This journey started way back in the winter of 2007 during a lecture on the applications of Industrial Microbiology at the conference hall of Persistent Technologies here in Pune. It was sadly turning out to be another boring lecture when out of nowhere the person happened to give a mention, like the honourable mentions to runner-ups, to Brewing. That was the time I lost whatever haphazard sleep, I had, and poked up my concentration for more. Again, sadly though he never got to the detail and droned on about the same boring stuff!
This was the start of a true romance, and not one of those tinder flings which fizzle out like a weak fire cracker. More than a decade later here I am reminiscing the seemingly that seemingly love-hate relationship how it made me ‘The Drunken Cherub’.
Let’s cut to 2013 directly. I would not want to bore anyone with my ‘Angst’ talks from the 12th. After nearly huffing and puffing which is so not a cake walk as many people felt when they knew that ‘I was just doing Microbiology’. I was slashing down much of the conventional Masters in Microbiology, Bioinformatics and Virology, it was at this point of time that I have come across this lucrative yet alone course offered by the University of Pune but conducted at the renowned research institute pretty much well into the outskirts of Pune. This course was Masters of Wine, Brewing and Alcohol Technology.
For me it was finally like having scored the most ideal tinder date! Having been a person who is almost painfully nerdy and a little awkward I decided to first go and see the department and check if the course really met up to its name, first impressions you see! Needless to say I was not let down or even too impressed by what I saw. In those four years I made up a reputation for myself as someone who preferred in minding his own business and study of his own rather than travelling one 30km!
My first real Craft beer came during the end of summer in 2013 when I and Ankur, a fellow student and the only one of my two friends when to Pune and ‘India’s first Microbrewery’ – Doollaly at the Corinthian Clubs. The first pint I had was that of an India Pale Ale, I have to say in my opinion was the best till date and yet there has to be the one that beats this one for sure. No, to get all beer nerdy here, but it was one of those styles that was given to us by the colonists who missed their English Bitters quite dearly due to the long and ‘strenuous’ journey to India.
The complex hoppy character, the bitterness that rolls and seems to last quite some time on the palate, yet the overwhelming freshness had me hooked. The head kept itself willfully for nearly 10 minutes and the opaque copper color did only more to increase the appeal in my opinion. Normally you would start with a much mellower and lighter beer like the Hefeweisen or a Belgian Wit, which has the signature banana and the clove aroma with a crispy and creamier mouthfeel and the latter has the fresh citrus flavours of orange and the earthy aroma of crushed coriander.
I cannot possibly forget that day because it gave me a sense of achievement that this is the one thing for me where I can go rogue and experiment or adhere strictly to the rigid German styles which take heart and soul from the ‘Reinheitsgebot’. For now this is my start and my romance with beer, and with this mashup I take leave… for now…