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With space hard to come by in Chandigarh, coupled with restrictions on independent beer brewing, Panchkula is fast emerging as a pubbing destination. There seems to be a demand for craft beers, as little else would explain the opening up of another microbrewery that is surprisingly housed not too far away from its predecessor. Situated on one end of the always-buzzing market of Sector 9, Ooze- The Brauhaus is discreetly tucked away in the first floor of an international fast food joint. There's a huge beer cask that leads the way to a flight of stairs. With dark, black walls highlighted with yellow neon lights, there's an immediate transition from the sunny ambience outside. The darkness engulfs once you are past the huge doorway, even though we visited it in the middle of the afternoon. There's a large announcement at the entrance that asserts that weapons are not allowed inside. Yes, in this part of the world, these things have to be spelt out.
At first glance, Ooze- The Brauhaus (the latter is a German word for microbrewery) comes across as a diner-lounge. There are rows of lounge sofas, their backs plastered to the walls with tables (that should ideally have been coffee table height) across them. The copper-coloured steely units (adhering to German designs made by Chinese manufacturers we are told) that brew the beer can be spotted in one corner, carefully encased in glass.
The highlight is definitely beer that comes in four variants. There's wheat, pilser, ale and stout priced Rs 150 onwards. "Here we follow the Bavarian Purity Law or the German Purity Law which states that the only ingredients that could be used in production of beer are water, barley malt, hops and yeast. There are no preservatives," remarked owner Suraj Pratap Singh Sidhu. The wheat beer was light with a sweet aftertaste and the ale will appeal to those who prefer it bitter and stronger. The menu offers everything from Mexican, Indian and Oriental cuisines. The nachos we sampled with the beer were spot on and worth pairing up with a pilsner. Ditto for the Ooze special chicken that brought in rolls of chicken wrapped around a chilli. Fiery enough to make you gulp the beer.
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