In spite of a name that might suggest otherwise, Brasserie de Silly is really serious about its beers. Located in a small town some 40 km from Brussels, Brasserie de Silly began brewing beers over 160 years ago. Last Friday, Lionel Van der Haegen, the managing director of Silly Brewery, was at Mad Over Beers (MOB) to introduce some of his finest beers. It was Lionel’s great, great grandfather who started began the Brewery using the malts and hops from his farm. Some of the famous beers in Silly’s repertoire were initially produced in monasteries to provide employment to townsfolks.
Silly’s portfolio includes 13 distinct ales ranging from Blond Ales to IPAs and Almber Ales. IPAs or India Pale ales were crafted by Britishers for the weather of the Indian sub-continent as other ales would go bad quickly, explained Lionel. While mass market lagers were pretty much the only option in Hyderabad until a few years back, the scene is slowly changing. Commercial ales like Hoegaarden are readily available in the city, and beer pubs like MOB and Beer County are allowing Hyderabadis an opportunity to experience the magic of Amber ales and dark Stouts from across the world. The beer that Lionel expects to appeal to most people is Abbaye – a light, Belgian blond ale. The beer is light and refreshing with a fruity and sweet flavour profile. “A beer is made from grains, hops, yeast, and water – all natural and healthy”, noted Lionel. While I can’t vouch for the health benefits of beer, the Abbaye is definitely a wonderful, refreshing drink for the summer.
MOB isn’t stocking the full range of Silly’s offerings. The tripel type beers like LA Divine or Enghien Noel are not available at the moment. I requested Lionel to get me something a bit more hops, and he obliged with a glass of Dubbel. The Dubbel is a really aromatic beer with a fruity, sweet, and somewhat acidic taste that’s quickly replaced with a bitter finish. The Double is quite different from the traditional Belgian ale, and I loved the flavours.
I didn’t want to get too tipsy, so I wanted to call it a night with my third beer. Vikas Passary, the man behind MOB, recommended me something outside of Silly’s portfolio as the final drink – the Westmalle Dubbel. This beer comes from Brouwerij der Trappisten van Westmalle – one of the 10 remaining Trappist breweries (breweries operated by Trappist-Cistercian monks). The Westmalle Dubbel has a dark brown colouration with a fragrant head, fruity but not overly sweet taste that masks the alcohol well, and a really hoppy finish. At Rs. 850 this one is one of the most expensive beers in MOB’s menu, but it is also among the best. Most of the other beers, including those from Silly are priced between Rs. 450 and 600 per bottle (taxes extra).