What did you do to celebrate your 15th birthday? Maybe sneak an illicit pint or two. We bet you didn’t commission a brand new beer and a craft one at that. But that’s exactly what Bristol food pioneers The Thali Café have done.

Looking to mark the occasion in style, The Thali Café was looking for a new beer to be the perfect accompaniment for its special birthday menu featuring free range meat and local veg, unlike the produce you find in tandooris up and down the land.

The Three Star Food Made Good group with five restaurants in Bristol, discovered the family-run Arkell’s Brewery in Swindon, just 40 miles from Bristol.

Steam-powered brewery

Arkell’s is an incredible 150-year-old steam powered brewery – like stepping into a time machine, the folk from Thali Café discovered.  But, they were fully confident that their desire for a handmade, natural product could be produced in the quantities required.

Available exclusively through The Thali Cafe’s five restaurants, the beer has been carefully created as the perfect pairing for The Thali’s new chicken tikka grill which headlines the new menu for autumn.  Arkell’s is using the steam-powered machines for brewing the new lager, Desi Biyar, in small batches using premium quality natural ingredients.

The master brewer, Alex Arkell is young and innovative and having trained in the US is passionate about craft beer. Alex capitalises on an incredible family legacy and stays true to the steam-powered system whilst bringing his modern approach to new products.

The joys of local sourcing

Thali Café say it’s illustrative of the importance they attach to creating relationships locally and that they never cease to be surprised by what they discover right under their noses.

Alex Arkell said: “The team at the Thali have an obvious passion for using quality ingredients to create an incredible range of delicious dishes. They also take the time to understand and tell the story behind their recipe ideas, which as the sixth generation of my family to brew beer here at Arkell’s Brewery is something very close to my own heart. We hope that the Desi Biyar, which is crafted by our brewers using traditional techniques in our Victorian stream Brewhouse will bring people together with positive social energy as the name suggests.”

“Desi Biyar has a soft malty sweetness which not only balances nicely with the spiciness of the chicken but also draws out the caramelised flavours that come through from the grill. The beer then finishes off with a good bit of fizz which gives the meal a refreshing lift.”

Mmmm. Local food washed down by a perfectly paired local beer. Happy Birthday Thali Café.