“We wanted to create beers that were approachable-yet-unique,” says Benjamin Johnson, brewer at The Barking Deer (TBD), which has finally managed to get all its permissions in order, and is set to open taps to serve Mumbai’s first craft beers. The first beer that was conceptualised was the Bombay Blonde Ale, “It’s very light, crisp and an easy drinking beer. If you have been exposed to Kingfisher, Carlsberg, or any of those bottled beers, you can transition into craft beer with the Bombay Blonde, which is low on alcohol, but is very flavourful. We have used traditional European hops from Germany and the Czech Republic,” he adds.
With the Barking Deer India Pale Ale, “We’ve used a lot of hops. The India Pale Ale (IPA) is a classic style of beer with its origins in England but was more or less invented during the time when they were shipping beer from England to India. There are a few different thoughts on the history. Brewers figured out that hops have a medicinal and preservative quality. So, they took their wooden casks of beer and added a lot of hops to them so they would survive the journey. The IPA that we make is a combination of the English and the American style. We have used special wheat (a Belgian malt), which is a very dark, caramel malt that adds sweetness and a raisin-ey, fig kind of flavour that helps balance out the bitterness of the malts. IPA is 6.7% alcohol.”
The third beer will be the Flying Pig Belgian Wit, which is made with wheat, Belgian style yeast and local coriander seeds and orange peel. Ask him about Indian dishes that would go well with these beers, Johnson’s assistant brewer, Raissa Cherian, says, “We’ve had the IPA with medu wada and vada pav for breakfast!” “It also goes perfectly well with anything spicy. The Wit Beer is great with lighter dishes such as a salad, anything that is bright and citrus-focussed. The Blonde can go with everything,” says Johnson.
TBD plans to add Porter, a roasty black beer, which has a chocolat-ey flavour to it. Johnson, who is also experimenting with Kokum, plans to include local and seasonal ingredients in their beers in the future. When we ask about how many glasses of beer does he have in a day while working on them, he jokes, “That’s the terrible part of the job.”
From November 7 onwards
At The Barking Deer, Mathuradas Mills, Lower Parel.
What goes into beer?
>Hops that add bitterness to the beer
>Yeast that ferments the beer