SOS! Can Gurgaon Handle a Beer Drought?


SOS! Can Gurgaon Handle a Beer Drought?

Illustration: Akshita Monga

Climate change is one of those vague threats most of us feel won’t affect our lives directly. Sure, the Earth might be getting hotter, and the polar ice caps might be melting, but we’re not going to be around to see the ill-effects of that, surely? Perhaps, but we’re already looking at a world where the changing climate might mean we will no longer be able to grow chocolate and avocado. Even worse, frequent droughts will reduce global barley production, which means our worst fears will be realised — the beer trap will run dry.

Okay, while beer might not disappear, the price will shoot up, making it a luxury commodity. Imagine the tabloids reporting on the Isha Ambani wedding, gushing about guests being served unlimited beer, and compiling galleries of celebrities posting selfies with beer mugs on Instagram. Meanwhile, the aam junta will look at the photos wistfully and dream of the day they could afford a full bottle of Kingfisher.

More than any other city, we in Gurugram are doomed. With a Discovery Wine Shop and a fresh brewery at every nook and corner of our dust bowl, we can survive a drought, but we need our draught beer. You can shake your head in disapproval, but we love beer, Randeep Hooda, and Mallika Sherawat, in that order. The millennial population of the city loves the drink so much that 75 per cent of them prefer drinking freshly brewed beer at microbreweries, over hard drinks or bottled beer. Beer is to Gurugram what vada pav is to Mumbai, butter chicken is to Delhi, or filter kaapi is to Chennai.

In the “Singapore of India”, you might not find a park or a tree to beat the heat, but you’ll be drowning in Discovery Wine Shops, where you can quench your thirst. We have so many vends (some even next to schools, shhh) that if you were to look at Gurugram from space, the only things that would be visible are the wine shops. Like a string of lights illuminating our non-existent state highways, these vends are our lifeline. Even when the street lights don’t work, these wine shops are so brightly lit up that city dwellers can easily navigate through the thick smog. Even better, if you suffer from dust-related allergies, there are home delivery services where you just have to press a few buttons, and voila! Someone is at your doorstep to cheer you up with a cold beer.

We love beer, Randeep Hooda, and Mallika Sherawat, in that order.

That home delivery is a blessing when you realise that that it’s impossible to find a table on a Saturday night despite there being what seems like thousands of microbreweries in the city. Everyone makes a beeline to these places, because after guzzling the right amount of beer, they don’t really feel the dust in their nostrils or smog in their eyes. Pubs are ideal for pre-work, post-work, co-working, nights out, or simply hanging out. But these are just excuses; the real reason we like to meet at pubs is because the music is so loud that you can’t really discuss work woes, politics, or any such stressful topic that can be harmful for your health.

Unlike Old Monk, beer is a casual drink that can be had anytime of the day with no judging involved. Above all, you can safely drive back home after one drink without the fear of a Gurugram cop stopping you and saying, “Bhai, gaddi side ko le le.”

Beer now officially runs through our veins. It’s evident not only in how much of it we consume, but how it’s also entered our conversations. “What’s up, brew?” and “Happy Beerthday!” are perfectly normal greetings here. It’s also not unusual to hear someone rattle off an address that sounds like, “I’m next to the Beer Café, opposite Open Tap and very close to Ministry of Beer.”

So if there is going to be a beer shortage worldwide, I fully expect the city of Gurugram to grind to a halt. But, on the bright side, there’s no better place to be than here until the beer does run out. Now excuse me while I seek out life’s “beer” necessities.