The craft beer craze has slowly surfaced in Delhi, and thirsty brew seekers are forgoing the region’s hole-in-the-wall joints for chic beer cafés serving international lagers and IPAs, frothy selections on draft, and microbreweries (local law does not yet permit Delhi to have its own small-batch breweries, but brewers can create their wares in Gurgaon, Delhi’s neighbor city in the National Capital Region). Pull up a seat — Forbes Travel Correspondent Shivya Nath is ready to pour out her knowledge on where to find the best brew in this Indian metropolis.
The Pint Room
The choice hangout among beer aficionados in Delhi, The Pint Room (located on the second floor of the Ambience Mall in Vasant Kunj) is evidence that Delhi’s watering holes have come of age. The wide collection of ales and lagers includes everything from Schneider Weisse from Germany and Hoegaarden from Belgium, to dry Japanese beers such as Asahi. The colorful décor and spacious cushioned seating are conducive to an evening of catching up over a variety of beer styles.
A cozy café with outlets in Saket, Vasant Kunj and Connaught Place, this is the self-proclaimed “beeriest place in town.” On draft are beers such as Hoegaarden and the Australian brand, Foster’s, and a huge collection of bottled beers are stocked as well, of which the Belgian and Japanese varieties are must-try selections. To ease the flow of beer and conversation, the menu is full of addictive Indian snacks such as Maggi (instant noodles) and battered fried veggies, plus pizzas that fuse international flavors with toppings such as chicken tikka, paneer (Indian cheese), jalapeño peppers and mozzarella cheese. The interior design ranges from rustic brick walls to lounge sofas, but the staff is consistently cheerful and helpful at all locations.
India’s first-ever micro pub brewery, Rockman’s Island brews four varieties of beer: Wheat, Lager, Lager Strong, and Dark, with their Wheat and Dark beers standing out as the most popular. Located at the Ambience Mall in Gurgaon, (which is near the border of New Delhi and Gurgaon), Rockman’s is the closest you can get to a traditional German pub in Delhi; the beers are served at the massive Beer Island’s restaurant and brewery lounge, and traditional German fare is served to complement the ambience, complete with Weiner Frankfurters and Nuremberg sausages.
A microbrewery that is quickly gaining attention for its cool ambience, Vapour’s signature tasting ceremony gives newcomers the chance to sample all of its original brews (premium, dark, light and wheat) together before making a selection, along with tastes of special flavors of the month and “beer-tails” (beer cocktails). Appealing to both beer enthusiasts and party animals, Vapour offers chic indoor lounge seating with eco-friendly LED lighting, as well as an alfresco terrace seating with a dance floor, which is perfect for jamming to appearances by guest musicians and DJs.
A microbrewery at the Global Foyer Mall in Gurgaon (and its sister operation, a beer-but-no-brewery equivalent at Vasant Kunj in Delhi), Striker is a live music hall that is a go-to favorite for beer lovers on the weekends. While the freshly brewed Weiss Beer, Rock Beer and Country Pilsner Beer are on offer, a wide range of other alcoholic drinks somewhat dilutes the ambience of a proper microbrewery; however, the open-concept microbrewery at the center of the seating area saves the day, as does the rustic lighting and atmosphere. A menu of snacks (such as beer-battered prawns, chicken tikka and lamb seekh kabob) help the beers go down even easier.
Photo Courtesy of Striker Pub and Microbrewery