The beer smells of paan (betel leaves) and leaves a discernible aftertaste of star anise, not the easiest of flavours to miss. While that might sound unpalatable to a connoisseur of fine brew, there’s actually nothing offensive about the Randall.
This new introduction at the Woodside Inn in Lower Parel, Mumbai, is a beer infuser that looks straight out of a high-school chemistry laboratory. The technical name for the Randall is organoleptic hop transducer module, which is a filter system that allows the beer to run through a chamber of spices, herbs and fruits, absorbing flavours.
So what you get at the end, for example, is the beer mentioned above—craft brewery The Barking Deer’s Bombay Blonde (or Kingfisher, depending on availability) with betel leaf and star anise. Another version mixes Doollaly Taproom’s Gose with rosemary and basil. The third that will be available is Gateway Brewing Co.’s White Zen with mogra flowers.
The Randall is the invention of Dogfish Head, a brewery in the US, and the one bought by Woodside Inn is version 3.0. The set-up at the Inn looks like two slim, attached conical flasks, each with a capacity of roughly 1 litre. One flask is connected to the tap for beer, and has the herbs or flowers, as the case may be. Once the beer runs through this, it cools down in the other flask, which is filled with ice, before exiting through another tap.
It takes 10-20 minutes initially for the first glass of infused beer to come out. It takes less time subsequently as the beer is already running through the Randall.
These new varieties of beer will be served today at Lower Parel and then on select weekends at different branches of the Inn, including those in Colaba and Andheri (West).
Pankil Shah, one of the partners at Neighbourhood Hospitality Pvt. Ltd, which owns the Woodside Inn, says they want to gauge customer reactions before expanding.
The taste of the beer itself does not change much, except for the slight hint of the flavours it carries. The Gose is a salty beer with a barely perceptible sense of coriander. After it’s “Randalled”, the saltiness remains, though the palate retains the taste of basil.
The White Zen maintains its frothy lightness and the flowery smell seems almost distant. The most distinct change is in the Blonde—in both the smell of betel leaf and the aftertaste of star anise.
The price of the experimental beer will be the same as other mugs of craft, Rs245—encouraging customers to try it out.
For details, visit the Woodside Inn’s social Web pages.