Over the last couple of years Sommelier India – The Wine Magazine, has had the privilege of meeting some of the world’s most renowned sommeliers and wine makers. The other night, however, it was different. Susanne Hecht, a beer sommelier was in New Delhi presenting Bavarian and Belgian beers to a gathering of afficionados at Seville, the Mediterranean restaurant at the Claridges Hotel. Rahoul Singh reports. Pictured is visiting Beer Sommelier Susanne Hecht and Importer, Ankur Jain.
Along with Ankur Jain of Craft Beer, the importers of premium beers into the country, Susanne spoke to us not only about the various styles of beers being brewed in her home country (some of which are available in select retail stores in India and fine dining restaurants) but also about the training she underwent to become one of only 20 women beer sommeliers in the world!
As the sommelier with Schneider Weisse, the 450 year ‘wheat’ beer brewery she routinely pairs beers with cuisines from around the world while allaying the myth that beer is ‘only’ a thirst quencher! As opposed to the more nuanced nature of wine, the directness of beer (and its affordability) have long made it a popular drink in India.
The beers tasted included Zinne Bir, a Belgian Ale, Schneider Weisse, a dark wheat beer from Bavaria, Saison Dupont from Belgium, Chimay Blue a Trappist beer (which like wine mentions its vintage on the bottle, and can be cellared for years) and Winterkoninske, another speciality beer from Belgium that had a light sugary taste with hints of juniper and lavender, all of which would be a great quaffing beverage in the blistering Indian summer!