Q&A with the Brewer

Date

What do you get when you combine a former nuclear power plant employee, an ex-military man, a shy Irishman with a rather patriotic love for stout, some serious globe-trotting, the pleasure of fishing and our very own Toit?
An Irish brewer called Matt Callahan, that’s what. Matt is a man on a mission, a mission to traverse the world, for the sole purpose of promoting the noble cause of quality brewing, even if he won’t admit it himself.We sat down with the brewer and ended up talking travel, fishing and mouth feels. Over some hopped up beer, of course
.

Q. How did it all start for you, your foray into brewing?

I couldn’t find a job that paid even half as much as what I was getting paid working at the power plant, so I went back to University.

Matt: Well, I started off working at a commercial Nuclear Power Plant in the United States, in instrumentation and controls, and also licensing and engineering support. Did that for about ten years, until it got shut down because of political reasons. At the time I couldn’t find a job that paid even half as much as what I was getting paid working at the power plant, so I went back to University, in England, and took up a brewing course they offered. And fifteen years later, here I am. *laughs*

Q. Wow! That’s quite an unusual background for a brewer. Tell us a little bit about your journey with brewing.

Matt: After Uni, I ended up doing an apprenticeship at the Isle of Mann. (This was his first serious brewing role, he worked on and off for two years after University.) I eventually ended up in Ireland where I worked at a couple of breweries. The last brewery I worked at there had a fire, unfortunately. So they decided to shut down. That’s when I went back to work at the Isle of Mann, to the same brewery I had worked at before and they welcomed me back.

I stayed there for about eight months, until i got offered a job in Micronesia, in a small tiny place called Palau. It’s an even smaller place than the Isle of Mann, a very small country. Out there I worked at a microbrewery called the Palau Brewing Company. That was a two year stint, which lasted until I got offered a job in South Korea. This place, I really enjoyed. The people there were really nice , and I really liked the cuisine. It was all just very nice.

After this I went to Australia for a bit, to help set up a brewery. On completing that, I went back to South Korea for a while, and this time I was offered a job in Denmark. This would be the place I would end up staying the longest, about seven years. The company I worked at there was a production brewery-they made a million plus litres of beer per year. But I got tired of the weather there. I’m not sure if it was my age or something else. *laughs again* But the place was just cold, damp and kind of miserable.

Q. All that travelling! How did India get added to that beer itinerary? 

I happened to mention the drab weather in Denmark, so he mentioned to me that he had gone to India, (after Sibi had gotten in touch with him), to help set up a brewery here.

Matt: Interesting story, actually. All this time I was meeting a friend of mine called Phil. Phil used to work at a nuclear power plant as well, and this is funny because we didn’t have a clue until later. Right now, he has the same job I had in Micronesia.

Phil and I would meet regularly at Manila, where we would catch up over a few beers. One of these times, I happened to mention the drab weather in Denmark, so he mentioned to me that he had gone to India, ( after Sibi had gotten in touch with him), to help set up a brewery here (Toit), and asked if I would be interested. I was on holiday though, and was supposed to get back to Denmark, but within a few weeks they asked me to come to India. So I went back and told my boss that I was going to leave.

Funny story behind that is that when he asked me where I was going and I said Bangalore, he informed me that he was planning on going there in a week’s time. He came here to adopt two children. I still had my two-three months of notice period to serve, so when he returned he brought back photos. My former boss actually ended up seeing Toit before me.

Q. So what motivated you to take up brewing full time? 

Matt: There’s some passion for beer  involved, but it’s just something I decided to do. Besides, I used to do some home brewing, which kind of pointed me in this direction.

Q. What was your first beer/brewing related job?

Matt: Wait, paid job?  My first experience of working with beer was as an apprentice, but apprenticeships aren’t paid. When we were in University (England), on the days we didn’t have classes, we would go down to the breweries and work part time. Weekends and evenings usually. That became a source of early experience. My first actual pay check was from the Celtic Brewing Company in Ireland. I’m not sure if the company is still there or not.

Q. Why Toit?

Matt: I’m a trusting person. *laughs* Well, Phil and Sibi convinced me. Between the two of them, I had no reservations. Moving to India wasn’t a problem either. My wife is from the Philippines, so it’s pretty similar.

Q. So you’ve clearly been around and worked at a lot of breweries. You must have witnessed some disastrous beer mishaps!

So when they come off, the beer comes rushing out. Essentially, you have beer shooting out all the way across the street.

Matt: I mentioned before that a brewery I was working at in Ireland burned down, right? That was when I was working in the Irish Brewing Company in New Bridge, Ireland. It was just another day, I finished work and went home, and the next morning, when I came back, the place was burned down. They had to shut down eventually. That’s the more serious side of the disasters I’ve witnessed.

Funny ones? Well, maybe funny in hindsight, are incidents where people have loosened the caps on brewing vessels. These caps contain a lot of pressure behind them. So when they come off, the beer comes rushing out. Essentially, you have beer shooting out all the way across the street. Sometimes that’s happened accidentally and sometimes I’ve seen people do it on purpose. You know, people nosing around.

That’s why when people come into the brewery now, I’m always a bit apprehensive. And a lot more vocal than I am now. *laughs*

Q. So what’s your favourite International beer? 

Matt: I prefer dark beer, a Stout. As far as as brands go, I like pint bottles of Guinness. Not draft, but pint bottles.

Q. What can you guarantee from the brews here? 

Matt: I’m not guaranteeing anything, but I’ll say this. The majority of people who drink our beer find it enjoyable and consistent, which is probably why we have a set of loyal customers, who come back again and again. That’s fifty to sixty percent of our customers from what I’ve seen. While our beer isn’t experimental, we do have a  wide variety. We don’t try to please every beer drinker, but we cover a lot of ground from very light beers to very dark beers; strong beers to bitter beers; and also milds.

Q: Which is your favourite Toit brew? 

Matt: That would have to be a stout – the Dark Knight. I brew two or three beers that I normally wouldn’t drink. But I still have to take samples every once in a while. Part of the job.

Q. When not brewing, what is your other favourite way of passing time? 

Matt: Resting *laughs* I’m getting old. Well, I haven’t been able to do it here yet but I really love fishing.  I’ve been in Bangalore for a  year and two weeks now, but I haven’t managed to go out. Sibi has been giving me a list of places to visit, and I plan on getting down to it. I also enjoy wine tasting sometimes. But at a very, very amateur level. So I go along with people who know what they’re talking about. My favourites are Italian wines.

Toit is one of the most different brew pubs that I have worked at.

Matt adds, “Toit is one of the most different brew pubs that I have worked at. I really can’t explain what it is. The people, the amount of the people that come in, the amount of beer they drink, the smiles on their faces, and them coming back again and again, makes the whole process of brewing so much more enjoyable.”
So if you ever see a tall Irishman walking about, beer glasses in hand, furtively looking to see if people are tinkering around with his brewing vessels, do walk up to him and say hello, because you’re sure to have some really good conversation, over some really good beer.

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Look forward to having you back when you are old enough to get Toit!

Please contact us between 9am and 7pm for reservations

Special Beer

Beetroot Lemon Gose

This special beer is a tart, refreshing wheat ale that is kettle-soured with lactobacillus and brewed with beetroot, lemon, and pink salt. (Ingredients that also give it the unusual colour.)

This is an easy-going, sessionable beer but has a unique complexity achieved by beetroot juice and lemon. 

AROMA

Earthy, lemon

ABV

4.8%

MOUTHFEEL

Medium-light body

APPEARANCE

Ruby with pink tones

FLAVOUR

Tangy, light, sweet and sour with the earthy sweetness of beetroot

Oktoberfest Special

märzen

The classic, traditional Marzen, this beer style originated in Bavaria and is brewed primarily for the Oktoberfest during the end of September and the beginning of October. 

Our version of the classic is an elegant, malty German lager with a rich and toasty malt flavour, with an aftertaste so rich that you can’t resist another glass. 

*(ABV in Pune and Mumbai is 4.9%, and 5.8% in Bengaluru)

AROMA

Moderate intensity aroma of German malt, rich, bready, toasty.

ABV

5.8%*

MOUTHFEEL

Medium-bodied, with a smooth, creamy texture.

APPEARANCE

Amber Orange

FLAVOUR

Moderately-dry to dry. Distinctive and complex maltiness including a bready, toasty aspect. Moderate hop bitterness and low hop flavour.

Oktoberfest Special

Kolsch

A clean, crisp, delicately-balanced beer with a very subtle fruit and hop character. Made with a single hop, Mandarina Bavaria, that lends the brew a distinctive lemon rind flavour, that makes this pleasant beer all the more refreshing. 

AROMA

Low malt aroma, with a grainy-sweet character. A delicately spicy hop aroma, with a subtle fruit aroma

ABV

4.9%

MOUTHFEEL

Medium-light with medium carbonation

APPEARANCE

Clear, pale gold to light gold

FLAVOUR

Low fruity sweetness, medium-low bitterness with delicate dryness and slight crispness

Special Beer

Black Rice Ale

Looking for something a little different?  
Brewed with black rice and specialty malts, this special brew is characterised by a slight malt sweetness, and balanced out by an earthy and nutty note that comes from the black rice.

AROMA

Mild sweetness

ABV

5.5%

MOUTHFEEL

Medium body

APPEARANCE

Dark brown

FLAVOUR

Brown bread, light nutty and chocolate notes

Oktoberfest Special

German Pilsner

A crisp, exceptionally clean beer prominently featuring noble German hops and the finest Pilsner malt that gives it an impeccably balanced hop profile.

Pouring a brilliant straw colour, it offers floral and spicy aroma with flavours of lightly sweet malt, finishing firm and dry on the palate.

AROMA

Malty with floral and spicy aroma

ABV

4.8%

MOUTHFEEL

Light to medium body

APPEARANCE

Light Straw

FLAVOUR

Medium to high hop bitterness and subtle grain sweetness

Specials

saison

Lemon Tea Saison

A farmhouse style ale celebrating the refreshing flavours of lemon chai. Crafted by infusing Malabar tea and a squeeze of farm fresh lemons, the beer has citrus fruit and spice notes that remind you of the soothing comfort of a cup of lemon tea, with a boozy twist of course!

AROMA

Fruity with a spicy yeast character

ABV

4.9%

MOUTHFEEL

Light to medium body

APPEARANCE

Fruity with a spicy yeast character

FLAVOUR

Citrus and pepper spice

Specials

American IPA

West Coast IPA

A West Coast-style American IPA aggressively hopped with a blend of Simcoe, Centennial, Amarillo and El Dorado hops.

This brew is all about the hops – that lends it clear aromas of pine, stone fruit and citrus.

The beer has a coating mouthfeel with long lasting bitterness and balanced malt body.

AROMA

Pine, stone fruit, citrus

ABV

6.6%

MOUTHFEEL

Light to medium body

APPEARANCE

Deep Golden

FLAVOUR

A crisp, bold hop forward front followed by piney and citrus notes

Sounds like something you and your friends would want to do?

Simply read and fill the form below and we’ll get in touch with you. And soon too! We hate turning people away, but we can only incorporate a certain number so that the experience remains personal.
All tours are currently out of Toit Bangalore.

    • Brewery Tours are held on every 1st Saturday of the month. The tour and beer tasting session starts at 11:30am and lasts for about 1.5 hours.
    • Registration fees for the Tour is Rs.850 + taxes. This is inclusive of beer samples, food pairing, a certificate & T-shirt.
    • Each tour has an upper limit of 20 people.  So register early to get your preferred date.
    • The minimum age to be eligible to sign up for the tour is 21 years. Carrying valid ID to take part in the Tour is mandatory. 
    • Kindly inform us in advance if you have any dietary restrictions or allergies.
    • We advise patrons who are on medication to refrain from taking the tour.
    • If you are a traveller, please note that International Credit Cards are not accepted as part of our online registration. Please send us an email to toitblr@toit.in and we can sort it out for you. Or just drop by at our pub, grab a beer and register at the front desk.
    • Because all the money goes to charity, refunds won’t be possible.
    • All tours are currently out of Toit Bangalore.

    Specials

    Kolsch Beer

    Kolsch

    The Kolsch, originating from Cologne, Germany, is a light and refreshing ale-lager hybrid. The beer is clean, crisp and delicately-balanced with a subtle fruit and hop character. Our version is made with a single hop, Mandarina Bavaria, that lends the brew distinctive mandarin and citrus notes.

    AROMA

    Low malt aroma, with a grainy-sweet character. A delicately spicy hop aroma, with a pleasant and subtle fruit aroma

    ABV

    4.9%

    MOUTHFEEL

    Medium-light & medium carbonation

    APPEARANCE

    Clear, pale gold to light gold

    FLAVOUR

    Low fruity sweetness, medium-low bitterness with delicate dryness and slight crispness

    Specials

    Dark Vader

    Schwarzbier

    ​​This German style dark lager is a regional specialty from southern Thuringen and northern Franconia in Germany.

    It balances a complex malt flavour with a generous addition of noble hops, with notes of caramel.

    The Special beer is rumoured to have strange powers, in that over a few pints, you seem to lose your ability to say ‘no’ to more. Don’t believe us? Well, have a taste of it yourself and see. But we warned—you don’t know the power of the dark side…umm…lager.

    AROMA

    Slightly malty

    ABV

    5.0%

    MOUTHFEEL

    Medium body, smooth

    APPEARANCE

    Black

    FLAVOUR

    Light malty with hints of caramel

    Specials

    West Coast IPA

    SMaSH

    While most beers use a blend of multiple hops and malts the SMaSH is brewed with a single variety of malt (Pilsner Malt) and hops (Amarillo hops).

    This refreshing beer showcases the individual characteristics of each ingredient, creating a distinctive yet balanced flavour profile. The Verdant IPA yeast helps the hop character shine through, while maintaining the grainy backbone.

    It’s the perfect beer to welcome Spring and the perfect excuse you need to get SMaSHed.

    AROMA

    Floral, citrus

    ABV

    4.8%

    MOUTHFEEL

    Light-medium bodied, medium carbonated.

    APPEARANCE

    Light yellow, slightly hazy.

    FLAVOUR

    Slightly bitter, citrusy flavour followed by malty aftertaste.

    Please contact us between 9am and 7pm for reservations

    Please contact us between 9am and 7pm for reservations

    Please contact us between 9am and 7pm for reservations

    TOIT PUNE

    Specials

    Kolsch Beer

    Kolsch

    The Kolsch, originating from Cologne, Germany, is a light and refreshing ale-lager hybrid. The beer is clean, crisp and delicately-balanced with a subtle fruit and hop character. Our version is made with a single hop, Mandarina Bavaria, that lends the brew distinctive mandarin and citrus notes.

    AROMA

    Low malt aroma, with a grainy-sweet character. A delicately spicy hop aroma, with a pleasant and subtle fruit aroma

    ABV

    4.9%

    MOUTHFEEL

    Medium-light & medium carbonation

    APPEARANCE

    Clear, pale gold to light gold

    FLAVOUR

    Low fruity sweetness, medium-low bitterness with delicate dryness and slight crispness

    Specials

    Belgian Tripel

    Tripel X

    A clean, crisp, delicately-balanced beer with a very subtle fruit and hop character.

    Brewed with pilsner malt and homemade candy sugar, our take on this Belgian classic style is smooth and complex. Strong malty & mildly sweet notes deliver a pleasantly dry finish. This one packs quite a punch & you will barely notice it, making it a dangerously session-able beer

    AROMA

    Complex fruity aroma

    ABV

    8%

    MOUTHFEEL

    Medium body

    APPEARANCE

    Pale gold

    FLAVOUR

    Mild sweet malt flavour, with a soft bitterness and fruity flavors

    Specials

    Guest Tap - Oi Brewing

    Lemon Hard Seltzer

    100 calories and 2 grams of carbs per pint! The Oi Lemon Hard Seltzer is made from a natural honey base just like a mead. After a special proprietary fermentation process, they use the traditional Bourbon method and filter the Seltzer over a bed of charcoal that eliminates all color and taste from it.


    The result, a sparkling clear beverage, which is then naturally flavored with lemon. Refreshing, light and crisp!

    AROMA

    Lemon

    ABV

    <4.95%

    MOUTHFEEL

    Crisp and spritz

    APPEARANCE

    Clear

    FLAVOUR

    Tart lemon