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Brewing blues

mumbai Updated: Aug 10, 2012 16:09 IST
Serena Menon

Mumbai fans first felt the pinch when Delhi got a whole new bunch of bars earlier this year, while ours struggled to keep their shutters open. And this wouldn’t have become personal if now even microbreweries weren’t mushrooming around Delhi and Gurgaon at the rate at which they currently are.

I know more than a couple of beer enthusiasts in this city who actively brew ale in their homes because the government doesn’t allow them to set up shop officially.

The closest option Mumbai has to a microbrewery is Doolally Handcrafted Beers, which is located only 250 km away in Pune. For those wondering, like I did, why this city is devoid of any such establishment, the answer isn’t all that shocking."I’ve been trying for the last year-and-a-half, but permissions are tough to get," said an American, who invites his friends over for some freshly brewed beers whenever he can. He does that also because most microbrewers have to finish their stock within a matter of 10 to 12 days. On most occasions, litres get poured into a drain.

While speaking to Doolally co-founder Suketu Talekar, he revealed his plans to set up a branch in Mumbai exactly two years ago. In August 2010, he was scouting around Lower Parel looking for the perfect spot. He had said, “I know Mumbai will appreciate a microbrewery.” No luck still. And at the rate at which things are going, don’t expect any either. Monks are allowed to brew beer in Belgium and earn a living from its sales, but Mumbai doesn’t permit it.

Even Belgium-based brewing giant Anheuser-Busch InBev agrees. “This city is quite starved of good experiences,” says Gokul Lawang, brand manager, AB InBev India. But even though Delhi is scoring away in most aspects, not everything is looking down in Mumbai.

There is some beery good news coming this way soon. A certain Belgian concept will be arriving in the city and will give lager lovers a reason to cheer. Watch this space for more.