Our first encounter with the Independence Brewing Company was many months ago, while on a business trip to Pune. We never really paid much thought about the whole thing, until very recently when we discovered they’d inaugurated their first branch in Mumbai. Sure, they could have invited us to the opening, but we’re not going to let that ruin our objectivity; even if it still brings a manly tear to our eye. After three days of trying to figure out what exactly what we did wrong, and another three trying to safely cross the Andheri Link Road, we were ready to give the Independence Brewing Company a another shot.
From the outside, the building was little more than a depressing, grey, concrete block, with all the charisma of an Income Tax Department office. We just about managed to find a seat far removed from all the hipster couples playing Cards Against Humanity, when a waiter approached us, and asked for our names and telephone numbers; another attempt at securing our identities and feeding them into the international globalist database. We declined.
Not wanting to make a scene and get kicked out of yet another restaurant this week, we gave them the names and email addresses of a couple of LBB writers and proceeded to order some beer. Our waiter, who we assumed was supposed to guide us through what exactly we were tasting, expertly arranged the samples in a straight line and then just sort of wandered off. We sampled 8 of their craft beers in total, only 4 of which are worth your time.
Smoke And Malt
We’re not going to lie, the Smoke And Malt smelled and tasted faintly of kerosene. We initially thought the staff were trying to poison us because we told them we had Zomato Gold, but as of 12 hours later we’d shown no symptoms of sickness aside from our regular coughing of blood. The Smoke And Malt is, without a doubt our favourite craft beer in Mumbai so far. Sure, they offer the regular Hefeweizen and Belgian Wit for the ladies, but with the Smoke and Malt, they’ve created a truly unique flavour profile, unlike anything we’ve tried before. It was slightly sweet from the addition of jaggery and yet extremely smoky, from being matured with bourbon oak chips. Overall, just an amazing drink. Strangely enough, it wasn’t included in our tasting session, which we maintain was a total rip off.
The Juicy IPA was the most bitter thing we’ve ever come across, aside from the disgruntled ‘reader’ that sends us emails at 3am to criticise our review of The American Joint. That being said, that initial drop kick of bitterness subsides slowly into a soft fruity aftertaste, just like any other good IPA. Although this beer takes a few gulps to get used to, if you like IPAs, it’s a good beer to try.
We wouldn’t quite call the Blueberry Pie a beer, it’s a cider at best. It’s more pink than blue, and its sour sweetness is perhaps its most endearing quality. We admire their brewers spirit of innovation, and while the Blueberry Pie might be a great novelty and an interesting topic of discussion, we’re just not ready as men to sip sweet pink beer out of a curvy glass for 20 minutes.
Xtra Pale Ale
We called for the Belgian Pale Ale because it’s a much more traditional choice as far craft beers go. It’s a bit milder and fruiter than the IPA at Doolally, and comes with a rather interesting joke in the menu that goes “Xtra Pale Ale; a fruity brew without any of the shame of drinking cider.” Seriously, if pub menus start roasting themselves, this website will soon go out of business. The Xtra Pale Ale was our second favourite, and if the meaty smokiness of the Smoke and Malt is too much for you, this is one you should get.
It’s hard to not enjoy a plate of French Fries when you’ve just downed three sexy glasses of beer, but much to our disappointment, the Home Fries were satisfactory at best. Aside from the Independence Brewery’s clear mistake of not naming them ‘Freedom Fries’, the portions were insultingly minuscule, and there were just three dips, including one which was called “Coriander Pesto” which is marketing speak for chutney. The fries were oily, overfried, and the only dip worth having was the the Sweet Chilli Sauce, which was spicier than usual, and definitely made in-house. Overall, we didn’t care for the House Fries in the least.
The Decree: We loved the Independence Brewing Company, and in our opinion, the Smoke And Malt alone made it worth the trip. Although we couldn’t differentiate some of their beers from their counterparts at rival breweries, they also make others you’ll be hard pressed to find elsewhere, all served in curvaceous craft beer glasses. You should definitely give it a shot, just don’t order the House Fries, you’ll be better off eating the Jenga blocks instead.