There is nothing quite like taking a long swig of perfectly chilled beer from a dew speckled, icy glass at the end of a hard days work. And while I love my peg of single malt, or the glass of red wine, nothing is better than an icy glass of golden ale. The thing about beer is that it goes with almost any kind of food, spicy kebabs, Goan fish fry, Chinese stir fry... you name it!
For beer lovers like the hubster and myself, Gurgaon is one of the best places for those who love fresh beer off the tap, brewed in small batches, in-house in what have come to be known as microbreweries. Microbreweries have become quite the rage in Gurgaon, and in the last 2 years or so, so many have cropped up that you could say Gurgaon has become the hub for Microbreweries. I remember when I first moved here there were only 2-3... now I think there are 11 in Gurgaon alone.
Both the hubby and I love our beer and one evening when we were deciding which watering hole to visit, we ended up listing out all the micro breweries we have visited and realised that we have visited all of them! We also ended up debating which are our favorites and why. And that's where the idea for this post was born.
Now before I start listing out our favorite places, let me start by saying that I'm no expert on beer. I can't go into long technical descriptions about the color, thickness of the head, laciness, maltiness, etc. I'll leave that to the beer experts who know what they are talking about :) Besides, even if I could, I assumes most folks would just be bored if I did - amateurs though we may be, we still know what we like and what we don't like. So it's based on our personal preference that we've favorited and rated these microbreweries.
I would also like to state clearly that every single one of our visits to microbreweries (listed and unlisted here) have been on an non-invite basis. We have visited as paying customers, no special discounts either. So I believe our ratings are fair in that our experiences were authentic since we didn't receive any special treatment.
So which microbreweries are our favorites and which places would we keep going back to again and again.
Here goes... compiled by the hubster and myself... our favorite 5 microbreweries in Gurgaon
Far and away our favourite. Located in sector 29 market, we love their beer and they maintain a pretty good consistency on all their beers. My favorite beers are the Premium and the Dark. Their Wheat beer is good, though I'm not too big a fan of Wheat Beer in general. Their food, mainly pub grub, is consistently good.
Must try- We love their potato wedges, their thin crust pizzas and their non-veg Indian starter platter. They also used to serve grilled tiger prawns in lemon and butter sauce which were to die for, but this is sadly no longer on the menu. But my absolute favorite is their lamb mini burgers... I get them every time!
The ambiance is amazing, a little like a local pub and they have recently expanded, so more space. Great since getting a table here after 8 on any day used to be almost impossible. The music is mostly classic rock and 80s'/ 90s' pop which is the kind of music I love. The crowd is a nice mixed bunch of folks that are always in good spirits. The staff is very well trained and very helpful and always on their toes. I think I've only once had a less than amazing experience there in about 25 visits which is pretty good I think.
2. 7 Degrees Brauhaus
Located in South Point Mall on Golf Course Road, this micro brewery has an interesting ambiance with seating below artificial hop trees, although it is beginning to look a little dated. It's known for its beer and it's Bavarian style food. I'll be honest, 7 degrees Brauhaus made it to number two on the list solely based on how much we enjoyed their beer, which was excellent. We tried the Special beer and the Lager. Both were easy to drink, with a great after-taste that seemed to get better with each sip. However they do need to work on their service. Food wise, maybe they had a bad day when we visited, but the pork schnitzel which I tried was sadly overcooked and leathery, and not presented well on the plate.
3. Open Tap
Quire new on the scene and when we first visited Open tap on Sohna Road, I remarked to the hubby about how similar it was to Downtown. And after enquiring with the guy serving us, we discovered that the owner was indeed the same. What I like about Open Tap is that its small, cosy and intimate, just like what a local watering hole/pub should be. This is the kind of place I would like to visit after a day of work, or to catch up with friends. The music is again mostly rock and is not so loud that it makes conversation impossible. Their beer is good... the premium and ale are my favorites. Little on the expensive side. Impossible to get a seat on a Friday evening after 7pm.
Must try- Thin crust pizzas
4. Manhattan Craft Brewery
Manhattan located in Global Foyer Mall on Golf Course Road and it is absolutely huge! The ambiance is great, but more along the lines of a lounge/club than a pub, which is why we have ranked it lower than Open Tap. The lighting is also very low, something we were not too keen on. The beer is good. Tried their Belgian Wheat and it is one of the few Wheat beers that I really enjoyed. Service is good, I would stick to the finger food options here. I tried their burger and was very, very disappointed. Go on a game night or when they are having a show. The hubby has visited during an India ODI and said the atmosphere was amazing.
Located in Global Foyer Mall, Striker also has an atmosphere similar to a local pub, but a little noiser. It has a real buzzing atmosphere, especially when they have live performances that showcase new as well as some established bands. But it tends to get a little overcrowded as the evening wears on. Their beer is named after music genres and is good but not great. We tried the Country Pilsner and it was light and crisp. We have visited Striker twice, very early on, when it first opened its doors and more recently a few months ago. Initially they had quite an extensive menu consisting of starters, salads and some mains, but they have now condensed their menu, sticking to mainly finger foods. Their beer, while still good, is not as good as it used to be. I'm also not so impressed with their more abbreviated menu.
I'm also going to mention a few other popular breweries and why they didn't make it to our favorite list.
Vapour- Located in a mall on MG Road, it's more like a lounge bar than a pub, with music that's quite loud, so while some may prefer this, we like a more casual setting. I've been there once, the hubby twice. Our first visit was very disappointing. The hubby's second visit was a better experience. Overall though, we were not too impressed with their beer or their food and their service needs a lot of improvement.
Soi 7- Great location, great ambience, decent music, ok food. That's where it ends for us. Service needs improvement and their beer is ok...
New Kids on the Block
Brewer Street is one of the newest entrants to the long list of microbreweries in Gurgaon. Located in ILD Trade Centre on Sohna Road, it has a really nice ambiance and plays some great music.
Positives- Excellent service, a very accommodating manager who genuinely seems concerned about his customers experience, expansive outdoor seating area and good food.
Negatives- sadly the beer... could do with a lot of improvement
Torgauer Brewpub, located in Raheja Mall, Sohna Road is another newbie. Torgauer is more of a club and a pub, I'd say, especially if you visit late in the evening because the music is meant more for dancing than conversation. Their beer is not too bad.
Positives- Good service, well trained staff and good food
Negatives- Beer needs improvement and the music is way too loud.
Well that's our list... what are your favorites?
[Images by Shalini Pereira, please do not use without prior written permission]