With three microbreweries open in Mumbai, craft beer seems to be a trending spirit among city's tipplers. "Crafted beer is the new superstar. Once you discover artisanal beer, your culinary experience will transform into a whole new world of fantastic flavours," says Suketu Talekar, co-founder of microbrewery Doolally that will participate in two craft beer festivals taking place in the city this weekend.

The different types of beer. Representative pic
The different types of beer. Representative pic 

The first one will be hosted at High Street Phoenix on Friday, while the second will be at Lower Parel's Aqaba, on Saturday. Aditya Parikh of Aqaba says, "The Craft Beer Festival is our way of getting people to drop by, relax on the lawns and enjoy natural, artisanal beers. It is also a platform to bring more awareness about craft beers to people at large." Keen to try the craft beer but don't know your lager from your ale? the guide presents a checklist before you take your first sip. Cheers!

> Know the difference: Unlike a commercial beer, craft beer is not pasteurised, and has no added preservatives. As a result, it has lesser shelf life, and tastes fresh. Like the commercial beer, it's also made up of water, malts from soaked grains like barley or wheat, hops and yeast. However, their quantities differ.

> Hops, skips and jumps: Wonder why IPA (Indian Pale Ale) tastes so bitter? It's because of the bitter hops added to it. Hops are dried flowers that are like the spices used in beer-making. They provide a delicate bitterness and aroma to the beer, and are also natural preservatives.

A craft beer served from the tap
A craft beer served from the tap 

> What's your beer style? The main styles of beer include ales, lagers and stouts. The type of yeast used determines the style. Lager yeast is called 'bottom-fermenting yeast' and is fermented at cooler temperatures, while ale yeast is called 'top-fermenting yeast' and is fermented at warmer temperatures.

> Check the head: In industrial parlance, a thick and creamy foam that forms on top of the beer is known as a head. Once the beer is poured into the glass, check for how long the foam lasts. The longer it lasts, the fresher the beer. Plus, if your glass is clean enough, every sip you take will leave a concentric circle on the sides of the glass. That way, one can also judge that beer was finished in say, five or 10 sips.

> Learn your colours: Clear, cloudy, red or black? The different types of malts used in the beer usually determine its colour and taste. A Red X malt gives a red colour and a full-bodied flavour, while a roasted malt will add a nutty flavour and a brown colour to your beer. Other basic types include amber, with full-bodied malt aromas and hints of caramel; dark or stout beer that comes in chestnut brown or black colour, and wheat beers that are usually hazy or cloudy. 

(Information courtesy: Suketu Talekar, and TJ Venkateshwaran, managing director, TJ's Brew Works)