Cracking open a cold one at the end of a long week is a time-honoured ritual for many a malt aficionados in the country. However, if every sip of the beverage has always left you largely unimpressed – the fault might lie in your choice of brew. Here’s looking at some of the best-tasting beers in India – perfect for first-timers and those who’d like to enjoy a pint (or two) every now and then.
With restaurants adding eclectic hops to their menu rotations and old-school breweries experimenting with quirky new flavours – India has officially become home to some of the best beers in the world. In fact, today the six-pack culture has gone beyond the confines of game nights to find its place in fine-dining establishments, music festivals, and even elegant Sunday brunches.
Needless to say, there’s a lot going for beer at the moment. That said, not every palate takes kindly to the lagers and stouts of the malt world. In fact, the distinct bitterness of beer can make gin and vodka drinkers crinkle their noses. As the adage goes – like wine, beer is an acquired taste. And whether you’ve got a curious palate, enjoy adding new ales to your collection, or just can’t quite get with the beer hype – we’ve got a pick of delicious brews that will have you guzzling pints in no time.
Best-tasting beers in India that will turn you into a malt aficionado
Bira 91 Rise
One of the most popular craft beer brands in the country – Bira 91’s innovative takes on malt has produced quite a few delicious brews. Latest to join the lineup? A premium rice lager that fuses the flavours of coastal Indian carbs with Sorachi Ace hops from Japan. The former gives it a dry, light quality while the latter lends it a subtle citrus aroma. Every sip is refreshing, pairing well with curries and barbecue creations. Highly sessionable with a brilliant sparkle, if you’ve an experimentative palate – this makes for a unique choice for your first sip of beer.
ABV: Less than 8 percent
Price: INR 150 approx.
Simba Belgian Wit
Popular amongst beer aficionados – Simba holds the reputation for being one of the first homegrown breweries in the country. Naturally, it has produced some of the most flavourful hops. The Belgian Wit is no exception. It pours golden and has a fluffy head. Every sip is reminiscent of citrus and lemongrass, with added notes of spice from coriander seeds. The light bodied beer is chug-worthy – making it the perfect starting point for the malt curious.
ABV: 4.5 percent
Price: Rs 140 approx.
Kimaya Himalayan is known to fuse quality ingredients to produce delicious craft brews. Every sip is crisp and clean – with the subtle bitterness being perfect for someone who’s just starting out. This is further elevated by a citrus twang that’s accentuated by Columbus and Styrian Golding hops – both of which make it sessionable. Best part? Despite being gentle on the palate, this brew is one of the strongest in India – making it perfect to take with you to a party.
ABV: 7.2 percent
Price: INR 100 approx.
Maka Di Honey Ale
If there’s one part of India that truly understands malts – other than Bangalore, of course – it’s Goa. The region is home to several craft breweries – with Maka Di being one of the more popular ones. It holds a reputation for producing innovative, experimental brews and their Honey Ale is no different. It sources wild honey from Uttarakhand’s Jim Corbett Park – which gives it a sweet, layered quality. Every sip evokes spring with subtle notes of malt. This hoppy option also pairs well with chicken wings and Goan sausages. However, it can just as well replace your dessert – making for a delicious first-timer option.
ABV: 7-8 percent
Price: INR 210 approx.
Kati Patang Zesty Amber
Another popular craft beer brand – Kati Patang is known to brew its malts with Himalayan spring water – giving them a unique, refreshing quality. The Zesty Amber – a crisp, dark ale – is for the adventurous first-timers. It’s got minimal froth and every sip is reminiscent of citrus and caramel. There are also notes of lemon and Indian spices like peppercorn, ginger, and turmeric. Despite the complex, bold flavours – this one’s quite light and sessionable. If you’d like a guzzle-worthy first option that’s inherently Indian, pick up a bottle on your next grocery run.
ABV: 4.8 percent
Price: INR 200 approx.
Geist James Blond
From the brewery capital of the country – Bengaluru – Geist boasts of experimental and seasonal malts. Their tenth creation – James Blond – is a timeless blond ale that pours a pale yellow. It’s medium-bodied with a not-too-overpowering hop bitterness and a smooth finish. As far as easy drinking goes, it doesn’t get better than this one.
ABV: 7.7 percent
Price: INR 225 approx.
This artisanal craft beer brand has a lineup of some of the most quality brews in the country. The secret? Choicest ingredients from around the world. The Wheat option pours straw and has notes of clove, coriander, banana, honey, chamomile, and bread. Orange peel, meanwhile, gives it a citrus touch. Full-bodied and balanced, with a round finish – every sip is crisp and smooth. This one will transport you to a tropical island – not bad for a first time experience.
ABV: 4.9 percent
Price: INR 120 approx.
Lone Wolf Mild Lager
This homegrown brand is the new kid on the block when it comes to malts. The brand aims to offer quality brews at affordable prices. Naturally, the latest launch is a crowd pleaser. Hops and yeasts imported from Germany meet low additives and enzymes to create a beer that goes down easy. The light variant is crisp – with a distinct earthy aroma that makes it perfect for sunny brunches. As far as breezy brews go, this one takes the cake.
ABV: Less than 8 percent
Price: INR 120 approx.
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