UBUD, Indonesia — It took a while to find, but Ubud’s very own microbrew, Storm Beer, was worth the wait.
Never mind the mass-produced Bintang and Bali Hai, this was the real deal.
Storm Beer was a gem of a find, a finely crafted microbrew that stood apart from its Indonesian bretheren with its rich yet delicately balanced flavors.
Finding myself caught in the rain one afternoon outside the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary — the site of my first monkey encounter — I scampered from one store to the next, certain there would be a bar or restaurant along the aptly named Monkey Forest Road.
Sure enough, a sidewalk restaurant some 50 meters up the street served up Indonesian specialties (such as avocado juice, a heavily sweetened whipped concoction layered with chocolate sauce) along with the popular Storm Beer Iron Stout.
The Iron Stout exhibited a deep, dark color and offered a robust taste, less bitter than, say, Guinness Stout, with slight chocolate overtones and almost a sweetness about it that dissipates before it became distracting. Its head feltl light, going flat after maybe a minute, and overall the beer was much more lively and delicate than expected. Refreshing when served cold, it was the perfect antidote to the rainstorm just a couple of tables away and past the restaurant’s open side.
The Bali Storm Brewing Company claims to have roots in turn-of-the-century England. Thomas Storm and Sons were the prestigious makers of “Royal Ales” (from centuries-old recipes) during a time of great contention between brewing families. Curiously, the story follows the Shakespearean path of star-crossed lovers, only this tale ends with the founding of a microbrewery in Bali.
True or not, I’d toast that tale.
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