The pandemic has not dimmed Bengaluru's passion for beer. Back in 2019, in what feels like a different era, we wrote in our cover story on Bengaluru's breweries that “in Bengaluru, beer is the new coffee”. At that time, we reported, the city had 55-60 microbreweries – today, that number has crossed 100 with new outposts of well-known brands and the brewery culture spreading to the slightly more far-flung areas of the ever-expanding metropolis, like Sarjapur Road, HSR Layout, Electronic City and Kanakpura Road (till now best known for hosting the headquarters of the Art Of Living Foundation).
Lounge brings you a roundup of some of the newer breweries lifting the city's spirits:
1. The Merak Brewhouse at JW Marriott
The Merak threw open its doors recently, following in the footsteps of the Seven Rivers Brewing Co at the Taj MG Road, which created the fresh format of a microbrewery situated within the premises of a five-star hotel serving up brews and food at prices that are competitive with other microbreweries in the city (that is to say, at non-five star prices). The Merak’s prized brews are the American Style West Coast IPA, a refreshing orange colored ale with a prominent and intense hops aroma with a citrusy, piney and fruity character derived from American hops; Saison, a clear, amber-colored spicy malt with flavours of sweet spices, dark fruit and malty sweetness; and Kolsch, a smooth, light gold, low pilsner malt with an aroma of delicate fruit with slight tones of bitterness and sweetness, all crafted by brewmaster Karthik Singh.
Where: JW Marriot Hotel, Vittal Mallya Rd, Bengaluru
2. Hopshaus Taproom & Kitchen, Indiranagar
After a buzzy debut in Whitefield, Hopshaus recently opened a second outpost closer to the city centre in Indiranagar. Alongside the tavern-style food menu and a draught beer collection on tap is a list of ‘Haus cocktails’ created by beverage manager Robert Hospet, who uses local spices, botanical ingredients and homemade bitters to create handcrafted cocktails with seasonal flavours. Try the Purple Compass with blue tea and citrus fruits and with a base of white rum and Martini Bianco. The Eastside is a refreshing gin cocktail, The Whiskey-Brisky is made from fresh fruits and enhanced with a dash of Kaffir lime, while the Asian Gimlet is made from Vodka and a secret syrup.
Where: 12th Main Road, Indiranagar, Bengaluru
3. BLR Brewing Co, Kanakpura Road
While the brewing action earlier was in the city centre and areas like Indiranagar and Koramangala, it is fast spreading to every corner of the city. BLR Brewing Co, with its two breweries in Electronic City and Kanakpura Road, is one brand that’s taking the microbrewery culture to the outskirts. Apart from the regular craft brews like Belgian Wit, Hefeweizen, Smoked Wheat, and German Lager, they have interesting craft cocktails and short eats inspired by local cuisines like Podi Idli, Kundapura Ghee Roast Chicken and Coorg Style Pork.
Where: 35, 9th Mile, Holiday Village Road, Vajarahalli Village, Jyotipuram, Kanakapura Road, Bangalore
4. What the Ale?!
Brewmaster Umang Nair serves up specialty craft beers at this new brewery in Electronic City. Sample the Toast Red Ale, a malt-forward ale with subtle flavours of caramel and toffee; the Hibiskiss, a Belgian-style Saison brewed with hibiscus flowers imparting a berry flavour to the ale; an American-style Passionfruit Blonde; and the Raspberry Cider with a balanced sweetness and tartness. Chef Javed who heads the kitchen here experiments with new dishes like the Baked Fish Puliogare, a twist on the favourite local spicy rice dish, Puliogare, and Podi Pork Belly, which uses chutney podi to spice up a regular pork belly.
Where: Neeladri Nagar, Near Brand Factory, Electronic City, Bengaluru
5. Geist Brewing Taproom
Encouraged by the success of its cozy, open-air and pet-friendly beer garden on the premises of its factory in Nimbekaipura on the outskirts of the city, Geist, which started life by supplying fresh craft brews to restaurants and pubs and now sells growlers as well, opened up a second outpost (inpost?) in the heart of the city at the Orion Mall in Malleshwaram. The new pub serves the ever-popular Geist brews, from the Rauch-A-Fella, a smoked wheat beer; the Kamacitra, a medium-bodied New England IPA with citrusy notes; and the Geist Marzen, its take on the German Lager with a rich malt character and balanced hoppiness.
Where: Orion Mall, Malleshwaram, Bangalore