Indo-Aus collaboration brings a new and improved beer

In a first, two breweries from India, Australia jointly created Oz LageRoo — a pouring pale straw yellow, light-bodied, crisp lager profile

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There is a beer storm brewing in India. And we are not complaining, especially since the region is set to experience extreme temperatures this summer season. In comes Australia, rescuing Indian beer buffs from the scorching heat.

In a high-quality international collaboration with Ellerslie Hop Australia and St Andrews Beach Brewery, Bengaluru-based Geist Brewing Co. has recently launched an Australian-style lager called Oz LageRoo. Pouring pale straw yellow, the Geist Oz LageRoo is light-bodied with a crisp lager profile, showcasing Southern Hemisphere hops.

“From a taste perspective, since it isn’t very high on alcohol content (5.5%) or bitterness (IBU 18), it makes

for a very easy-drinking lager that many Indians typically enjoy on a warm afternoon given our weather conditions, especially during summer,” informs Geetanjali Chitnis, the chief brand officer at Geist Brewing Co.

While the timing couldn’t have been more perfect, Chitnis notes that Oz LageRoo is “refreshing enough” to drink any time of the year, especially if you are a lager lover.

The beer was brewed at Geist’s production brewery located off Old Madras Road. “A single batch was brewed on 27 February in collaboration with representatives from St Andrews Beach Brewery and Ellerslie Hop Australia,” Chitnis adds.

Australian-style Indian lager called Oz LageRoo (Source: Supplied)

On 30 March, the beer was unveiled at Geist’s Hennur outlet in Bengaluru. Ever since this private launch, the beer has been made available on tap at all the Geist’s locations – Hennur, Rajajinagar and Old Madras Road.

Interestingly, this is St Andrews Beach Brewery’s first collaboration with an Indian craft brewery. Geist has been brewing a range of global craft beer styles since 2007. St Andrews Beach Brewery, which is located in Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, offered their expertise to brew Oz LageRoo in India.

Women brewers Vidya Kubher, from Geist, and Rachel Mason, from St Andrews Beach Brewery, are responsible for the magic to happen. Kubher and Mason shared their brewing experience, exchanged critical information and learned through travels on what they finally wanted to

create. The result is this mildly-bittered lager, which exhibits a light malt character topped with mellow fruity-citrus hop notes and a dry finish.

About this collaboration and her experience in India, Mason shares: “Vidya has an outstanding knowledge of beer styles, recipes and brewing processes, and the Geist facility is impressive. Overall, the collaboration brew was a very enjoyable experience.”

She says the lager can be best paired with pizzas or burgers.

As hops cultivation in India is still a new and unexplored industry, the team roped in Ellerslie Hop Australia – a 4th generation family company at the forefront of hop development in Australia. The firm is known for bringing the freshest and high-quality hops to buyers. (Hops, flowers of the hop plant Humulus lupulus are an essential ingredient in the brewing process as a bittering and stability agent. Their essential oils also add flavours and aromas – fruity, floral or citrus).

About 3,000 litres of the beer was brewed with hops from Ellerslie Hop Australia.

Vidya Kubher and St Andrews Beach Brewery team on brew day (Source: Supplied)

The credit to forge this partnership goes to Michelle Wade, Victoria’s Commissioner to South Asia. Wade’s role is to promote trade, investment and education linkages between Victoria and India, among other South Asian countries.

“Oz LageRoo has been a wonderful collaboration to help the craft beer industry here in Bengaluru and to get to know more about fresh, clean Ellerslie Hop,” Wade says.

Wade believes there is definite potential for Australia to work with other leading craft brewers in other key Indian cities in the future.

“Most of all, this project can be a reminder to all agricultural exporters who are considering India to look beyond basic statistics,” she adds.

According to Wade, the craft brewing industry is growing rapidly in Indian cities like Bengaluru, Mumbai, Gurgaon, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Pune. “And the product is generally top class!”

In order to assess the potential for a product or a service in India, Wade says it is critical to look beyond the national statistics. “You need to look at consumption patterns by state or by city,” she informs. “If you looked at India generally, beer consumption is relatively low per capita, but in these particular cities (mentioned above), the consumption of beer per capita would be getting close to that in Australia. Considering that these cities’ combined population is more than 100 million, that is a very big market.”

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Prutha Chakraborty
Prutha Chakraborty
Prutha Bhosle Chakraborty is a freelance journalist. With over nine years of experience in different Indian newsrooms, she has worked both as a reporter and a copy editor. She writes on community, health, food and culture. She has widely covered the Indian diaspora, the expat community, embassies and consulates. Prutha is an alumna of the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media, Bengaluru.

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