Downing the tipple at India’s first beer festival in Gurgaon

Downing the tipple at India’s first beer festival in Gurgaon

By Sameer Chhabra | | 18 June, 2016
Brewmasters (from left to right) Thean Kruger, John Eapen and Ishan Grover.

Dave Barry, a well-known writer and huamorist, rightly puts it when he says, “Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.” Not just him, even other celebrated personalities and well-known names such as Martin Luther, Jack Nicholson, Abraham Lincoln and Plato had great things to say about the magic that is beer.

India’s first beer carnival, the Gurugram Beer Week was for all the beer lovers out there. The festival which was a week-long carnival hosted by Zomato across multiple breweries in Gurgaon eneded on June 18. The Manhattan Craft Brewery, Bronx, Uptown, Hunter Valley, the Beer Café, Barcelos and others were some of the participating brewing establishments at the event.

Archit Singhal, founder of the festival, says, “Beer week is a global concept, it happens all over the world but this is taking place for the first time in India. Basically, it is conceptualised because Gurgaon has a lot of breweries and there is a huge beer drinking culture in Gurgaon. So, we wanted to spread awareness regarding different types of beer, get like-minded people together and explore craft beer in a more true sense. All the participating breweries are offering their craft beer at one plus one. So it’s a win-win situation for everybody. The consumer gets a fabulous deal of 50% discount.”

Master classes, beer crawl and beer tasting sessions were some of the fun activities that kept visitors here busy. Master classes intended to educate people about different types of beer such as wheat, corn, rice and barley. About his experience of being a part of the beer week and the Indian culture of drinking, the brewmaster Thean Kruger from South Africa says, “The amount of knowledge that’s lacking both in the general populace as well as in the people who are serving beer is atrocious. Something like this needs to be organised on a regular basis to create awareness among people. India does not have a drinking or beer culture as such. For example, all of the beers in Gurgaon are actually far too sweet and they are not hopped properly. However, it is essential for the balance of the product that you are consuming. The only way out to this lack of awareness issue is education.”

The event saw the participation of brewmasters such as Ishan Grover, Thean Kruger and John Eapen. The main aim of the organisers was  to spread education and awareness about beer.

Brewmaster, John Eapen who hails from Bangalore says, “I do a lot of beer workshops in Bangalore. The beers in Bangalore are different from those in Gurgaon. We have different issues and it is a completely different market altogether. But it’s nice to explore different cultures. In the future, we can even do a nation-wide beer week where we will be travelling from one city to another.”

Brewmaster, Ishan Grover from RJ Brewing Solutions, a company that gives equipment and provides micro brewing solutions says, “We like beers to be a little more sweet. However, we are mistaken, it has to have some bitterness and some hops.” He adds, “90% of the beer in Gurgaon is being supplied by us. My experience of the beer week has been fantastic so far. We have managed to get so many people at one place; it has been a great experience, full of excitement.”

Master classes, beer crawl and beer tasting sessions are some of the fun activities that kept the many visitors here busy. Master classes intended to educate people about different types of beer such as wheat, corn, rice and barley.

The beer crawl was a very exciting concept which was basically aimed at taking the visitors to different breweries to taste different beers — since each brewery offered a different kind of beer. As part of the beer crawl, one had to move to four different breweries namely Punjabi by Nature , Bronx , Uptown and Lagom. Everybody kept moving from one venue to another in an Ola shuttle.

On being asked about the  people’s response about the beer week, Singhal says, “The response has been very encouraging, especially from the media and the bloggers. We have 20+ breweries onboard which comprise almost all the major ones based in Gurgaon. Getting all the breweries together was a big task. Usually, all the events happen at the brewery level or the root level but they don’t happen together. The response has been very nice. We had the beer crawl on the June 12 as well. We even have an introduction round in the Ola shuttle. So this way, we got like-minded people together, made new friends and contacts and had a great time together.”

 “The number of breweries in Gurgaon are increasing by each passing day. It even has more breweries as compared to the other metropolitan centres in India. Gurgaon also boasts of one of the most happening crowds. So, it is also way of exploring nightlife throughout Gurgaon and also provides opportunity of socialising and communicating with people,” he adds.

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