We caught up with Head Brewer Hollis Coats to find out how he spent his time during the COVID-19 lockdown and what we can expect from the upcoming beer lineup at Arbor Brewing Company in Bangalore.
1) How did you spend your time while the brewery was closed? I managed to move into a new flat right before the lockdown started so the first few weeks were spent getting the place in order and trying to make the terrace look like a jungle; fermenting/pickling/dehydrating various fruits and vegetables; cooking overly complicated and labor-intensive breakfasts, lunches and dinners; really listening to music; a lot of crossword puzzles. 2) You've spent a fair amount of time in Bangalore now. What are some of the changes you've witnessed in the city over the last few years?
There are at least fifty times more places to get unmemorable pan-Asian food, but it's much easier to get it delivered to your doorstep.
3) How does it feel to be back in the brewery after the long COVID-19 hiatus? Any changes to your brewing routine?
It's pretty great to be making beer again after so long. At first it was hectic getting the place operational again and filling all the tanks but it's pretty calm now compared to the before-times. More time for R&D.
4) What interesting beers are you working on currently and what's the lineup we can expect over the next couple of months?
We've got Belgian dubbel-style beer with mahua, stone flower and cobra's saffron in the fermenter now; taking advantage of this hopefully short-lasting period of slower sales to brew beers which benefit from longer conditioning times so you can expect to see more lagers and Belgians and maybe a crazy imperial stout.
5) Your favorite beer you've brewed at Arbor (besides the flagships) ?
Oh man, too many to choose from. The Beteljuice, which we brew every year (more or less) in collaboration with our friend Karthik, is always a fun one. A nice and hoppy pale ale with lemongrass and betel leaves — and it's on tap now!
6) Your favorite destination in India?
Goa is the easy answer but really anywhere on the Arabian Sea where booze is legal.
7) Your favorite Indian dish?
What I like most is the endless variety and there isn't much that I've tried that I didn't love, but the thing I crave after being away for a while is a down-and-dirty darshini breakfast.
8) A drink you like to have when you're not having a beer?
9) Some local small businesses you like to support and frequent?
I've been buying by the gallon from the coconut guy down the road.
10) We're told you're an avid traveller. How many countries have you visited and what's the first place you'd like to go to once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted?
I would guess thirty-something. As soon as I can I'll go to the US to catch up with friends and family and I've always wanted to go to Vanuatu but realistically it'll probably have to be somewhere closer-by. There's a cafe/bar in Bangkok that I think about daily that serves cheap beer and duck lips and yum pla duk foo.
11) Any advice for aspiring brewers?
Don't forget to put the yeast in!