This past weekend saw about 1400 Cape Tonians (and some imports) brave the torrential downpour to join over 15 brewers, 5 garagiste wine makers, live bands and skilled food vendors under the sheltered roof of Simon’s Restaurant at Groot Constantia for The Craft Beer Project’s first Hop ‘n Vine festival.
The last three weeks have been chaos in a mash tun for a lot of our brewing buddies as everyone started getting their brews ready for Hop n Vine, there was a lot of kegging, tasting, brewing, tasting, travelling, tasting and prepping happening to make sure that each brewery brought their finest offerings to the table for this highly anticipated event. If the media launch was anything to go by, not an empty belly or glass would be present on the day and The Craft Beer Project did not disappoint.
Festival goers gained entry to the fest, a gorgeous, branded 330ml glass sponsored by Consol, festival booklet that included food-pairing suggestions and tokens that allowed 4 free tasters to each glass holder for R120 each. The point of the festival was to experience craft beer and wines and educate yourself and your palate. Beer doesn’t ONLY pair well with a braai and wine and cheese are not mutually exclusive. With each stand being manned by brewers or vintner, information on what you were tasting was not hard to come by. Beer drinkers experienced actual flavours present in wine, wine drinkers discovered that beer also has varieties, notes, vintages and nuances and everyone was exposed to some of the tastiest food that the Cape has to offer.
Some of the firm favourites as seen by the many tweeters present were The Valley of the Skulls, Dark IPA, a collab brew from Three Skulls Brew Works and Valley brewery, Cockpit Brew House‘s Fokker Weiss, Mitchell’s Brewery‘s Milk & Honey and so many more. Beers were paired with fresh oysters, wonderful cheeses, the tastiest jalapeno poppers you’ve ever had, belly pork on ciabattas and even waffles that were made using Mitchell’s Brewery’s Raven Stout! This event was the kick start to beer and food pairing in Cape Town and we can only expect the idea to grow as a result of it.
All of this contributed to a fantastic festival being thrown by Greg Casey of Banana Jam Cafe and Russ Meyer from Jolie 360 in spite of the weather and a few negative people who didn’t see the value of it. Greg has done what so many of us claim that we want and need. He has thrown a CRAFT BEER festival. With no help from the big boys, he has planned and personally financed (to a great extent) an event to assist the micro brewing industry in South Africa and for that, he needs to be applauded. There were a few hiccups as is always the case with a first time event. It must be said that while the festival was great exposure for all of the brands involved, we need to figure out a way to make the next one profitable for the breweries as well. When stand fees and free tasters were taken into account, a lot of brewers packed up on Saturday evening out-of-pocket. We all understand the importance of carrying on the #RealBeerRevolution and working together to promote the “movement”, but it must be noted that the brewers create these beers and share them with you and I because they love what they do, they are passionate about it and are not making large profits off of it. In fact, most of them only make enough to keep the passion brewing.
We are looking forward to the next one and expect it to be even more successful (and maybe sunnier) than the first. So, come support us, educate and enjoy yourselves and like the guys from Beerguevara, raise your openers up high and Viva the Real Beer Revolution!