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Roughhouse Brewing | New Day Navroz Mango Lassi Sour Ale

Roughhouse Brewing New Day Navroz

Across the world, over 300 million people, not far off the population of the U.S., celebrate the spring vernal equinox festival of Navroz, also known as Nowruz, Novruz, Nowrouz, Nooruz, Navruz, Nauroz or Nevruz, all of which mean “new day” and signify the first day of spring. The festival is embraced in multiple countries across South and Central Asia and the Middle East, with roots that trace back over 3,000 years to the Zoroastrian religion in ancient Persia, and is usually celebrated on or around March 21st.

The festival travelled along the path of the Silk Road and picked up many founding myths and traditional practices as it was adopted by different religions and cultures. Navroz is now primarily a secular cultural celebration shared by a wide range of religions, and in 2009 was inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. While exactly how you celebrate Navroz will vary according to local custom, spring cleaning, time spent with family and special celebratory foods are all part of the festivities.

Roughhouse Brewing New Day Navroz Mango Lassi Sour Ale, photo credit Alex Pasternak

Naz Pasternak, co-owner and events and taproom manager at Roughhouse Brewing in San Marcos, TX,  grew up celebrating Navroz and this year, the brewery brought that celebration to the taproom with a special-release beer paired with Naz’s home-made spice cake. Their Mango Lassi Sour Ale is a glorious representation of a hugely popular and much-loved South Asian flavor, almost ubiquitous across the region. With a full, juicy body and delicate tart tang balanced out by the fruit’s natural sweetness, this two-year foeder-aged ale acts as the perfect foil for the mango’s intensity, making for an incredibly moreish beer to raise a glass to a new day.

Naz Pasternak with Navroz cake, photo credit Alex Pasternak

Roughhouse’s New Day is only the second beer brewed to celebrate Navroz in the U.S. (the first was by Back Home Beer, also called New Day) and the first in Texas. Shining a light on this significant global festival through the lens of beer and food pairing is especially noteworthy as Asians currently represent just 2% of brewery owners in the US (the same percentage as Black brewery owners). By opening Asian culture out to the beer community and encouraging Asians into the brewery with a familiar holiday celebration, Roughhouse are working to create greater intercultural appreciation.

Roughhouse Brewing New Day Mango Lassi Sour Ale, photo credit Justin Brummer

In a Q&A, Naz Pasternak shares some further insights into why Roughhouse decided to host a Navroz event and the importance of community, family and cultural inclusivity to the brewery:

How did the idea for the Navroz beer and event come about?

Family is at the forefront of our business. In recognition of my Indian family and heritage, my co-owner and sister-in-law, Alex, suggested that we highlight Navroz as one of our events at Roughhouse. As with most events that we host, having a beer and food pairing is essential not only for the yummy experience, but to tie all aspects of our offerings together.


How would you normally celebrate Navroz with your family, and how did this shape the event at the brewery?

Navroz, or really any holiday in my family, is typically celebrated with a table full of delicious food and mithai (sweets)! Biryani and gulab jamun (Indian donuts) are my favorites, and those dishes go hand-in-hand with a glass of ice-cold mango juice. Because food is such an integral part of my culture, we thought it was fitting to highlight a food and beer pairing for this event.


Why did you think it was important to share this event with the community?

Although there may not be a significant South Asian demographic here in the Hill Country, we believe it is still valuable to acknowledge and appreciate cultures that are represented in the Roughhouse family. Our hope as a company is to create connections with members of the community, to share stories, and foster a welcoming place for people of all cultures to be seen and heard.


Can you tell me a bit about the mango lassi and spice cake recipes and flavors and why you chose them to celebrate Navroz at the brewery?

One of the most common spices used in Indian cuisine is cardamom, which I associate mostly with dessert! The spice cake is full of cardamom, including a cardamom and rose-infused syrup and glaze to enhance the flavors. Our mango lassi sour combined a foeder-aged sour blonde with pureed mango pulp to create a tangy, almost smoothie-like texture, very similar to mango lassi, which is typically made with yogurt. Both of these ingredients, for me, represent home and family, which I wanted to share with our Roughhouse community.

Roughhouse Brewing New Day Mango Lassi Sour Ale and spice cake, photo credit Justin Brummer

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