Beer Cafe Launches and How

The Beer Café- Ambiance Mall, Gurgaon

If you’ve been on the lookout for a casual place offering beer from around the world at very reasonable prices, it’s here. After a rather disappointing first visit where I was offered only Kingfishers and Fosters, I returned with the hope of tasting some world-class beers. I was not disappointed.

Charis is being quite charitable here. The original launch invitation clearly specified the event was invite-only and included a range of beers available for sampling. Sometime along the day the organizers experienced an intense chilling of their lower extremities and decided to cut back to Kingfisher and Foster’s, thus going back on their word. They should have accepted a mistake was made, grinned and bore it instead of wimping out. How else do you define ethics? – Ed.

With more than 40 world beers on offer, and their PYOB (Pour your own Beer) concept, The Beer Café in Ambiance Mall, Gurgaon is at the brink of a beer revolution.

Imagine this: you’ve spent the whole afternoon shopping and resting your feet before you continue sounds like a good idea. You walk into The Beer Café, swipe your unique beer card and pour yourself a mug of delicious, chilled beer straight off the tap. While you’re there, you could also try one of many bottled beers on offer. You recharge your phone at one of the inbuilt chargers near most tables, and surf the net using their free wifi. Half an hour later, you walk out refreshed.

The PYOB concept is a rather unique one. It works with the three tap beers on offer: Fosters, Stella Artois and Hoegaarden (all between 100 and 250 INR/10 ounce mug). The beer card, available at the café (retained with the customer thereafter) is loaded with a certain amount of money. It can then be swiped to pour as much or as little beer as desired, into the pre-chilled mugs available. The wonderful thing is you’re charged only for the beer you pour, not the foam. You could in fact choose to drink half a mug of 2 different types, instead of a whole mug of a single type of beer. If you’re a slow drinker, you can pour yourself a little at time so that every swig you take is perfectly chilled. You can have your drink standing near the taps, or carry it to a table. Rahul Singh, the MD, informed us that the beer is always at the perfect temperature. If your beer isn’t cold, it’s replaced.

If you’re there with friends, you could order one of the three beer-containers; the 8-mug Pillar, the 15-mug Tank or the 100-mug Beerzilla Keg. All these are loaded with beer and brought to your table. Bottled beers are reasonably priced and there’s a great selection available. Among the ones we tried I enjoyed a dark, German, wheat beer – Erdinger-Dunkel (500ml/350 INR), the fruity, yeasty Chimay Red from Belgium made by Trappist monks (330ml/500 INR), and the dry Asahi rice beer from Japan (330ml/300 INR).

There are also some delicious beer cocktails on offer. Chandy though available is quite predictable. The one to try is the absolutely delicious Mexican cocktail – Michelada (200 INR). Made with tomato juice and Tabasco sauce, this one is like a light beer Bloody Mary. The menu also has other basic alcohols, tea and coffee on offer, but I don’t know why anyone would go there to drink anything but the beer. The snacks are good, with some non-fussy items like Maggi and eggs-to-order on the menu. Thai curries and some Indian kebabs are also available if you’re looking for more filling options.

The Beer Café has big plans. Rahul plans to open 10 outlets all over North India (Delhi, Punjab, and Rajasthan) this year, which reminds me; your beer card will be usable across outlets. There is also an interactive Beer Café app that will be launched shortly to complement the already running Beer Café radio.

So the next time you’re in the mood for a laidback afternoon spent in the company of some world-class, perfectly chilled beer, you know where to go.

Charis A. B.

is a language editor by profession, a foodie and a talented baker. When she isn't pulverizing a training dummy (and people sometimes) during kickboxing practice, she can be seen clicking away with her camera and scouring markets for hard to find ingredients. She's fond of travelling and an inveterate carnivore. Charis covers New York for Chef at Large and can be reached at charis.bhagianathan@www.chefatlarge.in