What’s your ideal night out? We’re simple folk and can rarely see beyond the classic combination of pub followed by curry house. We like beer. We like curry. It’s an obvious choice that, more often than not, is available to us wherever we are in the country. But there’s one obvious flaw in this arrangement – we like beer, but rarely find anything better than a standard lager once it’s time to eat.
But soon, that could all be set to change. Leicester’s Modha Ales have decided that beer lovers should be able to wash down their lamb dopiaza with a proper pint and have produced a brew especially for curry houses – the result is ‘True Maharaja Cardamom Beer’, a light, refreshing pale ale brewed with cardamom to complement the Northdown, Fuggles and Cascade hops. It’s a lovely beer, too. Subtly flavoured, so as not to compete with the meal, and the hint of cardamom mingles perfectly well with the delicate hop flavours and aromas. Thirst quenching, easy to drink and beery enough to want to order another.
It’s such a great idea that we’re surprised no-one has come up with it before, so we decided to get in touch with Bhavesh from the Modha Ales brewery to find out more about their beer…
Why did you decide to start brewing a beer to go with curries?
The last few years have seen a huge increase of excitement around creative brewing and essential new beer styles. The consumer is well informed of this new revolution in beers and can taste the quality in the craft beers compared to the usual mass produced lager. With the UK’s love for curry and beer I followed my passion for craft ales and decided to create the perfect curry partner, a spiced craft beer made with real cardamom pods.
Why do you think cardamom works well as a beer flavouring?
Cardamom in beer affects particular parts of the palette which complements rather than confuses. It gives a short explosion of lemon and ginger; a refreshing moment with a curry, making every mouthful of excellent food more easily appreciated.
Traditionally people have ordered ice cold lagers with their currys. Why do you think beer works so well with spicy food?
True Maharaja matches natural carbonation better than common lagers. Many lagers also rely on being cold, a temperature that dulls the senses; True Maharaja is best served cool which also enhances the flavour of the food.
What would be your perfect curry to wash down with your beer?
I have tried the beer with a variety of curries. Personally I enjoy True Maharaja with a spicy curry, a jalfrazi or a rogan josh, not too hot but with a little kick. If feeling adventurous then possibly a vindaloo. I feel the subtle taste and aroma of the cardamom complements the spicy dishes and when served cool creates a refreshing moment with a curry.
At the moment your beer is only available in select restaurants. Do you have plans to make it available to a wider audience?
Most definitely. I have launched True Maharaja through local Indian restaurants which I aim to bring nationally. Indian restaurants will always be a key outlet for availability as we have developed our beer to be the perfect curry partner, but it would be a great injustice to limit the beer to just the restaurant trade – we would like the beer to be widely available and plan to have True Maharaja available in pubs and craft beer bars very soon.
Are you planning on brewing new products with different flavours?
We are currently developing a plan to expand the range and implement more Asian spices for our True Maharaja brand and increase our product range in the coming year.