Tag Archives: IPA

Beervana – India Pale Ale – Navin Mittal

[vc_column width=”1/1″]Editors Note – International IPA Day is on 6th August. To mark the same, we get Navin Mittal, the co founder of Gateway Brewery, one of India’s leading craft brewers to talk about his love for IPA (India Pale Ale) and how that has translated into the various styles of IPA which Gateway brews up.

When I first came across a beer that had India Pale Ale written on the label, I didn’t quite know how to react. Just like Bombay in Bombay Sapphire, I incorrectly thought that someone had stolen the prefix – India. How dare they use India when it hadn’t been made in India. Can Indians use Scotch whiskey for the whiskey we make in India? Fuc***g thieves! Let’s sue them and take it back!

But before I began my argument, I was told that the India Pale Ale is a style of beer that was brewed in England and shipped to India in the 1820s for consumption by the British troops. Since the journey was long, it was made stronger (higher alcohol acts as a natural preservative) and more hops were added, again, to preserve the beer. Hence, India Pale Ale (IPA).

Ok! So now I get it! But are they allowed to use India in the name? Anyways….

Until this moment, to me, beer was just beer! I didn’t think about it at all. I just drank what was available and called it a night! But now, I wanted to know more and Google helped out. Beer styles, to the common drinker (myself included before 2006), don’t quite mean much unless they spend time and understand them. When I started reading, I came across many stories about how the India Pale Ale (IPA) came into being. Not only that, I also learned that there were different types of beers available across the world (not all yellow and fizzy) and that one can also brew beer at home and it is a raging hobby in the United States. I was smitten! To cut the long story short, my love for beer led to brewing beer at home and then to the founding of Gateway Brewing Co., in Mumbai.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Since our launch, we have had 3 beers on tap in various bars across the city. But the IPA has always been my favourite and also the one that has changed the most over the course of the years. People who understand and love beers, love the IPA and its many variants. You see, over 2 centuries, brewers have interpreted the IPA style in 1000s of different ways. Different levels of alcohol, bitterness and aroma! Wow. What variety!

So, what does an IPA taste like? Our launch IPA was inspired by American IPAs and it was strong, had a good amount of sweetness from malt but was balanced with a healthy dose of bitterness from hops and capped off with another class of hops for a heady burst of aroma. Now, isn’t this something you want to drink in place of the ‘yellow water’. I do hope so!

After few months, we changed the recipe and this time around drew inspiration from the west coast of United States. Aptly called West Coast IPA, this brew employed a new dry-hopping technique to impart a grassy aroma and a slightly dry / astringent note to the beer. Once again, another layer of flavour.

West Coast IPA
West Coast IPA

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Having done American inspired IPAs, we decided to brew another recipe that I learned while studying in the UK. This IPA was less bitter, had a lower alcohol level but was still very flavourful and delicious to drink. One could have more than a few glasses. Easily. It was called Summer Sault IPA. With this brew, we also changed the hops a few times to give it different aroma and infused some Indian spices as well. Jugaad OR Summersault? You decide!

Summersault IPA
Summersault IPA

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Then came A1 – India Pale Ale. Single malt. Single hop. Truly A1.

A1 India Pale Ale
A1 India Pale Ale

I can go on and on about IPAs and their variants but what’s the point in reading. Go out there, get an IPA. Hell, get as many as you can and savour the flavour. 6th August is International IPA day and if it doesn’t mean much to you today, I can only say that it should. For without an IPA or its variants, we would be stuck with ‘yellow water’ they call beer!

Navin Mittal[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Born in India – IPA, Tonic and Punch

[vc_column width=”1/1″]Tonic Water

On a visit to the Berlin Bar Convent last October, one of the more pleasing trends I witnessed was the amazing range of Tonic waters available, from the UK’s Fever Tree (and their Fever Tree Truck), to the old faithful Schweppes to Thomas Henry from Germany to the spanking new Double Dutch, from you guessed it, The Netherlands. There’s  a brilliant range of flavoured tonic waters now available, world over and a vodka tonic or a Gin and Tonic has never tasted like this before.

Fever Tree
Fever Tree

The bark of the cinchona tree yields quinine, which is used in the treatment of malaria. And in the 19th century, British officers and soldiers needed a lot of this to ward off malaria. To make their daily dose more pleasurable, they combined the quinine with gin, water, sugar and lime, which was a predecessor to the modern gin and tonic. After this sweetened quinine water was introduced and then towards the end of the 19th century, carbonated tonic water was introduced.

Tonic water is now one of the most popular soft drinks in the world, with people who find traditional soft drinks too sweet, preferring the bitterness of tonic.

Also, as brands of gin have become more diverse with the addition of exotic botanicals, to add unique flavouring elements to gins such as Hendrick’s (rose petal, cardamom) and Bulldog (dragon eye), so has it been with tonic water as brands such as Fever Tree have pushed the envelope to emerge as brands of premium tonic, flavoured in some cases with Mediterranean herbs or elderflower.

Bulldog Gin and it's botanicals
Bulldog Gin and it’s botanicals

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Punch

The first known reference to Planter’s Punch was in the 8 August 1908 edition of the New York Times, as a poem: “This recipe I give to thee / Dear brother in the heat / Take two of sour (lime let it be) / To one and a half of sweet, / Of Old Jamaica pour three strong, / And add four parts of weak. / Then mix and drink. I do no wrong — / I know whereof I speak”.

A drink which is believed to have made it’s presence felt in 1670, and indeed as per David Wondrich’s excellent book, Imbibe, “it ruled the kingdom of mixed drinks, till 1850”, in what was as Wondrich describes, the “archaic age of mixology”.

The word Punch links back to the Hindi word, Panch, as it’s believed, that the original recipe for Punch, had guess what, 5 ingredients (spirit, sugar, lemon, water and tea or spice).

Over the past 10 to 15 years, there has been a revival in vintage and craft cocktails, and most of the cocktail “families” or styles of yesteryear, have seen a revival, and Punches too have gained from this trend.

The Royal Indian Punch @ Ek Bar, New Delhi
The Royal Indian Punch @ Ek Bar, New Delhi

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]Reedo’s Retro Punch

Beefeater Gin 200 ml
Lemon Sherbet
Lemon juice 60 ml
Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur 30 ml
Pomegranate Juice 50 ml
Sparkling Wine To top up

Prepare the lemon sherbet by muddling 6-8 Lemon peels & 50gms sugar together in a punch bowl. Now add the rest of the ingredients and stir with ice.

Serves 4-5. Serve in teacups.

Recipe Courtesy Ben Reed, a London based cocktail trainer and writer, who visited India recently.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″]IPA

In 18th century India, the British garrisons in India were under a different kind of threat, morale was plummeting and illness was high.  There was no beer and the troops were reduced to visiting the native parts of town and drinking illicitly distilled spirits.

In the 18th century, brewers in England in the historic towns of Burton on Ale, came up with a remarkable discovery. They brewed beer with higher gravities and a higher hops content (Hops are plants, which are members of the Cannabis family and are used to add aroma and flavour to beer and in the case of IPA to protect the beer from infection). This beer was known as the India Pale Ale and was specifically meant to meet the needs of the British garrison in India.

The higher gravities enabled the beer to slowly ferment on their long voyage via the Cape of Good Hope. Ale was till then the predominant style of beer, with lager (what we are more used to in India) only emerging later. The voyage of the IPA @ 18,000 miles was one of the longest sea voyages, crossing the equator and with temperature variations of 30 degrees Celsius. The IPA when it arrived in India came unspoilt and as you can imagine was greeted with much rapture.

A 1 IPA - Gateway Brewing Company, Mumbai
A 1 IPA – Gateway Brewing Company, Mumbai

Who knows how history may have turned out if IPA hadn’t been discovered, the British may have left India voluntarily before 1947, rather than forgo fresh beer![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]