Beer numbers

I’ve always wondered why the craft beer at Arbor, a popular microbrewery in Bangalore, is so potent. While I was losing it on one such last night, I made a small calculation (rather simple) which gave me the answer.

The standard serving size at Arbor is 500 ml. The strength of the beers varies from 5.5% alcohol content to 8% alcohol content. While making this calculation last night, I was sipping the one with 8%. 8% of 500 ml is 40 ml, which means that I had 40ml of unadulterated ethanol (combined with 460 ml of other stuff).

Most standard whiskies and hard liquor have 40% alcohol content. So if I were drinking whisky rather than beer (i usually drink whisky and not beer), that one glass of beer was “worth” 100 ml of whisky!

And what about the “regular” beer that I have, which is a 330ml bottle of Kingfisher Premium? That has 6% alcohol content, or 20 ml of alcohol in a beer, which equates to 50 ml of whisky, which is less than one large peg of whisky! To put it another way, one standard unit of beer at Arbor contains about twice the amount of ethanol as one standard unit of bottled beer!

And then it is manufactured right there – because it is a “microbrewery” it is unlikely for each batch to have the precise amount of alcohol. There will be a margin of error. And I’ve been told (verbally, through the grapevine, so this is not official information) that they err on the side of more alcohol – so when the stated alcohol content in something is 8%, they prepare their setup so that the chances of alcohol content being lower than 8% is extremely low. Put that together with the above calculation and you’ll understand why you get so drunk at Arbor!


Indian Pale Ale is the “beer of beers”. Beer itself is famously an “acquired taste” – I remember being so disgusted when I had my first beer back in 2004 that I didn’t have another beer for another year. Now I’m quite used to the taste of Kingfisher.

But then the taste of IPA is even more “acquired” than that of bottled beer. I had some trouble finishing the IPA I ordered yesterday – what helped me finish it was perhaps the alcohol content which was already working! On a previous occasion I’ve ordered an IPA and only half-finished it. But then fans of IPA swear by it and go all the way to Arbor specifically for its IPA! So it is the “beer of beer”, or perhaps “beerendra beer” (Bikram Shah Dev).

Tailpiece 2

I was there as a part of a really large gathering (some 25 people), with people entering and exiting at random times, so they instituted a good measure to ensure we paid fairly. Every time someone ordered something, the drink would come along with the bill, which the orderer would clear right there.

This way there was no scope for messy calculations on who owed whom how much and all that, and no need for any bill-splitting algorithms!


One thought on “Beer numbers”

  1. IPA is disgusting..Belgian whites are the best or german breakfast beers. I think most people in India drink IPA thinking its a ‘desi’ beer but its actually from Yorkshire.its called IPA because they exported it to India through the East India Company (i think)….

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