On his first outing to a microbrewery, the zoman warrior thought he had attained nirvana. The aroma of malt and hops in the air made for such a perfume that the Issey Miyake’s and Kenzo’s of the world couldn’t hope to compete with. He thought he had finally seen the best and there wasn’t anything that could top the microbrewery concept.
But such is the transient nature of life, and his opinion was in for a change. Better than the best, hmmm, now that would take some seriously good shiz, yeah!
Coming back to the point, the good people at Trell and the zoman’s buddy Rushabh, were on a scout for their next blogger’s event venue and they did a peachy fine job at it by hosting it at The Beer Café.
Now we might be foodies in our own right, but when there’s beer on the table, and lots of it too, food somehow takes a backseat. And if such kind of a thing tickles your fancy, then being at The Beer Café is times over better than being Charlie in Wonka’s chocolate factory.
Color me biased, but this review might seem more like an ode to great beer rather than an objective opinion. Hell, after so much to drink, I don’t think there’s place for objectivity anyway.
So here it goes!
Thanks be to god, that they’ve got a chain of outlets and in multiple cities. I couldn’t ask for more. This one in particular, is absolutely easy to spot, provided you can figure out how to get to level P10 at CSIAs Terminal 2.
The Beer Café screams café and beer at you, every second of your time here. The ambiance is café like in many ways, and there’s no dearth of paraphernalia that shows you beer is the boss here!
The seating isn’t the most comfortable one I’ve seen in recent times, but hey! Knock back a couple of Biras and you won’t feel a thing.
Quick and courteous but a little confused. Then again, maybe it was the size of the blogger’s table that threw them off their game.
Either way, there’s somewhat room for improvement considering that there’s a lot of international junta at the airport and we’d like our beer cafes to make awesome impressions, right!
To say that the food managed to keep its importance despite the gazillion beers on show is proof enough that it was awesome.
But let’s linger awhile on the brews before getting to the grub.
One of the best bottled witbiers from the country that tops every beer producing country in a beer lover’s mind. While Belgian Wits are typically milder and clearer than their German Hefe counterparts, The Bira goes a touch beyond this. If you enjoy mild flavours and are looking for a beer you can have at any time of the day or in any season of the year, you needn’t look beyond the Bira White.
A no flaw, absolute awesomeness brew!
If the Bira White is one of the best wheat beers, The Erdinger, in my opinion is the very best!
While the Erdinger might not be fresh off the tap, its bottled form still retains a lot of the yeasty flavour compounds that give it a banana’ey touch, although beer purists might disagree.
Take a substantial glug of the Erdinger and let it slide down your gullet real slow. The sweetish aftertaste is a delight.
A typical German Hefeweizen, the Erdinger is cloudy & mysterious, revealing its true form only to the connoisseur of the liquid gold.
My absolute favourite!
To me, the dunkel is like taking a great movie script and soiling it with an irrelevantly thrown in item number.
If we were up for a malty, hoppy brew in the first place, barley was good enough and there wasn’t a reason in the world for the use of wheat in the malt.
Anyhow, the dunkel somehow pales away while trying to give you that strong pick me up that is characteristic to strongly hoppy brews with darker malts.
But yeah, if you want an in-between brew, this could be your best friend!
A German hefe from the taps of the Gateway Brewing Company.
I quite like how Indian breweries are doing, especially when it comes to the Hefes and Wits. Maybe it’s the quality of wheat we have or just that we prefer wheat over barley. Bottom line, this was a solid brew that I’d place on the higher side of any rating index of beers.
Brought brewed fresh off the tap, the banana’ey flavour is quite prominent in the White Zen. While a hint of clove is promised too, don’t fret if you don’t feel it. The hefes on account of their phenolic character do give out a clove like aftertaste, but that’s up to your receptors to feel it.
In summary, this was a kickass brew that goes extremely well on a summer day by the pool, and if you’re looking to pair it up, try fish or cheese with it.
An over the top IPA, again from Gateway Brewing’s taps.
I’ve never been a fan of the IPA brew and this over the top hoppy, bitter brew only reinforced my dislike for IPAs.
OK, so my beer personality might not be that of a fearless leader (generally attributed to IPA drinkers). But I’ve never seen the reason to prefer a brew that’s so hoppy and bitter, it makes burping unbearable.
If you’re a wheat beer person too, you might not enjoy this!
Oh baby, yes! Asahi is the sleeper hit among beer brands. It never came in blowing a loud trumpet, in fact, got snubbed internationally for being too ricey and lacking a distinguishable aroma or flavour.
But that’s what’s got Asahi becoming the favourite of many beer drinkers. The fact that it is light on all counts, yet provides a relatively decent buzz. Drink it in the summer to cool yourself off, or on a winter day when you need a buzz but aren’t looking for a palette warmer.
If you’re starting off with beer or are someone who gets put off with the overtly malty or hoppy flavour, this is your best bet to begin with.
I for one, thoroughly enjoy this ricey offering from the land of the rising sun!
Tsingtao reminds me of my 2nd-year F&B theory syllabus and the global spread of brewing in the 19th century. Setup in China by the Germans, Tsingtao, along with Kirin, is perhaps the most popular offering in the Asian market. Maybe because it follows the Chinese custom of flooding the market with produce.
Tsingtao is a refreshingly zingy brew with a fine balance to both, its maltiness and hoppiness. This characteristic of the brew helps it pair perfectly well with the spicy preparations of Chinese cuisine (more specifically Sichuan, which is higher in spice but lower in acidity).
Just like the Cobra, a great curry beer, but somewhat weak on its own!
The pack leader among spirit based beers, Amigos is a spritzy brew under noted by a tequila flavour and a strong citrusy top.
I’ve had this at a Mexican food festival and by Jove it seemed to go great with the spicy tacos we had. But on this occasion when I had the beer on its own, it seemed to lose all its shine.
What a Bacardi breezer is to a serious rum drinker, the Amigos is to a tequila or a beer lover. An in between drink that is neither a beer nor a tequila.
But I’ll say this again, if you are looking to wash down some really spicy food, this is a fine choice. Simply drinking this, I wouldn’t recommend that!
Holy moly! Yup, this is a holy ass brew and the Estonian monks found no better place than their abbeys, for brewing this particular brew.
I must say, the bottling for Viru is simply superb. The beer on its own is pretty good too and has mild to medium hop balance. The malt isn’t too strong either and the brew has all the makings of a great bottled beer.
It isn’t blessed by the lord himself, but a great beer nonetheless!
OK, an 8% ABV doesn’t really charge you up. But chug it like a boss and you’ll see the sense in this name.
Not a huge fan of scotch ever, the Scottish Charger puts Scotland back on my drinking map and their typically malty and peaty flavour works well in this case.
The Beer Café soiree had some exciting looking beertails too although only one of them actually impressed me – BLUE FLIP.
There’s something wonderful about pairing sour stuff with beer and the blue flip did exactly the same thing. A nice dousing of blue curacao and passion fruit puree in a mason jar almost topped up with beer. Wow, doesn’t get better.
SIXTEEN TILL I DIE
Wings! They’re perhaps items to lead with when you want to impress your diners. The Beer Café did exactly that in our case. Simple math, 4 wings each in 4 sauces (chilli garlic, BBQ, spicy chipotle, classic) comprise the Sixteen Till I Die shareable platter.
I don’t know about the others, but I couldn’t find an iota of shortcoming in this dish and this will, for certain be the first thing I order when I’m visiting them the next time.
Relax! There wasn’t anything radioactive in this dish and nobody turned into a green rage monster after chowing this down. But yeah, like the Hulk, this was a seriously heavy platter.
Fries, Onion Rings, Bruschettas, and Spring Rolls, none of the cast members in this action flick spelt healthy eating. Packed with greasy awesomeness The Hulk is a beer drinker’s delight and a holistic living coach’s worst nightmare.
At the risk of sounding like my natural self, the burp that this dish induces is sheer delight!
GARDEN FRESH PIZZA
Another addition to my recent “veg beats non-veg” journal.
A thin, almost roti like pizza with a hearty topping of crunchy fresh veggies and a generous melt of cheese covering the whole damn thing.
This was the sort of pizza you could eat, then eat more, and eat some more again without being stuffed like a goose in the run up to thanksgiving.
CHICKEN SUPREME PIZZA
Nope, didn’t like this one even a bit!
The mushrooms and the capsicum seemed great, but the one thing that made this pizza non-vegetarian was a damp squib. The barbeque chicken was chewy and somewhat overdone. It was the one time when I was complaining about the generously added chicken, simply because it tasted like chewing on rubber.
But I’d have to say, the crust was thin and nicely done!
To me, a BLT is like the Don Bradman of the food world. Every time it makes an entrance, it scores and boy does it score a lot.
It’s just the combination itself that could never go wrong, irrespective of who was making it.
The Beer Café BLT was no exception to the rule. Hugs to the chef for being generous with the bacon, I couldn’t have asked for more from life.
This particular sandwich had a lot going on with it. Like a typical Bollywood multi-starrer, a lengthy star cast comprising of a few hit makers (read bacon) ensured that the loosely woven script made it to the blockbuster mark.
There wasn’t anything special to the sandwich that way, but throw in a generous amount of bacon and serve up some fries on the side and you’ll get by reasonably well!
THREE CHEESE PENNE
This dish missed my top picks of the evening by miles, but then again, the formula was such that it couldn’t go wrong.
Al dente penne served up in a typical Quattro formaggi (minus one cheese of course). Now how does one go wrong there? Nope, one doesn’t! That being said, there was some miserly behaviour with the cheese and I could feel more of the béchamel than the cheese variants themselves.
Nonetheless, if you’re not in the mood for any culinary adventure, this is a super safe and delicious bet!
Kept this one for the end since I think I’m the only one who really enjoyed this dish.
The rice was done perfectly and the fried onions were in perfect balance. The chicken was done really well and I loved that it wasn’t overcooked. Paired with the raita and the papad, this makes for quite a nice main course while you’re here.
The Beer Café follows the norm de jour for most pubby places. Decently priced alcohol and somewhat overpriced food.
If you’re a somewhat large group, then the shareable platters might help you make the affair economical, but a meal for two is sure to leave you wondering if you’ve been overcharged.
The Beer Café is a cracker of a concept and wins hands down in my opinion.
Most pubs focus on specialty drinks or cheap pricing, while breweries focus on beer craft openly snubbing bottled maal. What the Beer Café does, is to sit snugly between these two extremes and attract both of their customers.
With the sheer variety, they have on offer, I don’t think it’s a boisterous claim to make that they’re every beer lover’s candy land.
I for one will surely be back. Not just once, but quite a few times again!
AMBIANCE – 4.5 / 5
F&B – 5 / 5
SERVICE – 4 / 5
PRICE – 4.5 / 5