Hoppery at Olive Bistro is among the latest entrants to Hyderabad’s rapidly expanding microbrewery scene. This is the Olive Group’s first foray into brewing beers and they’ve tied up with Master Brewer Aditya Challa who was previously associated with Prost Bangalore. Overlooking the Secret Lake (Durgam Cherevu), the Hoppery is spread across a glasshouse, an alfresco and a wooden deck. It’s a part of Olive but has its own distinctive character.
I was invited to a media event held for the launch of Hoppery. Olive is stepping into the world of craft beers with four brews – Hop Notch, Copper Head, White Spice, and HyderaBrew. The microbreweries at Hyderabad have so far been a bit of a disappointment. The beers are often flat and feel rushed. Shaaz Mehmood, one of the partners of Olive Group Hyderabad, emphasised that they are focussed on quality and consistency and are brewing only in small batches. While the jury is still out on the consistency aspect, I was definitely impressed by what I saw. My favourite was the Copper Head, a crisp and clean dark lager with ample amounts of caramel and a hint of bitterness. The IPA (Hop Notch) is hoppy and bright, but the bitterness is restrained enough to be palatable to everyone. The Wit (White Spice) is likely to be the crowd pleaser; a classic Belgian wheat beer with a hint of spices and citrus. The HyderaBrew is an alcoholic Root beer – it’s not quite my kind of beer. It’s the kind of brew that’s novice friendly and is a good way to get introduced to the world of beers. It’s always risky to recommend cocktails to a beer lover, but ‘The Cure’ is an exception. Dark Stouts with coffee and caramel notes are usually my favourite. The Hoppery doesn’t yet have a brew with coffee, but The Cure should satiate the caffeine addicts. The heady mix of Espresso, Kahlua, Maple Syrup, White Rum, and IPA had me groovin’. Other notable cocktails include Hop Skip and Jump (Ginger Juice, Scotch, and Hyderabrew) and Beer Sangria (Fruits infused in Vodka, Apple Juice, Red Grape Juice, and Beer).
The food menu has been crafted by well-known chef and food consultant Shawn Kenworthy. The food at Hoppery is simple and wholesome and is there to solely complement the brews. There are a lot of Mexican flavours on offer including Pumpkin and Goat Cheese Empanadas, Tex-Mex Wings, Tacos, and Nachos. The highlights for me are the exceptionally well-made Onion Rings served with blue cheese and salsa rosa, Dry-Fried Pork Ribs, and Grilled Shrimp with Mango Salsa.
The beers are priced at Rs. 239 for a pint and Rs. 1800 for a tower (three litres). Most of the grub is between Rs. 200 and Rs. 350. And oh! Unlike most other places at Hyderabad, the Hoppery’s beer tasting platter is on the house. The Hoppery ticks all the right boxes. It is the first brewery that didn’t offer up tepid and under-matured beers at launch. Since the beers are being brewed in small batches, availability is a little uneven. Last week, the only beer available was Copper Head. Although I’d always prefer having one good beer on the menu than four mediocre ones, nailing the consistency in terms of both taste and supply will be the real challenge for the Hoppery.