Beer in India

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#1 Mar 5th, 2016, 23:51
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#1
Hi all,

I've used the search function and found a few threads from a couple of years ago discussing the availability of beer in some of the major cities. However, I'm hoping somebody can tell me more about what beer is actually on offer - I am a real ale drinker, from what I can see most Indian beer is lager such as Kingfisher and Cobra. I get these in every Indian restaurant I visit in the UK so I'm hoping to be able to try something a little different!

Thanks in advance.
#2 Mar 6th, 2016, 00:01
It's all Greek to me, but Benglish will do
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Hi,
I have not come across real ale in India. But if you go to Sikkim, you might like to try Chang, the local brew. It is interesting.
#3 Mar 6th, 2016, 00:10
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You can get some ales at the microbreweries and a handful of bars in the large cities.

Links:

For Delhi

https://www.zomato.com/ncr/microbreweries

http://blog.forbestravelguide.com/de...microbreweries

In Mumbai try the Doolally Taproom in Bandra.

https://www.zomato.com/mumbai/doolal...on-bandra-west

The Arbor Brewing Company in Bangalore is very nice as well

https://www.zomato.com/ArborBrewIndia
#4 Mar 6th, 2016, 01:55
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Never had a micro beer in India. From the limited varieties that were available I found Haywards 5000 to be the best. I guess it's considered a malt but compared to Kingfisher and the other bland beers I've had there it had some depth and flavor. And it's strong. Most of the other ones I had were like drinking Budweiser or worse. But I haven't been to India in some years so hopefully things have improved.
"Travel is fatal to prejudice,bigotry and narrow-mindedness" Mark Twain
#5 Mar 6th, 2016, 05:29
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Originally Posted by ananda2193 View Post Haywards 5000 to be the best. ... ... And it's strong. ... ... But I haven't been to India in some years so hopefully things have improved.

Approximately 98% of the beer sold in India is awful and getting worse with the local preference for strong beer (strong chemicals) .. may as well convert to whiskey when in India.

Been making my own beer (when at home) for seventeen years .. fresh, clean and best.
#6 Mar 6th, 2016, 06:22
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Avoid the Kingfisher (Glycerin Special) and you can get some decent commercial beer such as Himalaya without having to resort to the liquid mud stuff that boy is so fond of. Still anything goes with a Tandoori thali or Kolhapuri chicken..
#7 Mar 6th, 2016, 06:37
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Originally Posted by old india hand View Post Approximately 98% of the beer sold in India is awful and getting worse with the local preference for strong beer (strong chemicals) ..
So what 2% is the good stuff??
#8 Mar 6th, 2016, 07:23
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Originally Posted by ananda2193 View Post So what 2% is the good stuff??


Actually the approx. 98% was being generous when considering India wide sales .. but can concede it could be slightly under 98% in trendy city areas, tourist hangs or some regionals.

And that rest would be drinkable (almost but not quite good) .. while we wait for ‘the real data’ let’s opt for 0.085 % as being goood.
#9 Mar 6th, 2016, 07:35
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Originally Posted by old india hand View Post Actually the approx. 98% was being generous when considering India wide sales .. but can concede it could be slightly under 98% in trendy city areas, tourist hangs or some regionals.

And that rest would be drinkable (almost but not quite good) .. while we wait for ‘the real data’ let’s opt for 0.085 % as being goood.
As long as it quenches my cotton mouth and doesn't taste like total crap and gives a slight buzz it's all good for me. I'm no connoisseur snob. Otherwise I'd prefer a lime soda.
#10 Mar 6th, 2016, 07:58
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Always drank Kingfisher wherever possible in India, quite like it. However I have learn't the hard way to check the bottle before buying as the alcohol content can vary from 3.5% to 8% and the bottles all look the same with labels all similar. . Zamba. Cheers.
#11 Mar 6th, 2016, 08:00
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Originally Posted by ananda2193 View Post As long as it quenches my cotton mouth and doesn't taste like total crap and gives a slight buzz it's all good for me.

Can have 101% agreement on that .. but with an emphasis on ‘quenches’ is why Indian strong beer misses the point and past 'slight buzz' to headache stuff.

My home beer is 2.8% alcohol and does the quenching .. but some disparagers have said it’s homeopathic.
#12 Mar 6th, 2016, 11:00
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#12
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Originally Posted by dbl View Post Hi all,

I've used the search function and found a few threads from a couple of years ago discussing the availability of beer in some of the major cities. However, I'm hoping somebody can tell me more about what beer is actually on offer - I am a real ale drinker, from what I can see most Indian beer is lager such as Kingfisher and Cobra. I get these in every Indian restaurant I visit in the UK so I'm hoping to be able to try something a little different!

Thanks in advance.

Kingfisher is the most popular beer in India, sadly their " Strong " beer is the best seller. As a broad rule when brewing beer the higher the alcohol content the more problematic it becomes to maintain good taste -- 2.5% to 5% is generally accepted as the range where taste and strength can be kept in harmony. An appraisal of the Belgium " Delirium Tremens " ( at around 8.5% ) could go something like -- the colour is golden and the head creamy and light, the first sip warms the throat and belly, like an old wood stove does a log cabin. Delirium is lightly hopped and surprisingly malty for such an airy sunshine beer. An appraisal of any strong Indian beer, would be more like getting attacked from behind, and bludgeoned into unconsciousness with a cricket bat.

Indians love their beer strong, drink it down fast to get pissed as quickly as possible.

Fosters, is almost passable ( no serious Aust beer drinker would touch it ), the Indian brewed version is in my opinion better than the flaccid dish water they serve off the tap in the UK

Carlsberg, i think it is labeled " elephant " but at around 6% is less than the Euro elephant which is around 7.2% from memory. I like this better than kingfisher, although as you travel around it seems to vary in taste, this could be because of transport or storage conditions.

Kingfisher Larger, is the old faithful backstop. Last november i imported 4 bottles of Aust brewed Kingfisher, and did a blind test with three local beer " Experts " --- they all preferred the Aust version to the local one.

British Empire is another below 6% local brew that can be a good alternative to kingfisher, the same can probably be said for Turborg.

I think Heineken is brewed in India now, but it tastes a tad different from the one we know.

Outside of the 5 stars and the beer bars mentioned above, Corona is fairly common, although overpriced, the same goes for Stella Artois, at 320R's for a 330ml bottle, here in Tamil Nadu, it's like leaving your first born as a downpayment.

The Kingfisher "Glycerin special " -- where you up end an opened bottle into a glass of water and watch the clear gel like blobs of glycerin slowly ooze out from the bottle neck, scared the hell out of me when i saw it first done 15 years ago. Apparently they have changed the preservative -- but who know's ??? -- maybe i will do a test on a bottle of Tamil kingfisher and see what happens !!!

There are a few other brands, and depending on circumstances can taste excellent or not.

India's beer market is developing all the time, but from what you are used to, it will be an adventure of many lows and a few highs------ usually depending on how thirsty you are.
#13 Mar 6th, 2016, 11:41
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#13
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Originally Posted by dbl View Post I'm hoping to be able to try something a little different!.
Beer is not a traditional Indian drink - these brands go back a few decades at best. Bhang is a traditionally North Indian drink, used since the vedic times and a food fit for the Gods. Try it in the form of a Thandai if you get a chance.

Travel is an education.
#14 Mar 6th, 2016, 11:57
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#14
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Originally Posted by vaibhav_arora View Post Beer is not a traditional Indian drink - these brands go back a few decades at best. Bhang is a traditionally North Indian drink, used since the vedic times and a food fit for the Gods. Try it in the form of a Thandai if you get a chance.

Travel is an education.
Spot on.
#15 Mar 6th, 2016, 12:03
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