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Mar 26, 2008 04:13 PM

Indian Beer in San Diego?

Some friends are making an (East) Indian dinner for us on Saturday.

What is good and where can I buy some refreshments? I am guessing that the first answer will be India Spice and Sweets, but I don't remember if they sell alcoholic beverages. I've only been to the store in Tustin, not the one is San Diego.

Any advice, with address attached will be gratefully appreciated.

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  1. Beer was introduced to India by the British. India Pale Ale is a style that was specifically developed to handle the heat and long journey from Britain to India. Samuel Smith's India Ale is a good example of this type of IPA, much less hoppy than modern American IPA. You can likely find this at BevMo.

    Beers made in India (Kingfisher, Flying Horse) are typically standard light lager, interchangeable with light lager from most any other country.

    If you want to have a good beer pairing with the meal, I'd suggest Belgian witbier, which is a very nice, palate cleansing, refreshing beer with coriander and orange peel, which will be complimentary to Indian seasonings.

    If you're simply looking to buy beer from India, you might try BevMo.

    As an aside, I've never understood sticking with beer from a particular country when having their cuisine, unless the two were developed concurrently, like in Belgium, for example, or Germany. Restaurants that serve French food serve wine from all over the world, but beer isn't normally treated this way.

    I was at Harney Sushi in Old Town, and was totally stunned to see a selection of American craft brews in addition to the standard Japanese macro lagers. I wish more ethnic restaurants followed suit.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Josh

      IPAs wouldn't necessarily go with Indian food would they? As you state, they were made to survive the travel to India and not pair with the food. It doesn't surprise me that light lagers are the common beer in India because lighter beers typically go better with spicy food. A big, hoppy ale or stout probably wouldn't go over so well. Would some sort of other Southeast Asian beer (maybe Singha) go well since it's East Indian food? I do like your suggestion of Belgian witbier; that provides a lot finer and more complex options than your standard lager.

      1. re: DougOLis

        Actually, English IPA works quite well. The citrusy notes from the hops work well with the flavors. I agree an American IPA wouldn't be such a hot match, but I've had the Sam Smith's India Ale with Indian food before and it's a pretty decent pairing. I generally don't dig the light lagers with Indian food myself, there's no interplay of any flavors there, it's just a mouth rinse.

      2. re: Josh

        Thanks, Josh

        Where can I find Belgian witbier? Hopefully, someplace in or south of Kearny Mesa.

        1. re: Gypsy Jan

          Witbier can be found a lot of places. BevMo, Whole Foods, Mesa Liquor, Keg-N-Bottle. A great one is made by Ballast Point, Wahoo Wheat beer. If you go to their location at Home Brew Mart, you can get a freshly filled growler of it (1/2 gal) for 13 bucks, 7 of which is for the growler bottle itself. You can bring this back and get it filled whenever you want.

          Some other good witbiers are Unibroue's Blanche De Chambly, Avery's White Rascal, and Allagash White.


          Home Brew Mart/Ballast Point:

          Mesa Liquor:

          Keg N Bottle:

          1. re: Josh

            You should be able to find something good at South Bay Drugs and Liquor in Imperial Beach.

            I haven't been, but if you check their website you can see what they are carrying and they have an outstanding selection.


            South Bay Drugs
            779 Palm Ave, Imperial Beach, CA

        2. re: Josh

          Amen Josh. I've always suspected it has to do with the food service company the restaurants use. Thai places get their stuff from whatever thai-owned company competes with Sisco, and they only stock Singha and the American macros... etc. I'm probably totally wrong though. Either way, I'd love to see more micros in ethnic places too. Or even different macros - for me, there's nothing better than an Irish stout like guinness or murphys with sushi, but it's a tough combo to find.

        3. Go to Ker Market. I don't know if they have indian beer, but they have everything else. Besides, there's another two grocery stores in the same shopping center, so if Ker doesn't have it, then one of the other places will.

          Ker-Little India
          9520 Black Mountain Rd # 8
          San Diego, CA 92126
          (858) 695-6282

          1 Reply
          1. re: jmtreg

            I've shopped at all those stores, and don't recall seeing beer at any of them.

          2. I would almost think a nice Czech pilsner would go well with the spices of the Indian food -- a nice Pilsner Urquell or a Staropramen, the yeasty bready flavor would act as a nice foil for the spices in the food...

            1 Reply
            1. re: Ewilensky

              Yeah, another good one that's about 1200 miles fresher is Victory's Prima Pils. Tastes just like a Czech pilsner, but not skunked or oxidized, as happens all too often with the Czech ones. I think they're serviceable with Indian food, but it's not really a pairing that will sing, IMO.

            2. Try Trader Joe's , they have Kingfisher Beer from India

              1. Trader Joe's ...just picked up 6pk KingFisher from the La Jolla store.