We Indians often brag about our immunity. We’re immune to mosquito swarms, street food, unwashed hands, the unknown horrors of restaurant kitchens, incompetent politicians and idiotic policies. Or so we like to think. Or so we hope. The one thing that we’ve really bred resistance to, I’ve realised, is our beer.
The beer of our semi-adulthood and the strength to live past it
Yes, our ‘beloved’ KF, its familiar older sister UB (which is mysteriously more palatable, these days), the ‘Australian’ Foster’s that has the disturbingly unpleasant flavour of home. Let’s not even go into the strongs and the reds. I’ve seen grown men from other climes or countries felled like trees by a bottle or two of our local faves. We stand puzzled and wonder whether these foreigner-people are really as cissy as they seem, and if so, how the British managed to rule us for so long. Why didn’t they just get sick and wither away?
The truth is we have bequeathed some of the most peculiarly bad alcohol upon the world. We don’t know how or why. We can’t even figure out the local variations. Why does the cute Kings’ stubby you get in Goa taste so much better than its taller slimmer cousin back home? Is it just the sea befuddling our senses? Why does your Budweiser taste like some animalistic spirit is trying to leap out of the bottle and escape? What do they make these things out of anyway? Dark stories rise up after a few pints in pubs.
The Belgian beers that had their brief moment of fame
Then Leffe, Hoegaarden and Stella Artois came to town. They even brought glasses, so beer-drinking seemed a little less primitive and still a lot more exciting than wine. Never mind that Belgian beers in Belgium are ten times better and are available to you at one-tenth the cost you’re paying in (supposedly) cheaper Bangalore. At least you’re not paying for the flight tickets, right?
Once they’d established a certain amount of space, however, they seemed to just stop trying. The prices doubled from their already double-the-local beer. This kind of thing really discourages a beer-drinker, who’s really not just there for the experience. We’re also looking forward to what follows. After one beer, with an upper limit of two, this would be just about nothing.
The beer that we thought was going to save us all, and how hope was short-lived
And then the breweries came. The first time I visited Biere Club, I was deeply distrustful of the beer menu. This kind of unreceptive, over-cautious behaviour is the norm in Bangalore. I was amazed by their wonderfully rich and flavourful stout. Could it be that we were drinking real beer, finally?
And then the lower-priced breweries made it seem like party was finally coming to town. Toit’s Red was my staple for one long year, interspersed with periods of Weiss and a brief affair with the Basmati Blonde. This is an awesome shelf life for any Bangalore eatery or brewery. Of course this beautiful relationship had to end.
I tried relocating to Arbor, where the beers were as merrily flavoured as my local juice shop. I didn’t have too much energy to negotiate all this variety because I got merrily distracted by their carom board.
The problem with breweries is, like your favourite dish at a restaurant, your favourite beer doesn’t stay the same over the years.
Now it’s too late for us to go back to KF and UB. We sulk and wait for the next uprising.
How to Get There
Where: The Biere Club, 20/2, Vittal Mallya Road, Lavelle Road Area, Lavelle Road, Bangalore
The Biere Club, 153 Biere Street, Behind Forum Value Mall, Whitefield, Bangalore
Contact: Lavelle Road – 080 49653581 | Whitefield – 080 49652805
Timings: Lavelle Road – Mon – Thu & Sun – 11:30 AM to 11 PM | Fri-Sat – 11:30 AM to 12 Midnight
Whitefield – Mon – Thu – 3 PM to 11 PM | Fri – 3 PM to 12 Midnight | Sat – 12 Noon to 12 Midnight | Sun – 12 Noon to 11 PM
Cost: Lavelle Road – ₹1,600 for two people with alcohol (VAT & service charges extra)
Whitefield – ₹1,600 for two people with alcohol (VAT & service charges extra)
Where: Toit, 298, Namma Metro Pillar 62, 100 Feet Road, Indiranagar, Bangalore
Contact: +91 9019713388 | +91 9019813388
Timings: Mon – Thu & Sun – 12 Noon to 11:30 PM | Fri – Sat – 12 Noon to 1 AM
Cost: ₹2,000 for two people with alcohol (VAT & service charges extra)
Where: Arbor Brewing Company, 8, 3rd Floor, Allied Grande Plaza, Diagonally Opposite Garuda Mall, Magrath Road, Brigade Road, Bangalore
Contact: +91 8050144477 | 080 67921222
Timings: Mon – Thu – 12 Noon to 11 PM | Fri – Sat – 12 Noon to 1 AM | Sun – 12 Noon to 11:30 PM
Cost: ₹1,800 for two people with alcohol (VAT & service charges extra)