I like Bengaluru; the city has pleasant weather most of the time and the restaurants, bars and brewpubs take advantage of this by creating beautiful outdoor areas for us to enjoy a few drinks.
My first taste of Bengaluru’s craft beer was about four or five years ago when I had a free Sunday during a work trip. With nothing else to do, I visited UB City around 5pm. Just as I was about to step in, I spotted The Biere Club (thebiereclub.com), one of the oldest brewpubs in the city, on the opposite side. Intrigued, I walked into an almost empty space on the first floor and sat at the bar counter. Amazed at the styles of beer they had, which I had first been introduced to in Germany, I called for a pint and was mighty impressed on the very first sip.
What I didn’t realise is that The Biere Club is three floors tall. I was shocked to see that the other two floors were teeming with beer guzzlers. That’s when it dawned on me that in Bengaluru, the culture is to arrive at bars early in the evening or during the day on holidays, as most shut before 1am.
Brewpubs is an exploding trend in Bengaluru, most hosting interesting events with quality menus fashioned to pair with the brew of choice. All are run by those passionate about beer and offer great tasting opportunities too.
For those new to beer, bartenders are happy to share information on the lagers and ales; educating guests on the brewing process. A few even conduct tours of their breweries.
Not taking for granted that everyone loves beer, these brewpubs offer spirits and wines as well.
The best part about these watering holes is that they’re light on the pocket. A few hundred rupees for a delicious pint of beer is all one can ask for.
(All prices listed below are inclusive of taxes)
Soon to open in Mumbai as well, Toit in Bengaluru claims that it is “brewing a revolutionary culture that promises some bodacious brews, fabulous foods and a supreme brewpub experience”. It doesn’t use enzymes, chemicals, colouring agents, artificial flavouring or preservatives for the fear of diluting the taste of its brews.
Toit’s selection of organic beers includes some inventive, locally styled brews that you should try. For example, Naama Beeru uses millet seeds or raagi, an important component of Karnataka’s traditional recipes, and gets its sweetness from the malt and jaggery used. Another one is Basmati Blonde that uses India’s prized basmati rice. I personally preferred Dark Knight though, a dark coloured, creamy textured, full-bodied beer with notes of dark chocolate and coffee. It tastes even better when paired with barbecued pork chops.
The food menu at Toit is a good mix of comfort foods such as pastas, pizzas, and burgers to go with copious amounts of fresh beer.
Open Monday-Tuesday 12:30pm-11:30pm, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday noon-1:30am; Thursday and Sunday noon to 12:30am; cost for a pint of beer starts at ₹225; tel: +91 90197 13388; toit.in
I love visiting this outpost at nights because that’s when they have a live band playing. It’s a vibrant set-up with a theme or gig every night, and interesting props (thought bubbles, expression cards, wigs, etc) at times to pump up the fun quotient. Visiting alone doesn’t mean you will be all by yourself; the bartenders ensure you have a good time, or so I experienced.
Big Brewsky has al fresco seating, and like I said earlier, the weather in Bengaluru is almost always fantastic. Amongst the many fresh brews here, my favourite would have to be Weizenbock with flavours of biscuit malt, caramel, cocoa and coffee. India Pale Ale is just as good, but more bitter with aromas of citrus and tropical fruits.
The food options seem to be endless, and it could take a while to narrow down on something that goes well with your brew of choice. I particularly enjoyed the garlic pepper chicken with a pint of Weizenbock and the Har Gau dim sum with India Pale Ale.
Open daily 12:30pm-1am; cost for a pint of beer starts at ₹280; tel: +91 080 39514766; bigbrewsky.com
ARBOR BREWING COMPANY
Not just an ode to Arbor Brewing Company in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the USA, this is a partnership that intends to recreate the essence of Arbor Brewing Company in India. Locals know it better as ABC.
ABC has a cosy vibe with wooden interiors, and a great variety of beers ranging from your tropical stouts and porters to wheat. It has an interesting collection of spiced and fruit beers too.
Each month has an exclusive ale or lager on tap — there is one for the IPL season in April that has a cooling effect before the hottest month of the year arrives. Independence Lager, on tap from August 15 until stock lasts, has dried mango powder and white pepper added to it when being brewed for a “tangy and spicy kick”. A hunky looking mascot for Mr Delicious, inspired by ABC founder Matt Greff, whose birthday falls on February 24, will be on tap from then until the keg is dry.
For me, a pint or two of their Hafeweizena medium bodied wheat beer with tropical fruit notes, paired with a sausage platter was enough to keep the spirits high. The pepper corn steak is delightful too and goes well with a pint of stout – a full-bodied, creamy, dark beer.
Open Sunday-Thursday 12pm-12:30am, Friday-Saturday until 1am; cost for a pint of beer starts at ₹180; tel: +91 80501 44477; arborbrewing.in
This is anyone’s sort of place, to be honest. It takes jazz music seriously and the vibe is great especially with warm ceiling lamps, plush sofa seating, and dare I say sophisticated with a wall-to-wall books display, should you wish to leaf through one on a solo visit.
From Monday to Friday the after-work vibe is great to unwind with chargrilled kebabs, handcrafted ales and craft cocktails. The food menu has a healthy selection too for the calorie-conscious.
Sit outside on the terrace or watch the band inside up close, chomp on some delicious kebabs and wash it all down with Windmills Craftworks’ version of Helles – a light, refreshing and floral beer. I’m also a big fan of the stout here, a bitter dark creamy beer with a touch of sweetness for balance, which pairs perfectly with the Jumbo Meltdown Burger.
Open Sunday-Thursday 11:30am-11:30pm, Friday-Saturday until 1am; cost for a pint of beer starts at ₹425; tel: +91 88802 33322; windmillscraftworks.com
I had stopped by here just after a big dinner with wine. Almost sated, or so I thought, on arriving at District 6 I couldn’t resist the six variants of beer on offer. Each drink is served in a special glass that one may choose from a list of “best served in”. If the pub is crowded, and it usually is, the bartenders pick a glass for you.
I started with a wheat beer (The Chief) with tropical fruit aromas and flavours. If you must eat, pair it with the beetroot and goat cheese salad. Next was The Dark Lord, a full-bodied beer that is best complemented with a healthy portion of Weisswurst (traditional Bavarian sausage).
Open daily noon to 1am; cost for a pint of beer starts at ₹230; tel: +91 72599 06666; thedistrict6.com