Everything You Need to Know About Great State Aleworks | Stay Tipsy
When it comes to breweries, Great State Aleworks is a name to be reckoned with. In just one year, the Pune-based brewery founded by Nakul Bhonsle, has served their innovative brews at popular restaurants like The Bombay Canteen and O Pedro. So, featuring them in our Stay Tipsy series was inevitable.
I spoke to Nakul to find out what the ‘Great’ in Great State Aleworks stands for. Read on…
Tell us about the inception of your brewery.
I started home brewing when I was living in Brooklyn in 2012. A visit to a neighborhood homebrew store inspired me to start home brewing and as a result, I quit my job as a Commodities Analyst and came back home to start a craft brewery. Before moving back for good, I visited 35+ breweries to sample beers and meet brewers on the east and west coast. Those early experiences were critical in shaping Great State’s brewing philosophy, the brew house design as well as the brand.
What’s your future goal for Great State Aleworks?
As a brewery, we had decided from the beginning to brew many styles of beers simultaneously. Today, we are pouring 7-8 different beers across the state. Some are flagship beers and some are small batch series beers brewed on our pilot system.
As a brand, we want to be known as the brewery that brews 15-20 great quality beers every year, constantly changing and experimenting.
What kind of brews do you serve? And, what makes them unique?
We are currently serving eight styles across Pune, Mumbai, Nasik and Aurangabad. Our flagship beer is the Belgian witbier, Brightside. This is our take on a witbier, with a balance of orange zest and coriander seeds. One of our personal favourites is a special collaboration beer, a New England style IPA called Hazy Daze, which we brewed with Brooklyn-based brewery called KCBC. Our third flagship is our first ever Belgian ale called First Encounter.
What makes our beers unique is our #SmallBatchSeries. These are 150-200 lit small batches that we brew, and this is where we have our fun. This is our way of staying true to our humble home brewing background! Currently, we have a Salted Kokum Saison, a Coconut Cream Ale, a Gondhoraj Lime Witbier, Smoked Porter and a Pineapple Lager pouring. We are also launching an exciting new beer called Golden Brown, a coffee golden ale that we brewed with Koinonia Coffee Roasters.
You keep on collaborating with other brands. If you had to pick, which one has been your favourite collaboration?
Definitely, our favourite has been with the Brooklyn-based brewery, Kings County Brewers Collective (or KCBC).
We did two collab beers with them – Hazy Daze that we brewed with Tony (founder of KCBC) at Great State, and Bombay Bling, which we brewed at KCBC’s brewery when Nakul visited them in September 2018. It was great to have Tony’s input and brew it right! The fact that the beer is very well received and that we are on our 4th batch now, makes it even more special.
You host brewery tours frequently. What does it generally include?
Our monthly brewery tours include a tour of our brewery, followed by an in-depth understanding of the brewing process and a look into all the ingredients used for brewing. Later, we head to a bar closely and sample a bunch of Great State beers! It’s a free tour.
Also, what kind of response do you usually receive for the same?
We keep the tour for 12-15 people, and always ‘sell out’ a few days before the day of the tour. Beer is a such a commonly loved beverage that many people are keen to know how it’s brewed.
We want to show our beer drinkers that this isn’t some industrialized commodity that’s been manufactured in bulk. This is craft beer, brewed with minimal automation, with a lot of hands-on hard work and by young brewers who are doing this for the love of beer.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us about your brand?
Our next Tap Takeover is on Oct 28th at Bonobo. We’ve got two singer/songwriters performing, an art exhibit with our friend from Curiosity Kills The Cat, food from Bowl Baby Bowl and eight Great State beers. Come over as it’s the best way to know us better.
I have marked October 28th in my calendar already because I can’t wait to taste their range of beers and of course, their tempting new flavour, Golden Brown!