From plastic surgery to micro brewing
As Brewbot finally launches its own craft beers, we go behind the scenes with brewmaster Julie Baggett about her unusual career choice, her favourite ales and the best hangover cure
With a head torch strapped to her forehead and a look of deep concentration on her face, Julie Baggett peers into a cask with the seriousness of a surgeon. Her assistants watch patiently as she checks the bubbling mix, stirs, and then gives her final nod of approval. We're not surprised, when we learn that Julie, brewmaster at Andheri's Brewbot, worked in healthcare for five years before switching from reconstructive facial surgery to brewing beer. "Beer is actually a lot like surgery. It's equal parts heart and science," she tells us while explaining that her basic ale education came from a chemistry course she took while in college.
Julie Baggett intends to introduce new and exciting flavours at Brewbot. Pics/Sayed Sameer Abedi
In the business for over 20 years now, Julie has worked for brewing companies Anheuser-Busch, Abita Brewing Company in the US and more recently, helped set up brewpubs and facilities in Gurgaon and Bangalore, before settling in Mumbai. "India has a spiritual vibe. There are the multiple festivals, with lights, colour and dance. It's vibrant but peaceful at the same time," she says with the air of a seasoned expat. Ask her what the local beer preference is, and she's quick to reply, "Bitter beer is not a big favourite." Baggett mentions that she has dialled down the bitterness by about 30% in her beers, and is looking at using Indian spices in her mixes soon. "I'm toying with the idea of a paan-flavoured cask with organic gulkand and roasted saunf."
(Over) Head Costs
Through the interview, Julie takes quick breaks to check on the brews and adjust the casks. When we press her for secret ingredients, she remains tight-lipped, but offers a few pointers, "Beer should be a sensorial experience. It must be appealing in its appearance, smell, and flavour to the drinker," she says while explaining that most of her ales are formulated with the two-litre drink-ability rule. "If I can drink two litres of the same beer without palate-tiredness and wake up the next day without a hangover, it's usually good to go." If the brew fails the test, Julie is most likely to be found the next morning with a tall glass of Coke and ice. "It's the best hangover cure, ever," she laughs.
Time: 6 pm onwards
At: G-01, 101, Morya Landmark 1, off New Link Road, Andheri (W).
>> First craft beer: Chimay Red
>> Favourite place to drink beer: Belgium
>> Untapped flavours: Many Indian spices, fruits
>> Favourite food with beer: Dosa and chutney