What’s brewing in Mumbai?
For a city generally regarded as an early adopter of trends, it has been a long wait for Mumbai to get its first microbrewery.
But last month, The Barking Deer, located in the South Mumbai creative hub of Lower Parel, started serving beers crafted in-house by brew master Benjamin Johnson, originally from North Dakota.
This marks a new chapter for the brewpub, which was founded by Bostonian Gregory Kroitzsh in February 2013 and has already gained a loyal patronage among the city’s beer enthusiasts for its impressive offerings of imported and domestic brews.
Up till now, Mumbaikars had been known to make weekend runs to the neighbouring city of Pune, with its more relaxed licensing laws, for a swill of craft beer. Now, their patient wait for local ale is finally paying off.
On tap is the refreshing and crisp Bombay Blonde; the bitter Barking Deer India Pale Ale – a tribute to India’s long beer history; and the spicy-citrusy Flying Pig Belgian Wit, made with cumin, coriander and mosambi (sweet lime) peel, instead of orange like the original recipe.
Johnson promises more brews that incorporate locally sourced ingredients. “I have plans to brew beer using kokum (mangosteen), jamun (a small purple fruit) and possibly even bitter gourd”, he said. And he is eagerly awaiting next summer’s mango season to create a seasonal brew using the king of fruits.
As for pub grub to pair with your ale, you will find chicken pot pie inspired by Kroitzsh’s mother’s recipe, as well as interesting beer-themed dishes, such as Pilsner-drowned lamb shanks with rosemary potatoes and garlic spinach, and Chicken Waterzooi, a beer-stewed chicken.
Sharon Fernandes is the Mumbai Localite for BBC Travel
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