We’ve always liked the concept of Bira 91 and their line of fermented creations, but we’ve never been able to overcome our disdain for their customer base, who mostly appear to be hipsters with black framed glasses and women who don’t really like beer. But we can’t hold that against the company. What we can do, however, is subject Bira 91’s new selection of craft beers to ridiculously intense scrutiny by some of the most respected voices in the food blogging community.
Unfortunately, none of them returned our calls, and we sort of had to do it ourselves. Our detailed assessment of the beers in question took into account their flavour, fragrance, value for money, and most importantly, how they made us feel.
Price: Rs. 160 (pint)
IPA stands for Indian Pale Ale, which is brewed from hoppy, pale malts & wheat. The Bira IPA smells fresh and flowery, almost like potpourri, and tastes rather fruity, which is also what you’d call a man who orders it. It reminded us strongly of the IPA at Kaitlyn’s Beer Garden. It wasn’t particularly exceptional as far as craft beers go, but when you consider the fact it came out of a bottle and can be consumed in the comfort of your own home, it really starts to make sense. The Bira IPA is, in our always-humble opinion, one of the more delicious beers that Bira 91 has to offer, we even liked it better than the Bira Blonde. It’s strong for something that’s tastes so pretty, which is always a mark in its favour.
So We’re Saying: Buy it. But at night when nobody can see your shame.
Price: Rs.120 (can)
We’ve often accused of Bira and its customers of being effeminate, but this drink really made us reconsider; mostly because of its name. It too is an ale, and smells like (and there’s no easy way to put it) wet dog. The Bira 91 website suggested that it contains hints of honey and caramel, but our taste buds were incapacitated owing to a ‘certain member‘ of our staff ripping open a bag of wasabi-flavoured Cornitos just moments earlier. Although it has the crisp characteristic bitterness of a good strong beer, the Bira Strong doesn’t quite have the personality of something like Hayward’s 2000. But for some(most) people that’s a good thing.
When we poured the Bira Strong from it’s stark, albeit well designed can, we noticed some ‘floaties’ in our beer. At first we assumed Derrick the Intern hadn’t cleaned the mugs properly so we promptly responded by spitting in his coffee. But on checking out the Bira 91 website, it turns out ‘floaties’ are part and parcel of the wheat beer brewing process and are nothing to worry about. This would have sounded harmless enough if they hadn’t dedicated an entire page on their website to it, saying defensive things like:
The Verdict: Bira Strong is at least worth a try, its not the most inspired of all beers, but is still a
pleasure to relax with. Also the can is pretty.
Price: Rs. 120 (pint)
Lite Beer exists because Americans are fat and can’t spell, but its presence in India is still a bit of a novelty. Bira Lite (or light as it may eventually be called) is a lager with a low alcohol volume, and an even lower calorie count. It smells like mothballs and tastes like it was diluted with soda. It’s basically the beer world’s version of Dia Wine. It tastes more like plain water, and given its 4% alcohol content, it’s just about as likely to get you buzzed. Our feelings towards light beer are much too strong for an objective, informed review, so let’s end it here. That being said, we’re not completely new to watered down beer, we just prefer not drinking it straight out of the bottle.
Should You Buy It? No, unless you’re a fatty.
All in all, the Bira IPA was our favourite, closely followed by the Bira Strong, with the Bira Lite (90 calories we didn’t need) in a far last place.