Barley and Me

A year ago the only thing I liked to drink were mojitos, and maybe the occasional caipiroska doused with sugar syrup and mint leaves. And as much as I would’ve like to be part of the beer-drinking gang instead of requiring ‘snooty cocktails’, I just couldn’t stomach it (which is quite ironic considering my Goan-mother’s family plies me with stories of how I was quite a guzzler as a child, yanking everyone’s beer mug to have a big gulp). So I just ignored all the jibes about choosing cocktails which had ‘a plant growing’ in them, and continued my mojito love affair, which is why, when I was hired to work with Ambrosia – a wine and spirit magazine, everyone’s first question was ‘How did you manage that?’

Since then my ‘drinking portfolio’ has expanded quite a bit, but it was a long journey before I developed a taste for beer. And I mean that literally. Approximately 10,800 kms long. All the way to the Fatherland –  Germany.

Früh am Dom: This Brauhaus (Brewhouse) is probably the best located in Koln (along the river Rhine) and very famous for the quality Kölsch they produce. Disappearing into tiny nooks and crannies at various levels, just seeing the place is a treat!

Living in the town of Cologne (of the eau de cologne fame), I tasted the locally brewed pale Kölsch and there was only one word for it – Yummy! And the same can be said for Bönnsch, locally brewed in Bonn.

Being a major part of German culture, many beers derive their names and are known by the specific areas in which they are brewed like Kölsch from Köln (Cologne), Bönnsch from Bonn, Altbier from Düsseldorf and Dortmunder Export from Dortmund. Although these are popular varietals in Germany, none of them have any part in the traditional German Oktoberfest, which consists of 14 main tents, all of which are sponsored only by different Munich breweries (more on that later).

This post is just an ode to Kölsch and Bönnsch, for making me more socially acceptable (a ‘beer-drinker’) and piquing my interest in malts, hops and all types of brews.

Ein prosit!