Travel for me has always been about exploring, learning and experiencing. For the last few years, the focus has been on the food and beverage of different cultures. My love for exploring beer and beverages began in 2015, with my first trip to Taipei, where I explored craft beers. It was a new world to me, which I had not experienced in India at all, and most definitely not like in Taipei!
I was all of 25 when I tasted some of the best craft beers ever and visited some of the best bars and craft beer spots in a foreign city. My love affair with the beverage began in the Taiwanese city and I’ve never looked back. Taipei is where I learnt to experience my drink, hold it and savour it. It was all about opening the senses than just the robotic action of drinking. I was intrigued and inquisitive. I was hungry to know more and learn more. Thus, began my journey in the world of alco-bev.
Back in 2015, Taipei was exploding with craft beers, with hole in the wall size spots in the back lanes of malls and markets. With over 20 flavours and styles like stone coffee milk stout, Guava Islander IPA and House American Pale Ale of fresh craft beers on tap and just a few standing tables, these little joints would come to life on the streets. It’s a whole new arena of flavour, style and technique, a phenomenon that India hasn’t seen or experienced yet.
The one I’m referring to is amongst the oldest and most famous craft beers spots in the most famous areas of Taipei–Landmark (right behind Taipei 101). If this place was the bomb back then, I can only imagine what it must be now!
From there, my travels took me to many more countries and cities, in the quest to see and learn more. I have been fortunate to not only experience craft beer as a consumer in a pub or a bar, but also actually see where and how it’s made.
Pilsner Urquell and Kozel happen to be two amazing beer brands that I’ve been lucky to experience in Singapore as a consumer, at brand events and games and also in their homeland Czech Republic, drinking with the locals, like the locals. The most unforgettable experience being the part when I visited their breweries and saw how the famous and legendry beer is made.
I learnt many unknown facts and essentials in beer-making that are unadulterated, unsweetened and unflavoured. It’s incredible to see the golden liquid come to life in hundreds of years old breweries that strike such a wonderful balance between maintaining the heritage and adopting modern techniques in beer making and sustainable packaging.
London pubs make for exceptional beer drinking experience, especially traditional British pubs. From fresh craft beer to locally bottled and canned beer, it’s always been enjoyable. It was also interesting to see ciders and differently flavoured beers on tap at some of the best bars too. Ciders have been long ignored, but it’s good to see it return in the international market and, hopefully, soon in India too.
I have travelled quite a bit in our country as well to savour a different craft beer and visit breweries and microbreweries to learn and observe. I had an amazing trip in Bengaluru, visiting the microbreweries, and I thank all the lovely hosts who took me to their production units and answered all my questions. I also enjoyed the craft beer scene in Pune and Goa, an emerging hotspot for craft beer.
I am quite sure that India will soon be joining the beer club of the world and I can’t wait for that!