James Beard Publication of the Year 2017

Acquiring a Taste for Indian Cricket, With Help from German Beer

Acquiring a Taste for Indian Cricket, With Help from German Beer

Beer in Bengaluru, India

My wife and I were flopped on the couch at our apartment in Bengaluru (also called Bangalore) on a recent Saturday, watching the first match of my first Indian club cricket season, and it wasn’t going so great. We were rooting hard for Chennai, where her family has roots, but they were getting battered by Mumbai.

It was a night destined for an early bedtime until she looked at me and asked if I wanted to go to a pub called The Permit Room. I said yes, because at least then we could drown away the loss.

We ordered beers at the bar. I got a Hefeweizen called “Weiss Guy,” because the name was dumb enough to make me laugh.  My wife ordered another German-sounding drink that looked much maltier, and then her dad called and asked what we were up to.

My wife grew up in Bengaluru, and her parents live just a neighborhood over. They walked in maybe 20 minutes after the phone call and ran right into the owner, a friend. Immediately we were whisked to a table upstairs, where we ordered a tray of crispy samosas stuffed with lamb pâté. I moved onto a second Weiss Guy and then a third, shorter Guy. About then, a Chennai all-rounder—a player who both bats and bowls well—named Dwayne Bravo stepped up to bat and turned the match around.

He blasted six after six, which, if you don’t know, is kind of like a baseball player smashing home run after home run. Mumbai was way out in front, but the win now seemed possible. I was busy dunking pieces of appam into chicken curry, but I paused with food halfway to my mouth whenever he stepped into a swing. Waiters stopped to watch, trays in hand.

Bravo didn’t last the rest of the match, but he’d done enough damage by the time he was out. Chennai won in the last over (like winning a baseball game in the final inning) and they did it with a shot that sailed to the edge of the field. The bar cheered in joyous disbelief. My father-in-law hugged me, then high-fived a waiter. I scraped out the last bit of my filter coffee mousse, which at some point we’d ordered for dessert.

My wife and I have since been back for cricket matches. We’ve ordered the same beers and samosas. It turns out the Weiss Guy wasn’t a good-luck charm, though it wasn’t a bad way to get into a new sport.

The Permit Room
16/3, Commissariat Road
Bengaluru, India

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