I am a wine man, yes. But that does not mean by any strike of chance that I do not enjoy other drinks. Every now and then, the Punjabi in me wakes up to appreciate a good cold beer or a glass of whisky. Most of us in India have been raised on a generous diet of Kingfisher beer since we started drinking, without showing any age proof to the guy behind the counter at our beloved liquor shop with that ubiquitous yellow sign board. Rarely does anyone try to venture out into the domain of beers.
So, The Pint Room were launching this new beer in India, the name of which I could barely comprehend let alone pronounce or type without copy-paste (thank god for copy-paste). I did, however, know it was a wheat beer, the kind that I really like. Yes, I am quite evolved that way. (Ed: and modesty isn’t one of his virtues)
The setting was right, filled with lots of conversations in the amount of space Mumbai would allow for a place serving beers from around the world. Situated between Great Punjab and Shopper’s Stop on Linking Road in Bandra, The Pint Room is brightly lit and does not give the impression of being a bar. In fact, it looks more like a coffee shop with lots of light, with a large plate glass window overlooking the busy Linking Road and the look of a place to hang out for a conversation without being bothered by the crowd. Not a bad thing at all. Brainchild of Pradeep Gidwani, former MD of Carlsberg India, who brought brands like Carlsberg, Tuborg and Foster’s to Indian shores, The Pint Room, Mumbai is the second outlet; first one being in Delhi’s Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj. I haven’t been to The Pint Room in Delhi, but I hope it has a similar attitude. The pricing is a bit as exotic as the beers, a little on the higher side which may turn into a deterrent for most who might just stick to the usual fare of Tuborg, Carlsberg and Kingfisher. The food is nothing exceptional, but then if you are out for a conversation with friends over a pint of beer, food might not be the priority.
Almost all wheat beers trace their lineage to Germany and adjoining Belgium. While the Belgians like to add coriander or lime peel to their wheat beer giving it a unique flavor, the Germans prefer to have a 50-50 blend of wheat and malted barley to make theirs and are called Weizenbier (white beer). The Germans, however, rely on the yeast to impart flavor. The result, in both cases, is amazing.
The Weihenstephan Hefe Weisse is one of the German varieties with 50% blend of wheat and malted barley. The prefix Hefe is German for yeast and ‘Hefe Weisse’ or ‘Hefeweizen’ is what they call an unfiltered wheat beer. The same beer when filtered would be called ‘Kristallweizen’. By German law, all wheat beers must be top fermented using specialized strains of yeast which produces overtones of bananas, cloves and mild citrusy notes.
Wheat beers tend to be mellower on the palate, with a much less hop bitterness, a cloudy appearance and a creamier texture akin to the Guinness, only lighter. They also tend to have a high foamy head compared to normal beers and a more citrusy aroma to it.
Should you try it? I say, go for it… look skywards and thank me after your first sip.