India’s first bottled craft beer – White Rhino
These are exciting times for beer drinkers in India. Not only are we seeing more and more craft breweries and tap rooms open up, soon we will have a number of Indian craft beers in bottles (and growlers hopefully) starting with White Rhino, which recently launched in Gurgaon and is India’s first bottled craft beer.
Ishaan Puri, moved back to India from US after quitting his role as a Finance Quantitative Analyst. The fact that the Indian beer scene needed a breath of fresh air from cheap, commercial lagers made Ishaan realise that here lay an immense opportunity – to make a beer for India that would stand up to an international standard.
It took him four long years to setup his brewery – the main reasons being the not-so-bright business climate of India, not much support for a small player and basically running into every possible problems ranging from setting up of machinery to frequent power cuts.
Simply put, White Rhino is the first craft beer to be brewed and bottled in India and soon will be bottling an IPA!
White Rhino brewery is situated in Malanpur, in the heart of the country. Proximity to cities like Delhi and Gurugram, affordable land and of course a great water source in the form of Chambal river make Malanpur an interesting choice. White Rhino has sourced equipment, ingredients and personnel from far flung corners of the globe. Their bottling and kegging lines are from a highly reputed manufacturer in the Czech Republic. White Rhino’s brewhouse is purchased from a company in San Diego that has manufactured equipment for the best craft breweries across the United States over the last 25 years.
James Garstang, the Head Brewer at White Rhino has worked at some of UK’s best craft breweries such as Camden Town, Partizan and The Kernel. Ishaan met the current White Labs’ (yeast lab) head of R&D back in 2011 when he was head Brewer at Camden Town brewery in London. He put Ishaan in touch with James who headed Camden Town after he left.
White Rhino’s Beers & Hipcask’s notes
White Rhino has launched with two beers, a Lager and a Belgian Style Wit.
The lager is high on bittering, which was literally a refreshing surprise. Great golden color, crisp and dry finish with a light malty backbone. Quite an enjoyable no fuss beer, just what a lager should be.
The Belgian Wit ticks all the checkboxes for the style, except for the filtration which in our opinion was a bit much and took some of the body away from the beer. None the less, it’s got a well-perfumed nose and the palate has zesty orange notes along with spices like coriander and a hint of pepper. The first impression is slightly sweet which finishes nice and dry.
Both beers are 5% ABV.
Price & Availability
White Rhino has conducted numerous tasting sessions at various bars and restaurants in Gurugram. You can enjoy a pint of their lager and witbier at The Beer Cafe outlet in Cyber Hub and SodaBottleOpenerWala for Rs. 325 + taxes. It should be available in more bars by next week and in the next few days, the White Rhino will be available at all the major liquor shops in Gurugram. For now, you can buy a pint Mahalaxmi Wines for Rs. 150 and at Discovery Wines for Rs. 170.
Mumbai and Bengaluru beer lovers will have to wait till April next year. Ishaan says that they don’t want to hurry things at the cost of beer’s quality.
Oh and India’s first bottled IPA is in the pipeline!
White Rhino is going to start bottling an IPA soon using hops like Cascade, Willamette, Citra and Ahtanum!