What is the best brewery in dallas


Author: Ganesh Vancheeswaran

Because more than 15 years ago Ajay Nagarajan found a “Mr. Beer ”home brew set, Bangalorees can enjoy some great craft beer on a quiet street in the suburbs of Whitefield.

During his decades-long stay in Dallas, beer-drinking sessions threw up the starkly contrasting worlds of industrial beer and craft beer. If the industrial beers lacked character and depth on the one hand, the dozen or so craft beers were the exact opposite; they bristled with a variety of flavors, contained no artificial additives and offered a satisfying experience. Ajay was addicted to brewing beer.

He started brewing in 2005 at his home in Dallas. Encouraged by his experiments, his interest turned into an obsession. He decided that he just wanted to make beer for life. He completed several courses at the Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago. At the same time, he did an internship at local breweries in Dallas to gain hands-on experience in making the elixir on a commercial basis.

And then came the opportunity to become a professional. India opened up to the craft beer; Beer lovers were directed towards “go craft”. Ajay partnered with Kamal Sagar of Total Environment Building Systems. Kamal had a building in Whitefield-Bangalore, next to a first class residential complex. He thought a craft beer brewery there would fit the profile of the neighborhood well. And so Windmills Craftworks was born.

When Ajay looks back on that time, he says: “I neither had a detailed business plan nor a grandiose vision of becoming a beer baron. I just wanted to make great craft beer, beer that I enjoy drinking. "

Since then, it has been a fascinating journey for the entire Windmills team. With the help of Ed Tringali, Windmills' first master brewer, Ajay set up the craft brewery in Whitefield and sourced the equipment from JVNW, USA. Ed Tringali helped put together the beer menu and provided the recipes for the beers on offer. And Windmills was in business!

Ajay says Windmills has always stood for authentic, stylish beers and has avoided gimmicks. He and master brewer Callaway Ryan make beers they like and that are true to the spirit of craft beer. From the start, he says, they weren't limited to just the popular beer styles. “At that time, so-called experts advised us to only offer German Lagers and Hefeweizen because they thought that only these styles would be accepted by the beer lovers in Bangalore. But Windmills wanted to introduce several other wonderful styles to beer lovers, so they launched IPA, Pilsner and Stout and other styles.

Ajay believes that craft beer breweries are iconoclasts who often go against the grain and express themselves through their beers. At the time, he believed that the well-traveled IT crowd in Bangalore had a more sophisticated beer palate than they were expected to be. After trying different types of craft beer in the US and Europe (mostly during their work trips), they looked forward to enjoying them here in Bangalore as well. In addition, Bangalore has hosted a number of expats from several countries.

His conviction turned out to be correct. Whilst wheat beers have always been a crowd favorite in the Windmills, the IPA variants have also become popular. As are the seasonal beers such as Alphonso Mango Pale Ale, Guava Sours, Jackfruit Ale and Coconut Brown Ale.

Ajay notices a growing interest in wheat buck, which combines the taste of wheat beer with higher ABV and better mouthfeel. Recently, some Bangalore breweries, in collaboration with whiskey makers Paul John and Amrut Distilleries, have started offering barrel-aged whiskey stouts. Part of the drinking population has accepted this well.

Ajay is happy that craft beer consumers in Bangalore have come a long way. From a time when they only asked about “beer” in the breweries, they have now evolved into asking for a wheat buck or a guava sour or an IPA by name.

The windmill ethos is about enjoying the finer things in life. Ajay and Kamal knew right from the start that they would not just build another brewery. They wanted something that was sophisticated but still lively and accommodating: a place that people with discerning sensitivity would love to return to. That is why they created a brewpub that offers customers intellectual stimulation in addition to culinary delights. The idea of ​​defining a stage for live music and having hundreds of books in the headquarters area arose from this vision of the founders.

The headquarters area in Windmills has the feel of a jazz club with a library. Every time I go there I like to spend a few minutes browsing the bookshelves on the walls before settling down to enjoy my pints. For me it's like a foreplay before I move on to the main act. By the way, these books provide great acoustic isolation that keeps sound away from the live performances and the crowds around the house.

The founders' vision of “inspiring people to make a difference” spurs the 200 Windmills employees on to give their best every day. “Good is not enough. We have to do better, ”said Ajay. Windmills is about providing customers with a stimulating experience through the best in food, beer, service and music. Their loyalty program has more than 3000 members, some of whom visit the brew pub 100 times a year!

While Windmills' second point of sale at Bangalore International Airport is hugely popular with travelers, the brand's next phase of growth is anticipated from its production brewery in Goa and a brewpub due to open in the United States.

As with all other F&B establishments in India, Windmills' business has suffered from the Covid-19 pandemic. But Ajay and his team are waiting for a solution. The fact that craft beer breweries in Karnataka are now allowed to sell growlers as a temporary measure has given them some relief. Ajay and his team are looking forward to the day when all sales outlets can be reopened for dine-in.

Saying goodbye, Ajay says, “Bangalore has in a way paved the way for craft beer breweries across the country. Who knows, one day an IPA beer brewed in India will be called the real India Pale Ale! "


Past Forward: A look back, even as we move forward

A series of in-depth profiles of India's earliest and best breweries.

When the Beer Club opened its doors to business in 2010, the craft beer movement was born in the Indian city of Bangalore. The beer club was located in a small part of town and had a swanky interior. Its highlight, however, was its microbrewery. He offered the pub-goers of the pub capital of India a range of craft beers that were freshly brewed in the pubs. And the drinkers enjoyed them very much! For months, the constantly overcrowded brewpub was the hotspot for curious beer drinkers in Bangalore.

Then came other brewpubs like Toit, Arbor, Windmills. And before we knew it, Bangalore had acquired a truly vibrant craft beer culture - thanks to its numerous breweries and the increasingly adventurous crowd of beer lovers.

It seems like it all started yesterday, but the craft beer movement in Bangalore is turning 10 this year. In the past decade, several new breweries with their shiny tanks have sprung up while many others have had to close. The market has matured and beer lovers in Bangalore have access to many more craft beer brands, styles and recipes than ever before. If this city was the pub capital of India in the 1990s and early 2000s, it has retained that title with aplomb, adding the label “Craft Beer Capital of India”.

Despite all of the changes the craft beer industry has seen, some of the earliest breweries continue to thrive. In a landscape that is characterized by several breweries of average quality, the pioneers are characterized by their excellent breweries and by the fact that they always have their finger on the pulse of the market. That is why we thought it appropriate to honor them - the pioneers of the craft beer movement - with a profile.

We started this series in March 2020 with a profile of the Arbor Brewing Company, which started in Bangalore in 2012. To read this story click here.

But this series isn't just about Bangalore, it also puts the spotlight on groundbreaking breweries in other cities in India. To those who were at the forefront of the Indian craft beer movement! Bottom up!

Images: Ganesh Vancheeswaran