering chocolate aftertaste.
While the entry price for the event may have seemed outwardly high at first, the package deal made it completely worth it. At a 1500 INR entry price, you could avail four free beers and a voucher from the popular Jean Claude Biguine salon, along with the first 100 buyers winning Quicksilver t-shirts. With the beers priced anywhere between 250 to 400 INR, it was comfortably priced.
While beer guzzling was the primary objective of the night, there were adequate number of food stalls on offer featuring some of the city regulars like Bombay Blue, Noodle Bar, Punjab Grill and Wraps and Rolls. The music at the event was kickstarted by a bunch of beatboxers who weren’t quite adept at involving the crowd. The music then progressed to some electronic playlists. While we would have preferred a lighter, acoustic set up, in tune with the mood of the evening, we’re fine that the beer walked away with all the attention.
The first attempt at putting together a beer festival was highly commendable. It was extremely well organised and assembled. We’re excited to see what they have in store for the second edition, but we know we’re looking forward to more beers on the menu. One of the better festivals we’ve been to this year, for sure!
(images by: Anupama Khedkar & Meher Manda | Festival Sherpa)