A dip into Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest in India may sound a bit absurd but I just happened to visit a recently opened watering hole - "The Biere Club"(TBC) in Bangalore and they were celebrating the official last day of the fest. I was doubly lucky to have not procrastinated my pint of beer, for tomorrow is officially a dry day in the whole country.

TBC is situated on Lavele road in Bangalore, exactly in place of the old Kingfisher Airlines office. I doubt if that`s coincidence :). With the govt of India allowing separate and affordable licenses for brew pubs, I am guessing we will see more and more of these kind of places. There are a few already in other cities and TBC is almost the first in Bangalore. Toit in Indiranagar is also a brew pub, but they have not started making their own beers yet. The biggest dependency for this kind of place is to hunt for a in-house brew master, not so easy in this part of the world.

I entered TBC with my wife and daughter, about the same afternoon showers time for the city. It was 4 pm and the 3 floor beer garden did not have a single table free!!! Shows how much love and respect Bangloreans have for their beer. Neverthless I was directed towards the bar with my two girls..so clearly they do not have a problem with kids in their pub. Infact as we waded through the beery tables, I saw several tables had a kid or two thrown in :). The crowd of the place quite mixed - a few expats, a couple of small families, some teeny woopie youngsters, a group of men, few single girls. Almost like a place for all.

The USP of TBC is obviously that they make all their beers in-house. They have huge coppers overlooking the bar, where the beer is brewed. One whole wall of the ground floor is painted in cartoons in the Mario Miranda style. They have decent and simple lighting and several tables in all fashions - coffee, pub, 10 seater dinning, 4 seater. Some tables were dressed in typical German red and white chequered table cloth. Smoking is not allowed inside.

We looked at the beer menu and it was not disappointing. Finally there is a place in Bangalore that sells Stout. Thank HEAVENS!!! They have ales, lagers, stouts and wheat beers. At 300rs a 500 ml pint of Rs.225 for a 330 ml, I would say they are very decntly priced for what is being offered. Marking the occasion of Oktoberfest they have a few specially brewed beers too. Great thing about the place is they give you tasters from all or any of their categories if you want before choosing which one to order. I ordered ourselves a wheat beer to begin with as I always find them to be greatly refreshing starters. The last great wheat beer I liked for Giest, but that was bottled. When the beer arrived, it was perfect.....taste,temperature, head, the mug everything...I unfortunatly did not have my camera handy to take any pictures.

We got a table soon, and started looking at the food menu. TBC mostly serves mediterannean cuisine, a lot of moroccon actually. We asked for a spicy moroccon chicken appetizer. Priced at Rs 380, it was a very decent portion of grilled boneless chicken served with grilled peppers and zucchinis. Succlent chicken, well grilled veggies. My daughter Zyana, 2o months young, is a french fries loyalist and she had to disrespectfully for the place, order fries and was happy.

I ordered another pint from the Oktoberfest special beer menu - a coffee malt stout. People....after tasting the first sip, I was convinced that Jesus has arrived in Bangalore and we are to be redeemed soon. My wife Smita, almost said this looks like a dash of espresso in a beer can.A greatly brewed stout with the perfect balance between coffee and malt. I am not sure it will be available from tomorrow but this one was a killer.

We wanted to order a Tangine dish but Zyana decided we have had enough fun and that we should probably be heading home.

Staff were decent and friendly. I recommend you book a table in advance Walet factor- 1500 to 2000rs for beer and food for 2.

I came home hungry and made ourselves some Thai Rice stick noodle soup. I do not have patience to write the recipe and process right now but sufficed to say a lot of liquid for a single weekend...

PS: TBC does serve spirits too but would you care for them in such a place?

The rocket science of a Sidecar

The biggest problem with a booze blog is that to keep it going, u need to keep drinking. Nevermind. For quite a long time I have been drinking straight and had almost given up cocktails. I mustered myself upto make one this friday and it happens to be a Sidecar - it cant get more classic than this. I have written about it befoe but still, a Sidecar is the father of all sweet and sour drinks for here it started all. The whiksey sour, the margarita, the daiquiri are some of its improvisations or shall we call close cousins.

The basic rule of the sweet and sour cocktails is this - 1 of sour (lime), 2 of sweet (syrup), 3 of strong (alcohol) and 4 of week (ice). The numbers represent the potions. Change the ingredients but retain the characterstic and you will have all the variations/cousins like I mentioned before.

When I reached upto my bar this Friday, this is what I found. Lime juice, Orange liquer, some left over Brandy, and nice Angoustra Bitters lilliput. I like bitters in almost all my drinks, its what I call the salt of cocktails.

Traditionally a sidecar is made of cognac but i shall use its poorer cousin brandy today and the sweet in the drink comes from Cointreau (liquer made from orange peels). Unfortunatly I left my shaker at my friend`s place last time i took my kit there, so I substitute it with a gym sipper and man it works just fine. I use a BIG margarita glass to make this one and pour all ingredients after shaking them with ice.

Will blog soon!!!

My exceptionally great blogging tempo is thanks to my work life getting much busier (& not FB or Twitter please, I still do love the classic blogging too). So here when I am sitting doodling around at the Heathrow airport, I thought I ll put my time to good use on my deprived blog. There are two main things I need to blog about and soon.
Everyday Drinking - An deviously fantastic book for all drunkards of the world presented to me by someone who I fondly call "Bhabi"
& ofcourse my fabulous spiritual experiences from the land of the Queen.

The earlier deserves a good number of posts seperatly. So I shall indulge in reporting out on the later lest I might loose memory of small little things that made the experiences. For ease`s sake, I ll split that into two posts - one on the drinking culture of the place as observed by me and another on the new things I have tasted and come across. So stay tunnned for my dole out as I am sinking into my word pad ......

About Shank

Shank is a cocktail enthusiast & a self-proclaimed mixologist. He likes to experiment with spirits. He has traveled around a bit visiting hundreds of bars and tasting the buzziest of alcohols, cocktails and shooters.

Shank spent early years of his dizziness in Mumbai. He has lived in Hyderabad for long and for the past few years is chilling his glass in Bangalore.

He is currently busy spreading his love for spirits through this blog - Cocktail Nirvana.

This blog is part of his ongoing quest for fine spirits, creative cocktails and classic mixology. These online journals will capture his cocktail inventions, adventures with alcohol, trips to bars, meeting with ace mixologists, lessons in the art of drinking and much more.

This apart, ignoring good judgment, the fine folks at www.mybangalore.com also allow him to take up valuable space on their portal with his words & pictures.

Away from Nirvana