NMBCo meets India

Recently we traveled to India to meet with Mumbai’s first Craft Brewery; Gateway Brewing Co, The Yeast India Co and to re-create the old world journey (in our own very 21st century way) of our New World India Pale Ale.

India has a population of 1.23 billion and has around 20 breweries. The majority of the micros are Brewpubs located in Bangalore that do not sell outside of their premises, in contrast to this in the UK there is a population of approximately 63 million and around 1147 breweries (at the time of writing). However, in India the days of ‘Beer festivals’ where the choice is between Kingfisher Premium or Kingfisher Strong are starting to change and there is a burgeoning beer scene driven by enthusiastic brewers inspired by their experiences in both the UK / US and the beer heritage in India.

White Zen and India Pale Ale keg tapsWe were lucky enough to meet with some of the people at the vanguard of this movement, Gateway Brewery and The Yeast India Co. On a Friday night in downtown Bombay we had the pleasure of sharing some of Gateway’s beers; White Zen in the Hefeizen style, their India Pale Ale and a Mithai beer spiced with local herbs and spices including saffron, cloves and cinnamon. We also brought some New World IPA and Strannik to share. After days of traveling down from Delhi finding nothing but one lonely bottle of Chimay for 700 rupees (£7.00) this was nothing short of an explosion of flavours, taste and aromas for our willing tastebuds.

Gateway was been founded by a team of talented home brewers led by Navin Mittal, otherwise known as The Indian Beer Geek. Their passion, enthusiasm, talent and relentless determination to produce and distribute their own beers in India, despite years of dealing with red tape and bureaucracy (Gateway are still awaiting the final approval to launch) is truly inspiring. In a country where the debate about what “craft” beer is, is not even a blip on the horizon, they tick every single box… We have plans for what promises to be a unique collaboration in the pipeline and at the time of writing the first Anglo-Indian collaboration.

We supported the Yeast India Co in one of their beer culture sessions, in which they detailed some aspects of the history of beer, various styles and the brewing process. They also offered beer tastings and food pairings. What must have been one of the very first events of this kind delivered in India was eagerly absorbed by a handful of enthusiastic locals.

We’ve got plans to take the New World IPA over to India in more significant quantities as soon as our capacity will allow and our collaboration should be realised early in 2014.

A big thanks to Gateway Brewing Co and Yeast India for being great hosts; we can’t wait to come back. Find them at www.gatewaybrewery.com / @gatewaybrewery, @yeastindiaco and hopefully stocked in Mumbai’s best beer bars soon. Our collaboration should hopefully be stocked at all good beery spots some time next year.