As an aspiring writer in my twenties, I spend a good amount of my free time, (as well as a fair amount of my work time) getting hammered in some of the more respectable taverns in the city. I’d always been under the impression that to get a reasonably priced beer in any restaurant in Bombay you’d have to steal it. That was until I tried out Doolally’s.
Doolally’s has many things one might look for in a local tavern, apart from its name, which is impossible to spell correctly the first eleven times. It is strategically located at Bandra Reclamation, just a stones throw away from most of the major clubs, if you’re good at throwing stones that is, in which case you have just the perfect amount of strength and intellect to fit perfectly into the Bombay clubbing scene. It’s also perfectly priced; cheap enough for you to have a good time, but expensive enough for you not to make a regular habit of it.
But what truly sets Doolally apart from its mostly nonexistent competition is the fact that it is one of the few establishments in the city that doesn’t source its liquor supply from loan defaulting billionaires, it crafts all its brews in-house, in some far-flung region called Pune. Each and every one of its beers is great, but not simply because they taste nice; they’re great in the sense that Doolaly’s might be unwittingly paving the way towards a national microbrewery revolution. And that is something we don’t mind at all. A revolution everyone who is sick of being forced to drink Tuborg desperately needs. Here’s a list of the beers ranked in an order of no particular significance:
1) Apple Cider: Apple Cider, is as its name suggests is brewed from apples, so don’t expect the bartender to be amused when you arrive to that brilliant deduction out loud. Cider isn’t technically even beer, but it is fermented in a similar fashion. The apple cider at Doolally’s tastes exactly like old apply fizz, it’s sweet, a little fizzy and impossible to tell that it’s 5% alcohol. It wouldn’t be particularly appealing to people who enjoy a nice strong drink, but is definitely something you should consider if you’re a drinker who doesn’t like the taste of alcohol. If you’re a first timer, I couldn’t recommend it more.
2) Irish Red Ale: The Irish Red Ale is a dark red beer made from fermented wheat and barley. It’s a somewhat mild beer despite its intimidating colour and tastes a lot more like sliced bread than it does like beer. It has a paltry 5% alcoholic content, a statement you’ll find yourself making when you cross the line from beer connoisseur to alcoholic. While there was nothing objectively wrong with the Irish Red Ale, it failed to blow me away. If you’re a first timer, I couldn’t recommend it less.
3) Belgian Wit: Belgian Wit is a lot like Belgium and like wit, it’s light-coloured and appeals to most women. Don’t let the paleness of the brew fool you though, with an alcoholic content of 5% Belgian Wit has just as much of a kick as most of the other beers on this list. People tend to be lulled into a false sense of security by its colour and the fact that it tastes like slightly sweetened, watered down Tuborg. I would recommend this beer to anyone looking for a brew that goes down easy, but not to a first timer, if only for the fact that it’ll give them unrealistic beer expectations for life.
4) Hefe Weizen: Despite sounding like the name of an antagonist in Inglorious Basterds, the Hefe Weizen is one of the finest beers on the list. It’s the exact colour you’d expect a generic beer to be, though it’s anything but generic, owing to its pleasant flavour of banana and cloves. Microbrews are supposed to be quirky and unique, so in many ways Hefe Weizen’s quirkiness and singularity make it the quintessential microbrewing masterpiece. If I had to recommend just one beer on this list, it would be the Hefe Weizen, simply because it’s universally awesome.
5) Rauch Bier: Rauch Bier is my personal favourite, though it takes a lot of getting used to. Rauch Bier tastes exactly like smoked ham and whatever the hell rye is. With the simple act of merging beer technology and pork sorcery, the brew-master at Doolally’s may have well unlocked the secret of the universe; which retails for Rs. 250 including tax. Of course there isn’t any actual pork in the Rauch Bier, it’s just a smokey taste blended into the brew using hopes and dreams. I would only recommend Rauch Bier to people who genuinely love beer for the taste; it will be completely unpalatable to casual drinkers and incomprehensible to first timers.
6) Abbey Triple: The Abbey Triple is the strongest beer at Doolally’s; which is saying something. With an impressive 8% alcohol content you can really taste the raw power tucked away in this humble brew. Abbey Triple has such a kick it that doesn’t even taste like a beer anymore; it’s far more similar to a Blender’s and coke; but without the coke. If you’re into strong beers the Abbey Triple is a no brainer, or really what’s-left-of-your-brainer. But it you aren’t, it’s still pretty darn good, if you’re a first timer you should probably stay the hell away from this one unless you’re comfortable with the idea of your friends carrying you home on a stretcher, or more realistically, abandoning you.
7) American Pale Ale: The American Pale Ale is a lot more interesting than I initially thought. Being a pale ale, I assumed it was a glorified breezer they concocted to appease women. I was wrong. American Pale Ale is easily the strongest and hardest hitting beer I came across at Doolally’s. It lures you in with its soft, litchi-like scent and the moment you take a sip, hits you in the side of your head with a wall of bitterness. I would recommend this ale to anyone who likes interesting tastes, but not to anyone else.
8) Oatmeal Stout: Oatmeal Stout is the darkest beer on the list, making it the most bitter, not that I’m a racist or anything. This beer is incomparable to anything in Doolally’s arsenal but it does taste surprisingly similar to Guinness, for all its bitterness and menacing looks it only has a 5% alcoholic content making it fairly docile. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes to pretend to be a serious beer drinker but isn’t.
9) Coffee Porter: Coffee Porter is simply coffee flavoured beer. In most other circumstances, whenever people try and mix coffee and alcohol they always manage to botch it up and one inevitably ends up overpowering the other. The Coffee Porter is a masterpiece because it’s blended perfectly; you can taste the beer and you can taste the coffee but at no point does one completely try overwhelm the other, in fact they actually seem to complement each other with the caffeine and alcohol working in unison to permanently damage your body. This is more of a novelty item, so I’d recommend it to anyone who’s just passing through, but I would not suggest you have it on a regular basis, there’s just something unnatural about mixing coffee and beer.