The Sunday day out was the perfect kickback with booze, food and live music!
For its third edition, Tapped – the craft beer and food festival from Bombay– moved to its neighbour city, and Puneites had high hops to indulge in what had been brewing. The one day extravaganza boasted artisanal beer from over eight breweries across Mumbai and Pune, ten food stalls curated by Little Food Co. apart from a drinking games arena and multiple musical acts.
With some of Mumbai’s finest (Brewbot and Gateway Brewing Co.) and Pune’s distinguished brew makers (Independence Brewing Company, Effingut Brewerkz and Flambos, newcomers Kimaya Brewing Company and Great State Aleworks), offering over thirty craft beers on tap, it was a festival no zythophile would want to miss.
Working alongside the city’s premier venue High Spirits’ outdoor wing called High Out There, the organizers LAT and Little Food Co. delivered a well-flowing event with no compromises in hospitality or entertainment, which unfortunately is more than we can say for the average event in the country.
Pitcher Perfect Venue
Mundhwa is increasingly becoming the new event destination of Poona with numerous lawns, bars, restaurants and venues launching in the unexplored locale. The venue for Tapped, Balkrishna Lawns, in the same area, had previously played host to some of the biggest events in the city like the Nucleya gig and Karen Anand’s Farmer’s market.
Surprisingly easy to locate with a distinct sign, the venue also offered valet parking allowing festival goers to start the celebrations ‘schooner’ rather than later! The lawns were styled with minimalist yet chic decor and ample seating arrangements with designated areas for the stage, food stalls, games arena and tap house stalls for facilitating easy access and still making a pretty sight!
Tappin’ The Brews
Hopping over to the beer stalls, The Sherp attempted to try a brew from each of them making it the most convenient pub crawl we’ve ever been a part of. Great State Aleworks’ Witbier, a Belgian style wheat beer, known for its light hue and spiced undertones, was very authentic with light flavours of orange zest and coriander.
Bombay’s Brewbot had some unconventional choices such as the Kölsch style Skywalker
and a Mango Sour called AAMchi Mumbai apart from the cleverly named Botwork Orange (another Belgian Witber). Their Skywalker is highly recommended and also the most popular for its medium-light body and balanced flavour of not being too bitter or sweet.
We couldn’t wait to find out which taproom produced the best cider, which is often contested for its place in the beer category (since it lacks either malt or hops), but after a batch of the sour, bitter and carbony tastings we needed some sweet relief! The Sherp’s favourites were Flambos’ dark, sweet Hard Apple Cider and Effingut Brewerkz’s slightly more acidic and clearer version.
Our next taste test was for the classic Hefeweizen, with Gateway Brewing Co.’s White Zen hitting the nail on the head with their clove and banana palate. Across the eight brewhouses, many of them had variations of the humble ale from IPAs (India Pale Ale) to fruit ales to sour (Kimaya’s Golden Sour and Red Ale) and golden ales. Giving our livers (and wallets. Each serving of craft beer was priced at INR 250.) some rest, we couldn’t trye all of them but quite enjoyed Independence Brewing Company’s Peach Sour, their fruity ale bestseller and Great State Aleworks’ Off Duty Pale Ale.
More Mouthfeels – Marrying Food & Beer
One simply cannot have a craft beer festival without some perfect pairings of finger food and the likes! Some of Bombay’s best festival food was present at Tapped with Waffle
House, Pack-a- Pav, Goila Butter Chicken and Savor on the bill. Since the festival was the perfect Sunday outing for families, waffle-on- sticks were a big hit with the kids. Also us, we won’t deny – Nutella and Choconut were beyond decadent!
Pune’s Terttulia had a stall with luscious bar bites and Bubsterr’s pizza by the slice were our relish of choice. Aufside’s pork hot dogs were touted as one of the best pork preparations people had eaten.
Eat, Drink & Be Merry!
To make the whole festival experience even more wholesome, the Tapped team had a dedicated area for all the drinking games attendees could participate in. From Can Toss, Drunken Giant Jenga, Mini Golf, Tipsy Darts and Fooseball to the time-honoured Beer Pong, there was a plethora of games one had to simply register and pay for to participate in. While all the free to play games got over by 4 PM, there was an option to play 3 games for INR 100, Fooseball for INR 500 and Beer Pong Finale for INR 1000. The winning loot was all worth it though, with free drinks and beer credit at High Spirits for the winners.
While we understand that a whole lot of blood, sweat and cheers went into making Tapped happen, we wish the drinking games arena was placed in a more central area at the venue with a more welcoming and encouraging vibe. Many attendees weren’t aware of the drinking games arena and didn’t really participate in them.
Foot Tappin’ Music
To get the festival vibes going, Tapped was witness to over eight hours of live music. First up was The Orange Octopus Records’ (TOOR) ‘Untapped’ showcase featuring a roster of upcoming singer-songwriters, bands and rappers. While the singer-songwriters and acoustic bands were programmed first to ease the crowd into the mood for the rest of the day (Gates opened at 1 PM), because the festival goers were still occupied with getting their fix of their favoured brews, some of the artists expressed their disappointment with the lack of attention they received at what was primarily a beer festival. Maybe they could rethink the music curation for next time?
Even though familiar and popular covers of Coldplay, Bruno Mars and Linkin Park were performed, the TOOR artists didn’t quite manage to have the audience lend a (b)eer which is excusable considering they were amateur musicians. Rapper HIGHBREED’s set with his potent rhythm and feisty verse stood out from the Untapped showcase, however.
By late afternoon, Pune based Groove Junktion feat. Michael Pereira had Sandra Edmonds’ vocals flawlessly serenade the crowd with renditions of brunch-friendly hits like “Valerie”, “Hymn For The Weekend”, “Don’t Let Me Down” and “Shape Of You” which got many ‘lautering’ attendees grooving and joining the audience in front of the stage.
Coconut Water Band
The indie musician supergroup-esque act Coconut Water Band had closing duties performing a mix of covers and original music of each of the members (Ankur Tewari, Sidd Coutto, Clayton Hogermeer) with Mumbai bassist Nathan Thomas. With covers of classics like “Hey Jude” and “La Bamba”, the band ended our rainy, booze-filled day on a perfect note.
Ale’s Well That Ends Well
The Sherp would like to raise a toast to the Tapped team for a fabulously executed debut edition at a new city! For many of us, Tapped was an opportunity to discover and develop a palate for craft beer and learn more about the fine art of brewing. While there were no glitches with logistical or punctuality issues, which almost often qualifies for a success in the nascent events industry in India we only hope the next edition is more memorable, vibrant and la(r)ger than life.
(Images Courtesy – Aarish Bhathena)