Oktoberfest is the largest funfair held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. A 16-day festival running from late September to the first weekend of October, more than 6 million people from around the world attend the event every year. So whether or not its an indigenous tradition, all we know is that we don’t need any reason to celebrate beer. Or any reason to drink more of it. Over the past year or so, more than a few Indian venues have started priding themselves in their very own brews and we couldn’t be happier about the new culture that appears to be, well, brewing.
While it might be a bit of a tease to be unable to attend the festivities ourselves, we did manage to get a glimpse of the next best thing. Homegrown’s Rhea Baweja decided to go meet up with the wonderful ladies over at The Barking Deer, pioneers of brewing culture in this city, and frame each step of their beer-making process.
Between the 9th and 12th of October, The Barking Deer will bring Oktoberfest to Mumbai in the most authentic manner possible. Four traditional German beers, along with a Belgian wheat beer, will be on tap – Marzen lager, Kolsch, Roush (smoked beer) and Dunkel (dark wheat beer). Food is a large part of Oktoberfest and to make the experience as accurate as possible, German food like pretzels and flammkuchen, which is a German rendition of pizza, will be served too. Top this off with a DJ playing German tunes and hopefully, you’ll feel about as close to Oktoberfest as you can in Mumbai.
Without further ado, here’s how Barking Deer brews up the good stuff.
I. A mix of German malted grain with domestic grain is crushed into a course powder in a mill.
II. This powder is then transferred to mash tun, which is a jacketed vessel. Water is added to the powder to activate the enzymes that essentially turn the starch into sugar.
III. After saccharification has occurred, the mix is allowed to recirculate to allow for maximum extraction.
IV. It is then shifted to another vessel called the brew kettle, where it boils for an hour. Hops are added during this process, which is basically what gives beer its form. Hops are added at different times during the process – at the start for bitterness, sometime in the middle for flavour and right at the end for aroma.
V. Next, the resulting liquid is sedimented and moved to the fermenter where the yeast is pitched. This process can take anywhere between 5 and 14 days, depending on the kind of beer.
VI. It is then chilled for 1 to 7 days, again depending on the kind of beer.
VII. The beer is then ready to be clarified, force carbonated and kegged.
Click on the gallery below for a few more images from the process:
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[Watch this space for our detailed feature on the best Oktoberfest deals on offer in Mumbai over the next few weeks!]
Pictures + Words: Rhea Baweja