Crafted in Lower Parel

By Dhara Vora Sabhnani | Mumbai

A popular brewpub has finally launched its own craft beers. Here's what to expect

(From left) Stout-n-out; forbidden fruit, aye blonde, yayger bierster and Verbena white

When we first visited Verbena last year, it was a bright day with sunlight streaming in, through every corner, the kind of day that reminds you of getting bronzed and sipping on margaritas on a beach. We wished for two things while we were there — bright blue skies all year through and in-house craft beer for lazy Sunday brunches.

One of those wishes has come true. The space is now serving five beers, brewed at the pub, with Sachiin Khhavle as the brewmaster. The list of beers is expansive — stout, wheat beer, lager, cider and a quirky beer (yayger bierster) that's unique to their menu. Excited, we decide to give them a try on the day of their debut.

To munch on, we call for a plate of bacon wrapped chicken sausages (Rs 444) that is served with a portion of herbed potato wedges and a simple house salad. It's time to start our tasting. We begin with the lightest beer — the Verbena witbier. With its Belgian origins, we were expecting the tartness, but the acidity is somewhat unpolished for our liking. The fizz helps pull the flavours together, to some extent.

Bacon wrapped sausauges served with potato wedges

We hope for things to get better when we sip aye blonde! their version of a European ale. It's an instant hit. A refreshing brew, the beer has a smooth malty flavour that leaves a great aftertaste. The crispy bacon wraps and the potato wedges are dangerously addictive, and help make up for forbidden fruit, a highly acidic cider that turns out to be a big disappointment. In between the low fizz and bad aftertaste, the fruity flavour that one would expect to stand out is lost.

Thankfully, we have saved the best for the last — yayger bierster and stout-n-out (Rs 210 each). Bierster is their experimental lager, blended with herbs and Jagermeister, and the final result justifies the curiosity it generates. Verbena seamlessly merges the essence of their lager, with the signature complex flavour of Jägermeister in the sweet beer, and we are glad that it doesn't just limit itself to being a gimmick. In spite of the complex flavours, it still manages to be a breezy drink that's light on the palate. The star is the stout, a creamy, but not too thick Irish stout that we fall in love with instantly. The notes of coffee and chocolate smoothly envelop our taste buds, giving a velvety finish. We call for round two.

While the cider and the ale are a downer, we hope that things take a good turn once they find a footing in the Lower Parel beer scene. As for us, we plan to return for the stout, on a rainy weeknight, with an imaginary cigar in hand.

Time: 4.30 pm to 1.30 am
At: Trade View Building, Kamala Mills Compound, Lower Parel.
Call: 33956113

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