Last Saturday we trekked into the Jozi CBD to experience the Urban Craft Beer, Food and Wine Fair. Leading up to the day, there had been loads of excitement on Twitter because, for the first time in real life, the #tastingleague would meet up. For the spectators of the #tastingleague – this was almost like finding a real life unicorn. Online communities are a strange beast. But more on that just now.
We organised to meet at Smack! but at the last minute they (as well as 5 or 6 other breweries) pulled out. According to Mad Giant, the festival was exploiting the brewers… I don’t know much about that but it was disappointing none the less.
Anyway, we met at Agar’s instead. They have released two new beers – a Wild Berry Ale and the Tomahawk IPA. I wasn’t nuts about the Wild Berry Ale. I just don’t think I’m a fruit-beer kinda gal. But that Tomahawk is amazing.
After smashing a Tomahawk in my face and ordering another one, I met up with Shae, a regular #tastingleague member and real life Hillbrow Honey. We got chatting over how cool it was to actually meet in person and got more Tomahawk.
Shortly after that we found Ivor and Regardt from CraftNation. By then it was a party. We started chatting all things beer and craft beer in SA. We even recorded a podcast (coming soon on CraftNation‘s site). I reckon you’ll see big things coming out of all of us – loads of awesome collaboration coming soon!
We chatted to Tsikwe Molobye about Stimela Brewing – his new(ish) brewery. It’s really great to see more black owned craft breweries popping up. It’s been a little biased towards the white folk of late. And let me tell you, that guy is on the ball. His Black Diamond chocolate stout is impeccable. Ash’s favourite was his Straight Arrow amber ale. Stimela’s set up was also really cool – hay bales, barrels of beer – it was rustic and charming. Turns out, Tsikwe and I share a love of Belgian beers – and his love of them is evident in his Saison.
There was consensus that Two Okes Pilsner is just brilliant and while not to everyone’s taste, the Oktoberfest from Three Stags also got the nod. But Beer of the Day went to the Tomahawk IPA. What an achievement!
Overall the event was a blast. Mostly because of the company. There were some familiar and some new breweries on show which made it great. Can’t wait to catch up with the guys again!