Mumbai food exclusive: City's first micro-brewery takes a leap forward

Oct 05, 2017, 14:15 IST | Phorum Dalal

Four years on, Mumbai's first micro-brewery takes a leap forward with a new pop-up and collaboration

Pharell Williams' 2014 smash-hit Happy rings in our ears when we enter The Barking Deer in Lower Parel. A chandelier made of yellow beer cans greets us at the entrance and ribbons, hang from the ceiling, reflecting a festive mood. The brewery is all set for The Super Happy Pop-Up that starts today, during which Happy — not the song but a lager beer from Delhi-based brewery Thirsty, that was launched in summer — will also be made available. This is the first step in The Barking Deer's collaboration with Thirsty. Early next year, the brewery will be folded into the Thirsty brand. The six-month-old company has been brewing its beer in Bosnia. But the firm also wanted its beer to be available on tap in India, which led to the takeover of The Barking Deer.

Happy by Thirsty's beer
Happy by Thirsty's beer

Vir Kotak, Thirsty's owner, says, "Our beer is manufactured in far-off Bosnia for better quality, and is imported to India. But we also wanted to brew in India, and thus tied up with The Barking Deer, which will be making a few of our beers as well." We taste Happy with Gregory Kroitzsh, The Barking Deer's founder, who now becomes director of brewing operations at the newly branded The Super Happy Pop-Up.

Barking Deer's favourites will continue to be on the menu
Barking Deer's favourites will continue to be on the menu

"Happy is a straightforward, easy-going, fresh-tasting pilsner lager. It's crisp, easy to approach, and you can drink it with friends. Brewing it takes a month, which is pretty typical for lagers," Kroitzsh says, adding, "The German word to store is lager. Let it rest, and age a little bit — that's what a lager typically needs to do." For The Super Happy October Festival, which will go on for three months till the year-end, three beers have especially been made at the brewery — Fest Marzen, Happy Kolsche, a German style Hefeweisen, and Gose, a wheat beer with a salty tartness.

Beer Fondue. Pics/Falguni Agarwal
Beer Fondue. Pics/Falguni Agarwal

The menu, too, has been revamped, with a warm Beer Fondue served with bread, broccoli, mushrooms, apples, potatoes and babycorn. The cheese and garlic in it has been doused in beer. Crunchy Bhavnagri chillies surface in Whoppin' Poppers, which come stuffed with a filling of herby cottage cheese and chilli flakes, and add the right amount of zing to complement the beer.

Gregory Kroitzsh & Vir Kotak
Gregory Kroitzsh & Vir Kotak

Fish of Fury is a silky steamed fillet flavoured with barbeque sauce and served with grilled veggies. We end the sojourn with an airy-light Tiramisu layered with a moist shortbread. We don't leave, though, without taking a small flight with our all-time favourite pour, the Flying Pig. But don't go into mourning thinking it will be grounded — none of their brews are going anywhere. Just make sure that you reach, well, thirsty.

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