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21.03.2017

Vir Kotaks day job has taken him to Paradip, Odisha, where hesetting up a port in between taking our calls. It turns out his idea of fun also involves a mighty slosh: Virs first beer, called Happy by Thirsty, has just made its society debut at booze shops around Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. 

Brewer Words Were Never Spoken

Happys parentage involves Central European lager traditions, a dashing British beer sommelier and hops called Herkules, as well as the shipping scion racing to catch his flight back to Delhi when we last heard from him.  

Honestly, I like the idea of alcohol not as something to get drunk on, but for the taste profiles — the idea that there can be a million different expressions of the things that make up wine, whiskey or beer,” he says. Vir, fresh off his first solo photography exhibition at Mumbai's Jehangir Art Gallery, may be in a soulful mood, but he assures us Happy is intended to live up to its name, overflowing with the joys of summer.

We stop by Colabas Woodside Inn to test this promise with a side of sweet potato crisps. Happy is a handsomely golden drink, clear to the eye and watery to taste. Its fruity at the beginning, just as Vir says it will be, but finishes with a dark, hotly bitter aftertaste. The reaction of the beer snob with us is LOL, its easy drinking,” but we enjoy it for what it is: a cool if somewhat muscular daydream, not quite a garden party but certainly a day at the races. 

Happy is a handsomely golden drink, clear to the eye and watery to taste. Its fruity at the beginning, just as Vir says it will be, but finishes with a dark, hotly bitter aftertaste.

Yellow, I Love You 

Virs beer credentials start with Tsingtao and Schneider Weisse — he works on importing both to India — and a longtime secret desire to take a beer sommelier class. He had a sort of belated meet-cute with Alex Barlow, the UK brewmaster who helped him develop Happy and other beers under the Thirsty superbrand, when he realised that Barlow is the beer expert hes been planning to take a class with forever. 

Happys glamorous internationalism doesnt end there: the beer itself is currently brewed in Bosnia, although Vir says hes more than open to making it in India. Why not just open a microbrewery like a real hipster, then? “The equipment and set-up takes time in a place like Mumbai,” he explains. Im not sure we want a brewpub of our own, but were working on creating a micro-brewery."

The bright, emoji-yellow Happy will soon be joined by younger sibling Thirsty — Simona, a biker-chick of a wheat beer that were told will be full-bodied, more German, with quite a sophisticated taste profile.” (Should we just call it Angela’ out of respect?) To get into the Happy habit, meanwhile, Thirsty hopes to lure you with sleek Happy’ gym merch and party packs with free beer pong rigs. Take a fratty bow!

Getting there: Happy by Thirsty is available at select wine shops around Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, and some bars, including all the Woodside Inns and Eddies in Mumbai. A 500 ml can of Happy by Thirsty costs Rs 170 in Delhi, Rs 225 in Mumbai and Rs 250 in Bangalore.

 

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Food & Drink