Booze surge for New Year's

Published: Dec 20, 2019, 07:00 IST | Dhara Vora Sabhnani | Mumbai

Lovers of strong brews ought to try a craft beer brand's latest offering in time for the party season

Mumbaikars, whether men or women, love beer. This is something that several bartenders have often told us. Being a native of this city, we can't help but agree. After a busy day at work, marred by the heat and humidity, a mug of chilled beer is the smoothest thing to chug down; a plate of fries is the proverbial cherry on top. The past six years (we are counting since the opening of Mumbai's first craft brewery in Todi Mills) have been exceptionally good for beer lovers, with Mumbai getting its due in terms of quality craft beers. One such label, which successfully moved on from a now-shuttered bar to a bottled format, is White Owl. Cool packaging and some seriously delicious beer (Halcyon, their hefeweizen, being one of our all-time wheat beer picks from their roster) has made the brand a popular name across bars. With the party season around the corner, they have launched India's first strong craft beer — Spike — at 7.9 percent ABV.

So far, it's available in a can (500 ml, Rs 170) and bottles format (325 ml and 650 ml) across select bars and beer shops (pro tip: a popular Shivaji Park wine store we pick our cans from has a special offer). The packaging, continuing the aesthetic of their previous products, is on-point. Think of one of those graphically illustrated little somethings that are too pretty to throw away, but make for trash at home. We get over the packaging, and pour ourselves a mug, and are pleased by the golden amber sight, and a good but fickle head (which is fine considering its body; it's not stouts we are talking about here). Banana prominently stands out in terms of the ester, and the flavour continues from smell to taste. It is appropriately fizzy, enough to not give a watery feel in the mouth when we roll it around our tongue, and has a rather pleasant and smooth feel. People usually equate strong beers with bitter ones, which isn't always true, since when brewed well, a beer can present a myriad mix of malt and fruity notes. Staying true to a weizenbock, the wheaty aroma and flavour subtly envelop our senses and the bitterness doesn't hit hard. Even after letting our beer sit for a while, the delicate balance between the maltiness and the fruity flavour is intact, bordering on hitting the sweet notes after a while. True to their promise, there is no alcohol burn, and the buzz is mellow.

If you are a fan of wheat beers and are craving a maltier and stronger choice, Spike is what you need to try this party season.

Know your beer
Bocks are usually strong lagers kept in cold storage for a comparatively longer period to make the brew smoother. Weizenbock uses the top-fermenting wiess yeast and has a large portion of wheat in the recipe. It originates in Germany's Bavaria.


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