Best Indian Beers to Drink on a Visit to India

India’s beer industry is huge and with many Indian beers growing in popularity, here are some of the top ones to try when you visit the country.

Best Indian Beers to Drink on a Trip to India - f

The flavours become more intense, creating a rich, malty taste.

Ever since the British introduced beer to India, it is fast becoming one of the most widespread alcoholic drinks in the country, especially lager.

India’ beer industry is rapidly growing with an annual growth of over 10%. 

While international beer brands such as Budweiser, Carlsberg and Heineken are always growing in popularity. Indian beer brands are beginning to attract attention.

It already has the attention of the locals but those visiting India are yet to experience Indian-made beer.

Visitors to India have already enjoyed the authentic food but now it is time to drink a refreshing beer.

There are several Indian beers, some well known and some not recognised as much. But at least one is bound to suit your taste.

Here are some Indian beers you must try on a trip to India.

Haywards

Best Indian Beers to Drink on a Trip to India - haywards

Haywards beer was launched in 1974 as an extension of the renowned Haywards liquor, which was founded in the early 1900s.

The beer brand as a whole is best known for its Haywards 5,000 strong lager, which contains seven per cent alcohol and is iconic in the country.

It has a medium-bodied taste whereas the 5,000 BOLD has a full-bodied taste which is because it is brewed for 48 hours longer.

As a result, the flavours become more intense, creating a rich, malty taste with a hint of sweetness.

The strong-tasting Haywards lagers are popular in India as many people prefer the taste of strong beers.

It is no surprise as Haywards has a market share of 15% and is mainly consumed in Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh.

For beer-lovers who are planning a trip to any of these regions, try a Haywards and you will enjoy the taste of this strong beer.

Godfather

Best Indian Beers to Drink on a Trip to India - godfather

Godfather is the leading beer brand of Devans Modern Breweries Limited. The company has been brewing beer in Jammu since 1961.

It is one of the more varied beers as it comes in three variations: Strong (7.5% alcohol by volume (ABV), Lager (5% ABV) and Lite (4.5% ABV).

Godfather is unique to other beers as it has a longer brewing cycle than many others. They usually last for 25 days compared to other beers which have a cycle between 12 and 15 days.

The longer brewing cycle gives Godfather beer a rich flavour and a fresher, more crisp finish.

One thing to note is that the Lager and Lite Godfather beers have a more bitter taste than other lagers.

Godfather Lite uses quality German hops and the finest malted barley to create a smooth-tasting beer with an extra bite.

As a result of a wide range of brand promotions, Godfather has become the fastest growing beer brand in India.

It is mainly consumed in North India and is particularly popular among the younger generation of adults.

Depending on the state, it has market shares between 20 and 50%, making it a popular beer in the country.

Kingfisher

Best Indian Beers to Drink on a Trip to India - kingfisher

Kingfisher is India’s most recognised and widely available beer. The “King of Good Times” has a huge market share of 41%.

Its name has been associated with beauty, fashion, sports and even an airline which shows just how popular Kingfisher is.

Leading the Indian beer market is the highly popular Kingfisher Strong, which contains eight per cent alcohol and is more flavourful than the regular Kingfisher Premium.

Recently, the company launched Kingfisher Blue, which is aimed at younger beer drinkers.

It is a strong beer, containing eight per cent alcohol. You would imagine then it would be quite dense. However, it has a very light and watery taste.

The lightness is similar to Budweiser Light, even though Kingfisher Blue has a higher alcohol content.

Kingfisher, in general, is light tasting and easy to drink. It makes for an enjoyable beer to have when travelling across India.

Knock Out

Best Indian Beers to Drink on a Trip to India - knockout

Knock Out beer was launched in 1984 and is very popular in Maharashtra as well as the Southern states of Karnataka and Telangana.

It is a beer which lives up to its name as it has a powerful taste and aroma. It is also a strong beer with eight per cent alcohol and good carbonation.

This is due to the beer being produced under hygienic conditions, leaving it free from any external impurities.

While it is a strong beer, it still has a refreshing taste which balances out the intense flavours.

Despite being available to a limited market, there are many loyal drinkers of Knock Out, with approximately 300,000 bottles being drunk every day.

Knock Out currently has an 8.7% market share in India but is growing as one of the best strong beer brands in India.

While Knock Out beer may not be to everyone’s taste, for those who like a strong tasting beer, this is the one for you.

Kalyani Black Label

Best Indian Beers to Drink on a Trip to India - black label

It is one of India’s oldest lagers, having launched in West Bengal in 1969. The beer brand was named after one of United Breweries’ first breweries.

Kalyani beer is very popular across eastern India and is also a common sight in Delhi.

It is one of the more flavourful Indian beers and comes in two varieties, premium and strong.

Of the two, the strong variety is the most enjoyed especially as India is fond of stronger tasting beers.

Despite it having 7.8% alcohol, it is a smooth, mellow beverage with a little kick to it. Kalyani also has a subtle sweet finish to it, following the malty taste.

It has sweet aromas of toffee and is quite watery, making it a light beer even though it is highly carbonated.

As a beer which is full of flavour, Kalyani is an Indian beer which must be tried.

Kings

Best Indian Beers to Drink on a Trip to India - kings

Kings beer has long been one of the most limited beers available in India as was only sold in Goa, where it is also brewed.

For those who are visiting the beautiful beaches of Goa, this beer will be one of the highlights.

It is known for having a very light taste of sweet malts and has a smoky, yet slightly sweet aroma.

The pale coloured beer is excellent when it is very cold as it is not only perfect for the Indian heat, the flavours and fragrances are enhanced.

What makes Kings beer so popular in Goa is its price, a 375ml bottle will only cost Rs. 50 (55p).

It has an alcohol content of 4.85%, meaning it is not a very strong beer and is more refreshing than beers with higher alcohol content, which are more full-bodied.

In 2015, Kings was launched in Mumbai so they too can enjoy the taste of Kings beer.

While it is still limited, visitors to Mumbai and Goa will be able to enjoy the smoky notes of Kings.

Taj Mahal

Best Indian Beers to Drink on a Trip to India - taj mahal

Taj Mahal beer is for those who enjoy the refreshing taste of a premium lager. The lager is part of Indian conglomerate company United Brewery.

It is brewed using malt which is made at United Brewery’s own malt house using specially engineered barley.

Taj Mahal is brewed using fresh mineral water, grains, hops and yeast to ensure a crisp finish.

This lager uses hops like “Saaz” and “Tradition” which are sourced globally and give Taj Mahal lager a distinct herbal aroma.

It is a light beer which makes it the perfect alongside a spicy meal as the pale coloured beer cools down the tastebuds when chilled.

Not only that but when cold, the slightly malty flavour and fragrances are enhanced.

Royal Challenge

Best Indian Beers to Drink on a Trip to India - royal challenge

Royal Challenge Premium Lager was launched in 1993 and has an alcohol content of five per cent. The beer is the second largest selling mild beer in the country.

Its smooth texture and rich taste are down to the beer’s extended brewing cycle which is stated in their tagline: “Brewed Stronger Brewed Better.”

Royal Challenge is prepared using the best six malt barley and this results in a crisp and distinctive flavour.

The lager is very popular in the north of India, mainly in Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.

While the distinct flavour is popular among locals, SABMiller launched a strong version of the beer in 2011 to please fans of strong beers. It is a popular beer choice in the south of India.

With its smooth taste, Royal Challenge Premium Lager is one Indian beer which must be tried.

Bullet

Best Indian Beers to Drink on a Trip to India - bullet

Like Kalyani, Bullet is brewed by United Brewery Group in Bangalore and has been a huge favourite in Rajasthan.

Apart from the taste, its popularity is down to its name and marketing strategies which have a rustic appeal and specifically targeting it to its desired audience.

The golden-coloured beer uses high-quality ingredients to create a grainy aroma with a hint of sweet malt.

It has an alcohol content of six per cent, which makes it quite a strong beer. The reasonable price and beer type make it very popular.

Bullet beer has a moderately bitter flavour and the hops used, give it an earthy and slightly woody finish.

The result is a medium to light bodied beer with average carbonation. For those who like a more bitter tasting beer, Bullet beer is a recommended choice to go for.

Magpie Royal Strong

Best Indian Beers to Drink on a Trip to India - magpie

Magpie Royal Strong is another beer which has recently come on the Indian beer market, having been brewed by CMJ Brewery in the Indian state of Meghalaya.

It is a strong beer, suiting the preference of many Indian people but with eight per cent alcohol, this is a beer which is not to everyone’s taste.

The high alcohol content can really be tasted.

So for those who do not like a strong alcohol taste of beer, Magpie Royal Strong is not for you.

Despite the high alcohol content, it manages to have a smooth flavour which is crafted to match the taste of strong beer lovers.

Magpie Royal Strong is dark yellow in colour and has a small head. This beer is one for those who like the strong taste of alcohol and full-bodied flavour.

Goa Premium

Best Indian Beers to Drink on a Trip to India - goa

Goa Premium is one of the newer Indian lagers to be brewed and it has attracted a lot of attention with its eye-catching branding.

The taste has also become one to take note of as it has a stronger and maltier flavour than most lagers, such as Kingfisher.

It is classed as a pilsner but is nothing like it as the malt flavour provides a sweeter taste while many pilsners have a crisp taste.

Goa Premium is also less gassy than regular lagers. A head forms when it is first poured but it quickly disappears.

This golden coloured beer is gluten-free making it an option for anyone with a gluten allergy.

The light carbonation and five per cent alcohol content make it an ideal partner to a spicy curry. The spice contrasts well with the hint of sweetness.

When chilled, it is an excellent drink to have on the warm beaches of Goa. While it is still growing in popularity, it is definitely one to try on a trip to India.

Bira 91

Best Indian Beers to Drink on a Trip to India - bira

Bira 91 is one of India’s newest beer brands, having been introduced in 2015.

It is a craft beer which is taking the country by storm and quickly becoming a hit among beer-lovers.

In many city bars, Bira 91 is the highest selling premium beer.

The brand has European influences when the beers were created to suit the Indian palate. It originated in Belgium but after initial success, it was manufactured in India.

The two main beer varieties from Bira 91 are the White Ale and Blonde.

White Ale is a wheat beer which has hardly any bitterness but has a slightly spicy citrus flavour for an extra kick.

Blonde is more full-bodied with extra hops and a more malty flavour.

To appeal to the Indian market, the company created strong and light beers. The strong beer has a more intense flavour whereas Light is lightly carbonated and has less alcohol.

The wide variety of beers that Bira 91 makes is appealing to the locals and tourists who can choose what beer they want, depending on their preference.

Try them all to experience a diverse range of flavours and aromas.

These beers are some of India’s most popular. All have a range of flavours and scents to please the senses.

Although some of the beers may also be available outside of India, as well as trying the foods, these beers are a must try when on your travels throughout India.

Dhiren is a journalism graduate with a passion for gaming, watching films and sports. He also enjoys cooking from time to time. His motto is to “Live life one day at a time.”


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