Most people would have at least one good story that begins with the word beer. Let’s face it – no good story could possibly begin with someone hitting a salad bar with his or her friends anyway.
I remember when I was old enough, and a known tippler among the cousins, the older boys would sneak us some beer at the weddings. They never believed that we could hold our beer, so we’d get it mixed in cola. Ah, those were the days. That was my first tryst with a rudimentary beer based cocktail. I never liked it, but then beggars can’t be choosers.
Fast forward to today, I believe that to be the beginning of my career in tasting drinks. Strangely though, between then and now, I’ve never come across cocktail concoctions with beer, at least until recently. Beer Café, along with Monin, has launched a new beer cocktail menu that is sure to give you a new perspective on beers.
BEER COCKTAILS? REALLY?
Beer is not an easy, or rather the first, choice for a cocktail drink. Nor can it be classified as a chaser. In fact, it sure would make Jerry Thomas turn in his grave to think of beer as a chaser. It’s supposed to be just beer, a relaxed drink that goes well with conversations and friends at a barbecue or in front of the television during a ball game. Yet, Monin’s versions of beer cocktails at Beer Café work at so many different levels.
The initial menu of six cocktails, labeled as Brewtails, has something for every palate. There is the rather sweet Sweet Pepper to the balanced Beerijito and Beer Rita. All drinks use Monin’s fruit extracts and pair well with spicy starter fare at Beer Café.
However, some attention might be warranted in that department soon. The kebabs, shrimp satay and chicken wings had the right amount of spices, with almost the right flavors and textures, but seemed slightly dry, probably suffering from a mild bout of overcooking or overwarming that beer or beer cocktails may not be enough to offset.
BEER, A SOCIAL LUBRICANT
Beer has a very strong culture of camaraderie around it in the western markets. It is seen as a social lubricant and has a mass appeal unmatched by any other drink, be it whiskey or wine. Beer cafés are the neighborhood norm globally and rarely carry the tag of sophistication around them as propagated in India. Nor do they serve the purpose of getting sloshed in a pint that the average mass Indian audiences prefer.
With their third outlet in Gurgaon situated in the thick of residential complexes, Beer Café is trying to set off a chain reaction that is likely to see the evolution of neighborhood beer taverns in some of the better established local markets in India like Delhi NCR, Mumbai and Bangalore. Only time will be the judge whether Beer Café succeeds in this endeavor or not.
Coming back to the cocktails though, priced between INR 285++ and INR 325++, the new menu will be available at all Beer Café outlets across the country. The cocktails are definitely worth a try, but may need some amount of cajoling of the beer fan to move from his pint to pick up that cocktail glass.