You get the feeling that you are in the corporate office of a multinational company when you enter Ironhill micro-brewery in Bengaluru. The Rs.35-crore, 2.7-acre garment factory was recently converted into the “world’s largest micro-brewery”, according to Gopichand Cherukuri, the low-key, soft-spoken Managing Director of the venture.
At a time when restaurants and pubs are closing faster than the proverbial ‘two shakes of a lamb’s tail’ – on account of Covid-19 disruptions – the move to open a new place appears counter-intuitive. Gopi, however, exudes quiet confidence that he is on to a good thing.
“The response has been quite amazing,” he says, “On weekends we find it difficult to accommodate all the people who turn up at our gates.” The venue can accommodate around 2,500 customers a day.
The gleaming mashing, lautering and fermentation tanks and allied machinery, along with the centrifuge, catches your eye as you walk past it to enter the open area.
Here one has a choice of seating options including an upper deck, cabanas and indoor seating areas for those who prefer it. Designed to resemble a resort, it has a bridge spanning an artificial pond, art pieces, interesting installations and gushing water fountains, among other things.
Beer & bar
It is interesting to see that the micro-brewery is not an exclusive preserve for just hardcore suds-swillers. The overarching aim of the place is to have something for everyone – so if you are here with your family, go right in! And if someone would like to have a wine or a single-malt pre-meal tipple, it’s all there!
A beer flight paddle with small samples of all the beers on tap is presented to us: an excellent way to start figuring out what you like. It’s a tough call deciding on what we want and eventually we quaff our amazingly good beers with gusto!
Florian, the brewmaster from Germany, uses traditional German mashing methods prepared with spices, fruits and malts sourced locally and from across the globe.
Ironhill as a brand has brewed different varieties of beers since its inception. It has introduced special beers, which are brewed with locally sourced ingredients like Araku coffee beans to brew coffee stout and will also be introducing high-quality international beers with unique and original flavours.
There are eight varieties of beers on tap: Wonderland Wheat (Hefeweizen), German Blonde (Lost Lager), Afterlife (Irish Red ale), Sincity (cider) and Sinnerman (Irish stout).
Ironhill specials are beers that will change based on the season, customers’ palate and market. They include Native Secrets (Namma beeru) brewed with local ragi, Season Finale (Neipa beer) with the fruity style of an IPA, and World Series (Belgium wit beer) brewed with oranges, coriander and jeera.
Later we get to meet Executive Chef Somasekhar Gedi, who offers an exhaustive list of over 180 items. “It was challenging,” he says, “but very exciting!”
Instead of viewing the current situation as a holding operation, Gopi remains gung ho about his growth plans. “We will set up a few more micro-breweries in Bengaluru, before stepping out to other towns and cities,” he confidently declares.
I guess that to grow big you have to think big; and the promoters definitely have both the ‘fire in the belly’ and the chutzpah in ample measure!