Tête-à-Tête with Brew Master Shailendra Bisht by All About Daru’s Nupur Joshi

We would like to know your first memory associated with Beer?

When Nupur asked this question, he had to go down the memory lane which brought a very pleasant smile on his face.

His first Sip of Beer - When he was in the 11th standard he had a sip of Pal`s Beer which was rather bitter in taste but he still enjoyed the whole glass as it was his first.

When he was studying his master’s in Mechanical engineering in the US, his one fond memory is that he had his first Beer drinking experience approximately 12 to 15 years back, his now wife & then friend took him to a brewery called La Fayette Brewing Company & there he had a wheat beer which got him fascinated to the concept of trying more beers !! Before this he never even imagined that Beers could be of various flavors & colors like Gold & Orange & various styles… His fascination led him to try new beers every weekend at various small breweries..

Then when he started working in LA he decided to pursue his new found passion which was brewing Beers. He joined a Home Brew Club & then made some beers… the first Beer was not that great but was atleast drinkable…

This is how his Hobby became a passion, then an obsession & finally a business which is Independence Brewing Company!!

What’s the Story behind Independence Brewing Company & why Pune?

Back in around late 2010 he started toying with the idea of Brewing Beers in India, he & his wife wanted to move back here… Back then there was some activity around Doolally which was the 1st Brewery & also around a Delhi Brewery…

Later on he met his friend & now partner Avnish who also wanted to do something on the same lines… They joined hands, raised some funds & worked on his plan & finally 2 years of hard work paid off.

Pune because licenses for brewing were available in a few cities like Bangalore, Mumbai Gurgaon & Pune… Pune because of the clientele which is very much fascinated by Beers & is also a growing …From students to corporate... that fit the criteria …

Your all time favorite ingredient to work with to make Beer?

Hopps Amarillo is one ingredient that he has always been fascinated by…. It can even make an ordinary beer turn into a great Beer… The flagship Indian Pale Ale (IPA) has a lot of amarillo in it.. It is a very difficult to source & needs to be purchased a year in advance from the US…

Mango Ale is your latest Brew, tell us a bit about that?

Mango has always been my absolute favorite fruit, it is most flavorful …& luckily the best comes from Maharashtra... So I had to make a beer with it…

Mango has a lot fibers & has low fructose sugar which is a very challenging aspect to work with to make a good Beer which if not handled well will make the beer dry…so we had to do a lot of experimentation to get it right !!!

To help her understand the Flavor, Brew master Shailly made Nupur try the beer & experience the taste herself… It surely has a hint of sweetness at the end, and has a very light & refreshing mango taste…

Every year he is going to experiment with various mangoes from different states of India & create a Mango Ale !!! So look forward to Kesar & Dasseiri & Langda Mango Ales in the next season!!!

I`m curious to know about the Beer that you have brewed by fermenting/ aging it in wine casks?

Known as Barley Wine… it is an Ale but it gets heavier in alcohol & it’s aged by putting Oak wood chips in the tanks of the beer… The French Oak chips (which are medium toasted, they then turn slightly smoky & oaky in flavor) are initially soaked for a couple of days in Bourbon Whisky & then these conditioned chips are put in the tanks for the aging process… The Beer absorbs the oaky flavors from these chips & they give it its final taste…

To make her understand the Flavor , Brew master Shailly made Nupur try the Barley Wine so that she experiences the taste herself… It surely has a smoky & vanilla flavor, a rather unique combination…

We are keen to know a bit about your brand Independence Brewing & the significance of the logo which is the Red Bull with the Barley Tail !!!

He is very inspired by the Indian Independence story, his grandfather was a freedom fighter & he was always very much attached to the word Independence, he feels very proud to be from such a background.

The other side is that Independence for him means Freedom of choice & expression, & most importantly Freedom of drinking lagers!!

A contest was organized for people to come up with a logo & one independent designer came up with this design… The Bull has a Barley Tail which relates it to Beer… The Bull also signifies dynamism which fascinated Brewmaster Shailly & his partner Avnish… The color of the Bull which is Burgundy represents Passion…

Your beer making mentor is? His inspiration is Vinni Culzuro who runs Russian River Brewing Company , he is great with experimental beers..

Jerry Vitze who is Head brewer at Unibroue Quebec , he is from Canada who works primarily in French & Belgium Beers…

The Head Brewer from Firestone Walker who has excelled in Balanced Beers!!

All these are his Rockstars of the Brewing World!!!

What’s the current scenario of the craft beer industry in India & where do you see it going in the next 5 years?

Breweries in Bangalore are doing well but breweries are still getting set in Maharashtra. He feels that just selling beers at the Brewery is not going to work well; they should be allowed to sell in retail segment too. Government should allow Craft

Brewers to do this as margins are low & if incentives are high only then Craft Brewers will do well!!!

How do you see the impact of alcohol awareness website such as All about Daru on social stigmas & misconceptions related to alcohol in India?

Brew master Shailly feels that this awareness is much needed... People need to be educated about Alcohol & do`s & Don`ts about alcohol.

Rapid Fire:-

Your All Time favorite Beer? Westmalle Triple from Belgium

Your All Time favorite Beer Bar in India & Abroad? Stoneworld Bistro & Gardens in San Diego

One place you have been yearning to visit to try the brews of? The Trappist Monasteries in Belgium

To come to an end of this interview – Any pointers for the young & upcoming Brew masters? You got to be hard Workers & passionate about your product…. And most importantly don`t make Crappy Beer !!!

Shailendra Bisht

Owner & Brew master | Independence Brewing Company Pune

Shailendra Bisht is Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) approved brew master; he works out the science behind the perfect mug of ale at Independence Brewing Company.




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