Unlike cities such as Bangalore and Pune, the microbrewery and brewpub business has been slow to get underway in Mumbai, mainly due to expensive real estate and unclear laws. However, it's been catching up over the last few years, with numerous new entrants. Here's the pick of them.
Much-loved Toit Brewpub, from Bangalore, opened where Blue Frog used to be in Mumbai in late November 2017. Tucked away in a redeveloped mill compound in south Mumbai, this trendy new brewery has left no traces of the previous iconic live music venue. The funky new design lets plenty of light in and has elements from the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu. The elaborate menu features six signature beers on tap, as well as cocktails for those who'd prefer something different. Plus, food with a south Indian twist. The crowd is young and lively, and the music up-beat.
Opening Hours: Noon until 1 a.m.
In-House Brews: Dark Knight (an interesting dry stout), Colonial Ale (a pub classic pale English ale), Toit Red (a full-bodied Irish red ale), Toit Weiss (a full-bodied Bavarian wheat beer from Germany), TinTin Toit (a Belgian-style fruity ale), and Basmati Blonde (a light malt ale, named after a type of Indian rice).
Opposite Toit, Thirsty Beer has taken over what was Mumbai's first brew pub, the Barking Deer. However, the concept is very different. Thirsty was established in 2017 as a result of the owner's desire to share his passion for fresh Central European lagers with India's hip younger generation. Brewing was previously done in Bosnia until Thirsty bought the Barking Deer and started brewing there. Thirsty City 127 isn't just a microbrewery though. It's a super sexy concept bar that also has a killer craft cocktail menu and will host art shows, workshops, screenings and food pop-ups.
Opening Hours: 6 p.m. to 1 a.m, daily except Monday (closed). Happy hours from 6 to 9 p.m.
In-House Brews: HAPPY by Thirsty (a classic hoppy Central European lager) and SIMONA (a more traditional German Hefeweizen wheat beer for an evolved palate). Plus, four new craft beers: Lenox the Knight (an Indian Pale Ale with a smooth, well-rounded bitterness), Kick Ass Kolsch Ale (a refreshing German Kolsch style beer), Ninja (a dark chocolate stout), and Thirsty Sexy Pig (light Belgian Wit beer that's a sexier version of The Barking Deer’s Flying Pig).
Brewbot was the first brewpub to open in Mumbai's suburbs, in September 2014 (although it didn't get the necessary brewing license to serve its craft beers until mid 2015). It's named after a friendly robot that's been deployed to save the world with craft beers. The two level venue is versatile, with outdoor alfresco area, grunge-themed main bar and dining area, and upstairs performance space. Events regularly take place there. The new menu features a yummy array of American and European dishes. Don't miss the awesome value BOT'mless Sunday brunch!
Opening Hours: 4 p.m. until 1 a.m.
In-House Brews: Botwork Orange (a Belgian wit), Floating Head (a German Hefeweizen), Skywalker (a German kolsch pale beer from Cologne), Mojo Rising (an American-style Midwestern pale ale), and Black Mamba (a chocolate oat cream stout, created by American brewmaster Julie Baggett).
With the opening of the Independence Brewing Company's taproom in early October 2016, the western suburb of Andheri has fast evolved into craft beer central in Mumbai. Independence Brewing Company is one of Pune's finest microbreweries and its arrival in Mumbai has been long awaited. The understated wood and metal decor resembles that of the Pune brewpub. However, the concise food menu consists mainly of appetizers, shared plates, and pizza. Unlike other taprooms and brewpubs in Mumbai, this one is devoted solely to serving craft beer. Order the beer flight to taste them all!
Opening Hours: 1 p.m. until 1.30 a.m.
In-House Brews: Belgian Wit, Hefeweizen, Hoppy Blonde Ale, Bourbon Oak Aged Brown Ale, Four Grain Saison (slightly spicy pale ale made with barley, wheat, rye and oats, and fermented with Saison yeast), Ixcacao (a chocolate vanilla stout), and Method to Madness IPA (a hoppy ale brewed especially for the Mumbai launch. It's pleasantly bitter with hints of citrus, pine and earth).
Doolally Taproom microbrewery first opened in Pune, around three hours from Mumbai in Maharashtra, in 2009. It brought its popular selection of craft beers to Mumbai in early 2015, first launching in Bandra (later relocated to Khar) and then Andheri West. Another outlet opened in Kemp's Corner, in south Mumbai, in mid 2016. The laid-back and minimalist, yet buzzing, taprooms attract a young crowd. They're pet friendly, and have heaps of board games and books. There are quiz nights on Wednesdays too. The founder's aim is to be the biggest Indian craft beer brand. While the beer isn't brewed on the taproom premises (it's transported from Pune in barrels), there are plans to start a microbrewery in Mumbai.
Opening Hours: 7 a.m until 1 a.m. Yes, you can have beer with your breakfast (or breakfast with your beer)!
In-House Brews: Apple Cider (made with apples from Himachal Pradesh), Hefeweizen (Doolally's signature cloudy unfiltered wheat beer made with German wheat) and Oatmeal Stout (a creamy classic British stout made with 25% oats).
Gateway Taproom opened in mid 2017 and is the exciting next stage of Gateway Brewery's evolution. The microbrewery was established on the outskirts of Mumbai in 2011, as an extension of the co-founder's lengthy experiments with home brewing. It brought craft beer to the city and now has its own place to showcase its beers. The focus at the taproom is as much on food as it is on beer. The innovative menu has been put together by chef Viraf Patel of Cafe Zoe and reflects the beers available there. It features beer batter fried dishes, mostly laced with Gateway's White Zen (which is possibly the most consumed craft beer in Mumbai).
Opening Hours: Noon until 1.30 a.m.
In-House Brews: White Zen (a light wheat beer), Doppelganger (inspired from German Dunkelweizen), Side Car (a sweet cider), and Citra IPA (a dry hopped Indian Pale Ale). Plus, limited releases. Their new Czech Dark Lager is said to be the first in India.
Crafters Tap House
Another new entrant onto the craft beer scene, Crafters Tap House started pouring in mid 2018. The beers are made in the company's microbrewery in Navi Mumbai, in consultation with an international expert brewer. While some are classic others, such as their exclusive Cucumber Lager, are quirky. The tap house also serves handcrafted beer cocktails and sells its own t-shirts. Sports fans will love it there, as huge screens display the latest matches. Keep an eye out for their gluten-free beer, coming soon hopefully.
Opening Hours: Noon until 1.30 a.m.
In-House Brews: Belgian Wit, Hefeweizen, Saison, Coffee Stout, Pilsner, Dark Lager, Cucumber Lager, Marzen, and Indian Pale Ale.