Here’s a story – my Valentine’s day celebrations were trashed first by Uber and then by Domino’s Pizza (my desperate Plan B), so I decided to have a candlelight dinner indoors for what it was worth. What it was actually worth, was a Valentine’s day do-over entirely sponsored by Effingut! (My #VDayFail story won a contest that the brewery had conducted on Twitter!)
Now I’ve been to the Koregaon Park outlet quite a few times but this one’s relatively newer so this was (shamefully) my first visit to the outlet. I’m glad then, that this one’s much closer to home and smack dab on Baner Road, so five points to Gryffindor.
Inside, it’s cavernous – so much bigger than its KP cousin so five more points to Gryffindor. During my date they were playing Aerosmith and Pink Floyd….aaaand Gryffindor wins the house cup! They do have that trademark bike-on-the-wall and the heavy-on-wood interiors as well, so they’ve got everything going for a 5/5 on ambience, really.
I always thought microbreweries were all about great beer and the buck stopped there; food was more of a distraction anyway so I had come to expect the very usual bar grub whenever I visited any microbrewery/taproom. Effingut though, shattered my bias forever. FOOD is so darn GOOD here that I’d probably go back just for the Chicken Wings or the Typhoon Prawns or the Khao Suey or basically anything off their seemingly bottomless menu.
Buuuuuut I’d gone there for the beer. Obviously. And obviously, I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest.
In trademark style then, the complimentary beer flight was served which spanned –
- Hefeweizen – The quintessentially-Bavarian summer quencher that’s totally bananas and is absolutely (c)lovely #PunIntended
- Citrus Burst IPA – more on this later
- Apple Cider – the wannabe apple juice trying to fit in with the big boys
- Best Bitter – The English boy who isn’t the best OR as bitter as his name suggests but rather a delicate balance between malty and hoppy-bitter
- Dunkelweizen – The big Hef’s darker cousin made from darker malts to bring out a malty, carameley, character in addition to the banana-clove-ness.
- Marzen Lager – more on this later
- Roggenbier – more on this later
- Belgian Saison – a complex spicy, citrusy, sweet easy-drinking ale indigenous to the French-speaking parts of Belgium
- Lemon Ginger Mead – A Honey-based beverage trying hard to blend in with the big boys with a little help from ginger
- Milk Stout – If a dark chocolate mocha could be a beer, this is probably what it’d be like.
That’s how I’d explain the samplers to my Gramma. But you’re not my Gramma. So let me cut to the chase with the three beers I’d said I would elaborate on –
1. Citrus Burst IPA –
When the English occupied India they would’ve loved to brew beer locally, but that wasn’t possible back then due to the warm climate. So they decided to have it imported by sea, all the way from back home. Hops, the second main ingredient of beer after malts, also act as a natural preservative (well, apart from the alcohol itself), and were therefore added aplenty so the beer could last the perilous journey from home (England) to office (India). And just like that a style was born ! Well there may have been more to it but this is the relevant bit. This fragrant, bitter and handsome-looking amber coloured beer is the much loved IPA, then. Effingut’s take (involves Citra, Galaxy and Cascade hops as confirmed with the big man Manu – the head brewer) has citrus fruit, floral-estery notes, and pronounced hoppiness on the nose. At 55 IBU there’s leading bitterness with some spice in the flavor-profile and a distinct tarty-bittersweet grapefruit character that’s very, very welcome. It’s medium bodied and is well carbonated for that crisp, clean finish. Lovely stuff.
2. Märzen Lager –
The definitive Oktoberfest beer – the Märzen, is a lager that used to be brewed in März (March) at the end of the brewing season for consumption in late Summer. Unlike traditional lighter summer lagers, this was a richer beer. As you can see, it’s copper-brown and pours to a rich, foamy head. On the nose, it’s toasty and malty with slight hints of spicy, floral hops. It’s similar on the palate then, with rich, malty, toasted bread-like flavours and a welcome burnt-caramel bitterness that rounds the flavours off. It’s medium bodied as well, and is also crisp due to a decent amount of carbonation going on. Oh, and it’s also expectedly easy-drinking because…you don’t see people drinking one mug of beer during Oktoberfest, do you???
3. The Roggenbier –
Just saying RRRRRRROGGENBIER makes me feel nice. Rye is a grain that is notorious for having a VERY assertive flavour among grains; it isn’t humble – it’s like the name of this beer…it damn-near announces itself in everything that’s made from it, including this beer, starting with the colour. That beautiful murky-brown and the off-white head are all courtesy of the copious amounts of rye used in the brewing process. So are the bready, spicy, earthy and slight fruity aromas. Well maybe not fruity…that probably comes from elsewhere. The flavors are nicely earthy-grainy-bready and spicy too; this beer is fairly different from most others and I mean that in a nice way. A very nice way. A medium body and good amount of carbonation make for great mouthfeel and a crisp, dry finish. This one’s a seasonal brew so it might not last too long and if you’re around and in the mood to experiment a little, you should definitely go try it out.
4. (My date also had a) Moscow Mule –
Refreshingly lemony with that trademark vodka-sweetness on the nose and palate, and the zesty punch of ginger. This stuff is a Godsend after a long and hot summer day.
To avoid looking like a alcoholic I had to call for food – it was the decent thing to do. So we called for –
Chicken in your choice of Sauce – Chilli Basil (₹325) –
Deliciously smoky, spicy, sticky and juicy wings – and that dash of herbs does wonders to an already amazing preparation. The piquant dip served on the side is another great addition to the whole thing. This one may be off the menu and what a damn shame that is! What a great thing to pair with the IPA!
Beer-battered Crispy Calamari (definitely discontinued) –
Evident whiff of beer in every bite, delicious roasted sesame giving each morsel added character, juicy calamari crisp-fried to perfection and served with a tartar dip. Did I mention the rice crisps served on the side? Why the Eff would you discontinue such a wonderful thing, Effingut?! (I don’t see it on the online menu, anymore!)
Typhoon Prawns (₹495) –
Pastry sheet-wrapped deep fried juicy, succulent prawns served with a sweet-spicy runny dip on the side. A welcome munchie to pair with the IPA again!
For mains, we called for a Vegetarian Khow Suey (₹375) –
Served with oodles of red chillies, fried onion, fried garlic, chives, coriander and lemon on the side to customise as one wishes – the light, soft noodles and the creamy, coconut-ey gravy coming together so well for a burst of flavors in the mouth. A complete dish by itself, and an absolute winner.
To end things (not that we wanted to…because our date was going so well and Samson was spoiling us silly), we called for –
Hefeweizen Banana Trifle (₹295) –
The Hef by itself has notes of Banana and Cloves (which comes from the yeast) so to pair it with bananas for a dessert is absolutely genius. On this note then, I was expecting a whole lot of banana but found it to be a little too subtle. The just-so amount of chocolate mousse-ey textures were on-point though. I’d probably go for the Mango cheesecake next time… ’tis the season after all!
All in all, I rate the place at a solid 5 for the sheer awesomeness of the food, the ambience, the beer AND service (Samson, you’re awesome!)
VERY few places impress this much!