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If you can think of nothing that is quite better than cuddling up with a tall glass of your favourite brew – irrespective of the season or time of day – discovering a fresh infusion of variety in the proceedings is quite an unforeseen blessing.
Contemplate this – a pint of your beloved apple cider infused with the mild tartness of fresh strawberries or the unmistakable aroma of summer mangoes; a mead with all its earthy notes of fermented honey being transformed by the subtle addition of spicy ginger and refreshing lemon; a melomel that swirls the magic cheerfulness of peach fruit through a heady brew; or the combination of sweet lime and tamarind subtly steeped into a popular wheat beer.
This is exactly the kind of wonder Effingut Brewerkz spins for overjoyed beer-lovers – the establishment’s basic focus is on sourcing 100 per cent organic and indigenous ingredients that are added to their seasonal brews, in a bid to also encourage the local agri-industry while crafting unique fermented alcoholic beverages. As a result, these ‘beers’ are only on the tap for a few weeks of the year, till the fresh stock of each spice or fruit depletes fully. Notably, most of them do not employ the use of ‘hops’ – small flowers that are a common flavouring and stabilising agent in beers across the world.
It all began in 2014 with a ginger beer, after which several permutations were experimented with, in over hundreds of barrels and pints. Ginger also proved to be a balancing factor, the brewers found, stabilising the natural sweetness of fruits, with its intrinsic gentle fieriness. As a result, the combination became a perfect base for honey-fermented meads and fruit-mead melomels; the ciders, meanwhile, had the character of fermented apple as their base, forming a perfect foil to seasonal fruits like strawberry and mango, both of which – in their fermented forms – provide sweetness with acidity and tartness.
Interestingly, it does not stop at fruit – the microbrewery has also worked with an ingredient like jaggery, which is as desi as it gets. In collaboration with a few independent beer enthusiasts, a dark jaggery ale was crafted a while ago as a limited edition offering, with the prime ingredient sourced from rural manufacturers in Maharashtra – its soft sweetness highlighted with the temperature it was served at.
And, while we are on the subject of typically Indian ingredients, the tamarind blanche offered on tap here had its inspiration come from across the seas, from the classic Belgian witbiers that traditionally contain notes of citrus and coriander in their body. Pulling a rabbit out of its hat once again, Effingut decided to incorporate the citrusy zestiness of orange and sweet lime to this base, adding on flavours of imli that form a lingering aftertaste with every sip.
That is not all. They have also worked with a milk stout – a dark beer that basically has a very limited quantity of lactose in a specific form added to it, to give it extraordinary creaminess along with its underlying strong roasty flavours. Another thrilling addition to the menu is the coffee porter, with the beans sourced from Indian plantations and steeped into the coffee via something of a cold brew method, to enhance its intense natural bitterness and aroma.
While the burgeoning number of microbreweries and their branches around town are doing swift business with the new crop of more sophisticated connoisseurs of beer, here is one pub you may just definitely want to visit sometime soon to savour the sweet taste of innovation.
Shweta has been writing about food for a few years now and has dabbled in TV, print and online journalism for over almost a decade. She has written on and edited for topics ranging from the environment, culture and lifestyle to politics, business and, of course, food. She has written for publications under the Times Group, Fox Life India and NDTV. When she's not devouring a good book or spending vast swathes of time on the Interweb, she loves to set off on all manner of culinary explorations.