My first visit to Hidden Place was a month and a half ago. I’ve been there a half dozen times already. If you like numbers and/or dates, you’ve probably figured I go there every week. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. It can’t be bad because the place is fabulous, the beer scene is awesome, the ambience is comfortable, the music is relatable to. It can’t be good because I have never walked out of there without having spent under a thousand rupees.
I met @purisubzi and @atlasdanced over beers one Sunday afternoon. We started off with the usual beer tower and a non-vegetarian platter. The adorably sweet waiter boy let us move to a better table because I cribbed a little about the one we were seated at and whined because they wouldn’t let us sit upstairs. He even re-heated the kebab platter and re-plated it (into a smaller plate) when we were half way through and I asked him to microwave the kebabs because they had gone cold. Little acts of service mean a lot to me. I leave extra tips for things like this. I do.
That was not the highlight of the afternoon though. The highlight was when we asked him what imported beers they served. The original plan was to order a Stella and a Leffe Blond and a Hoegaarden, one for each of us. But they didn’t have any of these in stock. That’s when the cute waiter boy laid 5 bottles out in front of us. And said we could order a bucket of imported beers and that would mean a 15% discount on the total price of those five beers. How awesome is that!
So here’s what the bucket had: Duvel, Chimay,
London Pilsner, London Pride, Schneider Weisse, East India Pale Ale.
I’m not too sure I understand the technicalities of good beer entirely. But like good music, I always appreciate good beer. And I can most definitely tell good beer from not-so-good beer.
Chimay had been on my to-drink list because every time M and I went to the Peace Street Market in Raleigh, we’d see insanely expensive ceramic bottles of Chimay. And he’d tell me the story of the trappist monks and how Chimay beers were brewed. I distinctly remember his stories from when he was back from Spring Break in 2011, him and his dad on their week long beer-tasting soujourn in Belgium. Delirium Cafe. And Matteken Pis, as we ended up calling the peeing-boy statue. I think I owe my good taste in beer to M. I really do. I’ve also noticed that I seem to bring him up every time I write about good beers. Some friends are just too good to not miss, I guess.
I really must move on to the beers. I must.
Brooklyn East India Pale Ale: Undoubtedly, the best beer that afternoon. IPA implying hoppy. Mixed with this beautiful floral, herby taste and aroma. I can’t place what it was exactly, a sweetness yet strong flavour and that slight bitterness that differentiates good beers from delightfully awesome.
Chimay: We were served the Chimay Rouge (red). I know because the label was red. And also because I remember seeing the Blanche (white), Doree (gold), Bleue (blue) and Rouge (red) bottles at Peace Street. The red Chimay is often known as the Chimay Premiere and honestly, it was just about ok. It was a little musty for my liking. Also, the caramely taste which came through very strong. And I’m not quite fond of caramel, even if it’s caramel malt in a beer. But maybe that’s what trappist ales are all about. Or then, may be some more Chimay indulgence will help me appreciate it better. I can’t help but remember the swing top ceramic bottles from Peace Street.
Duvel: This is a dry Belgian Ale. On the stronger side, if you ask me. It had a very Hoegaarden feel to it and I drank it out of the bottle, but something tells me it was darker. And then, I looked up a bunch of reviews online and I figured it *is* a lot like Hoe – creamy head, cloudy pale colour and just a hint of fruit.
London Pilsner: Just marginally better than Kingfisher. And watery. The last beer that I had that afternoon. And probably not something I was looking for what I was expecting, given the bottle was priced at Rs 350/- or so.
London Pride: As beer connoisseur Aditya Mehta pointed out in a comment, what I drank was not London Pilsner, but London Pride. And he claims it’s way better than KF. I don’t know. May be I was too drunk already. But I know I’ve had London Pilsner and not liked it. I don’t know what I was thinking when I wrote this. 😦 Sorry, Mehta. Also, I’ll try to read labels more carefully before I just write away next time around. 🙂 Promise. And KD, I have disappointed you!! *hangs head in shame*
Schneider Weisse: Hefeweizens have never disappointed me. Or may be I’m just partial. Clove, fruit, wheat beer. The best that beer can ever be.
You know what would have made the entire experience complete? The right kind of glasses. But I ask for a bit much sometimes.
And as far as trips to Hidden Place are concerned, this place gives me another reason to go every time I *do* end up there.
I think I want to start collecting beer labels. Like M. Only, I’ll make a scrap book because I can’t stick them on the walls. And may be, just may be, later in life, I’ll frame them up or some such.
And when I read back on this post, I realize the inconsistency in the London P*** paragraphs. If what I had was London Pride and NOT London Pilsner, why did I not like it? Was it really the last beer I had? Was I too drunk already? Did I like it or did I not like it? This is stressing me out, now! I never intended to write a blog post that wasn’t quite up to the mark. I would SO appreciate if the two men from the afternoon would clarify. Sigh. I feel the burden of a bad blog post already and want to spend the rest of the day in a dark corner of my house. Ok. Melodrama.
Mr. Mehta writes at mehtakyakehta.com. And his beer posts are crushworthy. Which is why I’m so disappointed.