Over the weekend I headed off to the Wort Hogs East Winter Festival at the Bedfordview Scouts Hall. For those of you who aren’t too familiar with Wort Hogs, its a home brewing club. Worties has a few chapters scattered across Jozi and Pretoria, and I’m part of the East Rand chapter.
The Winter Festival is a showcase for any beer style, but with a focus on winter styles like Porter, Stout or Brown Ales. This year, there were 41 beers to sample from various home brewers. Here’s a couple of observations and thoughts:
There were no bad beers at the fest. There were definitely beers that could have been aged for longer, or recipes that could do with some refinement but no beers were off or infected as far as I could tell.
The creativity of the beers was outstanding. There were a good few typical brews (and there’s nothing wrong with that!), but it seemed that most tried to push boundaries. Some of my the more interesting brews were:
- Tropical Stout – a lovely stout with hints of pineapple and coconut. Very different.
- Beetroot Saison – marvellous idea, and is better now that it’s a few months old.
- Porter with whisky, vanilla & cinnamon – this was a fantastic brew. I had quite a few of these :-p
- Sour Stout – called the “Stour”. My mind was blown with this one. I’m not sure I enjoyed it per se, but the idea was really interesting!
- Chilli Ale – called the “Ringsting”for a reason. Slightly too much on the chilli side for me, but it was a great tasting experimental brew.
- Raison infused Dubbel – two on the day, both were awesome.
- Coffee (pale) ale – imagine a beer that looks like a blonde (maybe) but tastes like espresso. It was heavy on the coffee; I’m not sure I could finish a pint but I am marvelled at the colour/taste disparity
- Orange Chocolate Stout – think those chocolate oranges that you can eat segment by segment…. yip, that’s what it was like. Stunning stuff.
- Mandarina Orange Ale – great idea to use the Mandarina Bavaria hop on an amber, rather than a pale ale or IPA.
I loved the fact that this fest was smaller and more intimate. There were still approx. 300 people (which is impressive!) but I enjoyed chatting to the brewers and having time to really enjoy myself. That being said, tasting 41 beers (and drinking half pints of quite a few of them) got me sizzled quite quickly – so apologies for the .. ahem… crappy photos.
Lastly, well done to the brewers who took home prizes: Dennis with his Leggy Blonde (People’s choice) and Rob with his Dangerous Pony Porter (that’s the whisky, vanilla & cinnamon one) took home the Secret Judges Award. Marvellous work guys!
P.S – I was a secret judge and he got my vote too – fabulous beer!
Here’s some pics 🙂