How to Identify and Order your Beer in a {Gurgaon} Brewery

Karina posted on 30 June

Gone are the days where ordering a beer was hassle-free. Today, when you walk into a microbrewery, you can be as flummoxed as when faced with an exhaustive wine list in France. There are a whole lot of options out there and if you don’t know one from the other, you’re missing out on some great brews. So here’s a little guide to help you order like a pro on your next visit.

First things first, 4 ingredients are essential for brewing beer – malt {barley, wheat, rice etc}, hops {for flavour}, yeast {for fermentation} and water {for obvious reasons}. The wide world of beer is divided into lagers and ales, each determined by the brewing process they follow. Now to the specifics.

Lager

Let’s begin with the ubiquitous lager. There’s a reason this is the most consumed beer style in the world, and its high quaff-ability quotient is most certainly why. Don’t expect floral and fruity aromas, instead a good lager is crisp and refreshing, with subtle flavours. These barley-based beers are light on the palate and have you reaching for one mug after the other. Pale lagers, Pilsners, Bocks and Premium lagers are all marginally differing styles under the same umbrella.

Wheat Beer

No points for guessing these beers are brewed with a greater proportion of wheat than barley. These ales are significantly heavier on the palate than lagers. There are two main versions – the German ‘Weissbier’ and the Belgian ‘Witbier’. Weissbiers/Hefeweizens/Weizens have notes of banana and clove. In comparison, Witbiers are characterised by coriander and citrus flavours {think Hoegaarden}. A word of advice: many wheat beers are unfiltered {especially the Hefeweizen}, so if you find a little sediment at the bottom of your glass, don’t cry foul, or you’ll be the fool.

Dark Beer

Most Gurgaon microbreweries have a token dark beer on tap. These can range anywhere from a dark amber coloured Brown Ale to the deep brown Dunkels. Typically brown ales are low-alcohol, slightly sweet ales, with notes of caramel. Dunkel can be a tricky term. Often they are used to refer to dark wheat beers, but sometimes they are even used for dark lagers made of barley. While the former is heavier, they both have lovely toasty, charred flavours.

IPA

The Indian Pale Ale has an interesting story to it. Back in Colonial India, the British troops missed their home-brewed ales and so requested shipments. However, by the time the barrels had made their journey and hit port, the beer had gone bad. Some nifty brewers reckoned that since hops work as preservatives, adding more hops to the brew might help. The experiment was a success, and after fine-tuning the recipe, this style came to be called the Indian Pale Ale or IPA. It has intensely fruity aromas thanks to the hops, but is typically quite bitter on the palate. Not to everyone’s taste for sure, but once you develop a taste for this style there’s no going back.

Stout

These dark, full-bodied beauties are made from roasted barley and are loved for their flavours of bitter chocolate, burnt caramel and coffee – not the most pleasant of tastes perhaps, unless you have a palate for it. But stout-lovers are a significant breed. Don’t be fooled by the beer’s dark appearance or its name, stouts aren’t as heavy as they might seem. Also, dark beers do not always translate to more potent beers; that’s just a myth.

Cider