Rupee Beer Review – Paste
The Indian nation has a somewhat unexpected relationship with beer. It is one of the most populous countries in the world, but India has never been a market that consumed a lot of beer, at least on a per capita basis. This is largely due to the simple fact that so many Indian citizens abstain from alcohol altogether, for religious or cultural reasons – about two-thirds of all Indians, in fact, report not consuming alcohol. alcohol. The beers that are the most popular in India, meanwhile, tend to be high-density, value-for-money lagers that in the United States would almost qualify as something like malt liquor. However, this has started to change over the past decade as overall beer consumption and production grew rapidly in India during the 2010s, thanks to the craft beer movement. There, as in so many other countries, a younger, more socially liberal and affluent generation wanted to explore a wider variety of beer flavors.
A small portion of this beer eventually makes it to the United States, which means that American consumers end up associating “Indian beer” with only a few major lager brands distributed around the world, such as Kingfisher and Taj Mahal. It was this general lack of market penetration and diversity that intrigued brothers Van and Sumit Sharma, Indo-American residents of Maine who dreamed of launching their own lager reflecting their Indian heritage, but targeting the American market. This new brand of beer is Rupee, which the brothers hope to be poised for massive expansion in 2022. That’s a bold dream, given the predominantly whiteness of the US craft beer space in particular, where over 93% of all brewery owners identify as white.
Van and Sumit Sharma are descendants of restaurateurs, as their family operated several Indian restaurants in various Maine towns over three decades. They designed Rupee, the flagship lager, to be consumed in this context alongside spice-laden Indian cuisine. As they say:
It also combined with our desire to create a recipe that was developed by people in the Indian restaurant space specifically to be enjoyed with spicy vindaloo and hearty Punjabi tandoori dishes – we reduced the carbonation levels to Not being as gassy as other lagers so you don’t feel as heavy after enjoying your favorite curry. We used rice and corn and specific hops to get the correct tasting notes we were looking for after months of testing – and are also easy drinking and super smooth compared to other Indian lagers. We like to think of the Rupee as smooth as a beer and refreshing as a lager.
Ruppee, currently brewed in Massachusetts by Dorchester Brewing Co., is actually an ancillary lager with some unusual qualities, as the Sharmas suggest. It contains both rice and corn as supplements, while it also has an attenuated level of carbonation. This makes sense to me, because a more intense, “pungent” carbonation sensation can be unpleasant when your mouth is burning from the chili spices in particular. The slogan is that Rupee is billed as “the world’s curry beer”.
That said, let’s get to the tasting and see how this unusual auxiliary lager stacks up.
On the nose, the first thing you notice with Rupee is that it doesn’t seem to have been designed for maximum harmlessness or neutrality. Instead, it actually has a fairly rich lager nose, with significant corny sweetness and cereal notes – very Corn Flakes-esque, in fact. At the same time, there are also traces of hops, manifesting in subtle herbaceous and floral notes. Overall this smells like a fairly full bodied lager with a real grainy vibe.
It ends up being quite precise in the mouth. I get sweet cereal notes in the front, a prominent horniness, combined with floral essence and a slight bitterness in the back. One would expect a beer like this to come across as very dry and crispy, especially with two different complements, but instead it channels the corn sweetness more than any dryness. Likewise, there’s more body than you’d probably expect, and a mouthfeel that actually feels slightly creamy, perhaps thanks to the lower carbonation. There is also a slight apple-like fruitiness, but this is mainly due to crisp, sweet impressions of malt and grain, with a hint of restrained hops.
Overall, Rupee’s experience is a bit odd, but not unpleasant. It’s not the ultra-crispy or refreshing lager you might expect – instead, there’s more weight and substance to this one. Whether it can find a market as the beer of choice for Indian food lovers in the United States remains to be seen.
Brewery: Rupee Beer (Dorchester Brewing Co.)
Style: Blonde beer additive
Availablity: 16 oz cans
Jim Vorel is a staff writer at Paste and a resident beer and liquor geek. You can follow him on Twitter for more drink writing.