Country Roads was the first microbrewery in the city of joy, it was set up when most of the city dwellers were not even very conversant with the term ‘microbrewery’. After Country Roads came into picture more two microbreweries started their operations and within couple of months Kolkata boasted of having three microbreweries which is quite a feat in itself. So since this kid and the concept are pretty new in town, let me just run through the information what a microbrewery is supposed to be. As the term goes, microbreweries are small brewing units independently owned and much smaller in size when compared to giant corporate breweries. In encompasses the concept of Craft Brewing that gives the importance to high quality and essence of crafted beer rather than concentrating on the quantity produced. If I just tend to be a little more eccentric I can coin the term Craft Blogger here keeping in mind the same concept 🙂 Let us call those bloggers Craft Bloggers who concentrate more on the content and produces quality stuff rather than concentrating more on the quantity! It’s quirky, but it’s my way of relating most unrelated topics 🙂
Anyway, coming back to the concept of microbreweries, these are the places that manufacture or rather brew their own beer and sell them to their guests and customers on their premises itself. Though it seems ‘micro’ in microbrewery only emphasizes on the size of the brewery but it actually indicates toward a movement that in turn talks about the freedom or flexibility to play with the beer, its flavor and quality to serve their customers having varying cravings for the taste of beer. In the US, the term microbrewery has got a formal definition and it reads, any brewery can be termed as a microbrewery if it produces less than 15000 US barrels of beer annually that is close to 1.8 million liters.
Now let us discuss about my latest tryst with the pioneer microbrewery in Kolkata that has loads of promises to make and immense potential lying deep within. I was truly honored to be invited by the management of this microbrewery along with my fellow food bloggers from the Panchphoron group. Country Roads is housed in the Galleria mall (opposite Axis mall) in Newtown Action area-1. You can easily park your car for free inside the mall, so that’s not an issue. The microbrewery is the biggest attraction of this mall which otherwise remains desolated for lack of proper stores, eateries and shops. The ambiance of Country Roads is pretty fitting and indeed it looks class apart from any other regular pub in the town. This brewpub has got the visual treat of the enormous brewing barrels and tanks which sits right beside the comfy couches in the seating area separated out by a glass wall. The look of these gigantic tanks is definitely an USP of this place. It encourages people to transfer the liquid floating in those mammoth barrels directly to their tummy before the world ends 🙂
The overall ambiance is pretty relaxed with overhead lights and high ceilings creating some dramatic shadows and feel. Apart from the couches you have got high chairs and other seating arrangements giving you enough options to select your favorite nook to unwind. The music which was being played was circling around the Hip Hop genre which went well with the whole setup and the ambiance.
At Country Roads, you not only get freshly brewed beer directly from the tap but you also get other branded beers and spirits. Their bar counter is again pretty impressive and they serve some of the most amazing cocktails in town. We tried them all here along with few signature pub grubs which are worth remembering.
So, here are the items I had tried at this place that day –
a) German Wiezen – To start with, I had tried all the three varieties of freshly brewed beers available at this place, and out of these German Wiezen was surely worth mentioning. It is a wheat based beer and pale yellow in color with very mild bitterness and almost no froth in it. The bitterness never overpowers the fruity flavors in these crafted beers; in fact beer had never tasted so good and so yum! This beer is generally brewed with a large proportion of wheat relative to the amount of malted barley. This is one of the most typical German beers which is also termed as wheat beer or ‘white’ beer and marked for its low hop bitterness and high carbonation.
b) Belgian Blond – This was a typical light golden colored Belgian beer with a hint of fruitiness in it. Belgian blonde ales have a typical frothiness and flavor and color and are made with pilsner malt. Though it has a low malt aroma that has a spiced and fruity-ester character. This one was medium in sweetness and not as bitter as Belgian-style triples or golden strong ales. It is usually brilliantly clear and sparkling golden. The overall impression is balance between light sweetness, spice and low to medium fruity ester flavors. You really can’t miss this was as well!
c) Scottish Ale – As we know, the Scottish ales are also known as Wee Heavy which are pretty strong ales. These pass though a long processing in the tanks for a caramelization of the wort. This is thus a deep copper colored brew which is not so sweet, and has a hint of roasted malt in it with high alcohol percentage. The bitterness was on the higher side in this Scottish Ale as expected when compared to the German and Belgian variants. If you really wanna unwind fast, try this one guys!
a) Fried squid with Garlic Mayo – the finger food or snacks which were served here along with the beer and cocktails were really nice. Most of them being seafood pub grubs which promises to be exquisite all by itself. The Fried squids were soft and fresh inside but the outside was bit too crispy, though I guess it can be justified since it is a fired variant and you can expect some good crispiness here. The garlic mayo provided along with it was just fitting.
b) Calamari Salt & pepper – To many the term calamari seems to be more palatable than squids, and this quick preparation of squid was nice as a finger food though it cries more some modification and innovative fix.
It was briefly tossed rendering a dry texture to it which was okayish but not that great to savor.
c) Schezwan Fried baby Octopus – This was a remarkable dish and surely the best of the evening. The baby octopuses were mighty fresh and perfectly textured when savored.
It was tossed with some fresh veggies in schezwan sauce and tasted really great with that right tang to it. Overall more of such starters will take Country Roads to greater heights. Must try!
a) Watermelon Spritzer – This was a beer based cocktail prepared with freshly brewed beer and fresh watermelon juice. As expected the flavor of watermelon juice dominated it all, was not very sweet and the punch from the freshly brewed beer made it even more interesting. The presentation with a thin slice of watermelon on top of the glass was not very out of the box though. The long glass of the cocktail had enough quantity in it to satiate your cravings for this watermelon based drink.
b) Phuchka Shot – As the name goes, these were amazing looking and an innovative way of gulping down your spirit, quite literally. It was basically phuchka with traditional tamarind water and vodka mixed in it. But somehow the tanginess of the whole stuff was missing and it tasted pretty bland to me.
c) Blue Berry Blush – No prizes for guessing the color of this drink, but yes it was not completely blue as one might think. It had a mix of white rum and blue berry syrup, tasted quite good and attracts to a great extent for the apt presentation.
d) Tango Twist – This was one drink that had loads of tang in it and didn’t go very well with my taste buds, unlike most cocktails it had a strong fruity and spicy flavor. Actually it is a mix of cranberry juice, vodka and capsico sauce.
e) For The Angles – It has got a lovely mix of tamarind water and tequila with a salt rim. It was served in a thick scotch glass. I quite liked this drink and its simplistic presentation.
f) Flaming Lamborghini – This was a special drink that was served quite late at night 🙂 It emphasizes on some superb showmanship that involves some display of lighting up a stack of glasses with fire; and in the end the glass of the cocktails placed down below tasted awesome, to say the least. The cocktail contained Kahlua and Bailey and blue curacao and sambuca was poured from on it to set it on fire, or rather on some soothing blue flames! The ultimate drink in those cocktail glasses with that scent of coffee and mix of Irish cream tasted amazing and ended this brilliant evening on a rather ‘high’ note 🙂
So, to wrap things up I must also mention about the service which was courteous and prompt, but they need to be tad more attentive. The management was very helpful and informative, and surely these are the keys to bring people back to your place again and again. Overall, I will rate this place 8.5 on 10 as of now, hope they will carry on the good work. They have got a huge elaborate menu, so they need to keep in mind all the items mentioned there are available in stock. Wish them all the best; surely they will scale greater heights in the coming days. And yes, thanks for introducing Kolkatans to the amazing world or microbreweries, much appreciated.