KOHIMA: In the enchanting Nagaland, where the spirits of the hills weave into the cultural tapestry, a dry state prevails.
Yet, how many are aware that a craft beer, bearing the state’s name, has become a popular beverage just beyond the Indian borders, in Myanmar?
Enter Nagaland Pale Ale, a craft beer with a narrative that transcends borders.
Contrary to expectations, this amber-hued “elixir” doesn’t flow from the hills of Nagaland but rather takes shape just across the India-Myanmar border.
In Myanmar, a group of founders, inspired by the craft beer revolution in the USA, birthed the Nagaland Pale Ale, a bold and hoppy creation with the tantalising sweetness of caramel malt and a burst of citrusy aroma from the coveted Citra hops.
The origins of this craft beer trace back to the late 1990s in Singapore, where the founders discovered the artistry of craft brewing.
Fuelled by a “liquid diet” on Friday evenings, the idea of starting their own microbrewery germinated. While initial dreams floated around exotic locations such as Phuket, Pattaya, and Bali, it remained more fantasy than a plan.
Fast forward 15 years, with two founders returning to Yangon from Singapore, the dream gained a semblance of reality.
Research and a business plan in hand, they encountered the formidable challenge of obtaining a brewing license in Myanmar.
A whimsical idea of brewing without a license was shelved, and instead, they sought official permission under the banner of craft beer.
After months of silence, the unexpected call came in the latter half of 2015, notifying them of the initial denial.
Undeterred, the founders appealed against the decision, hoping for a change of fate.
To their astonishment and joy, the authorities not only reconsidered but granted permission to formally apply for a brewing license.
The journey from fantasy to froth reality culminated in the issuance of their brewing license in the middle of 2016.
The brewery took shape in the North Dagon Industrial zone in the latter half of the same year, and the inaugural brew was savoured in December 2016, coinciding with the 500th-anniversary celebration of the Reinheitsgebot (German Beer Purity Law).
The doors of the Tasting Room swung open on January 20, 2017, marking the beginning of a craft beer saga that goes beyond borders, bringing the taste of Nagaland to life in the heart of Myanmar.