My love and passion for beer has been with me for many years, the main driving factor is that I am extremely critical of myself and my drive and determination is to ensure that I make beer that is not only drinkable but would leave the desire to have another one.
My first inspiration to make beer was established and awakened when I discovered something different, wonderful and unexpected in my early student years.
The initial student freedom, involved the partaking in drinking cheap beer and fizzy flavored wine, and from early on I realized that drinking alcohol responsibly, required measure of restraint and balance.
It was about this time in the late 80’s, I discovered in a pub in Central, Port Elizabeth, and a beer on tap called Bossun’s Bitter by Mitchells Brewery. It was total admiration and love at first sip, low carbonation, and low alcohol beer with taste! It infuriated me when a pub that I went to did not have it, all these years later I now understand the complexities of making and supplying beer.
There are now over 140 different micro breweries in South Africa, 3400 in the USA alone, each making their unique brews. As a beer lover how can you not want to experience these different tastes? Not since the 1800’s and the backyard beer gardens of Europe has the world had so many different beers to choose from. All these small breweries connecting deeply to the community that they operate from. Providing home grown tourism, restaurants, accommodation, food crafts and a jolly good time out with the family.
The employment to litre ratio of micro breweries is many times higher than the global brands providing jobs in areas that are generally not related to the heavy industry of the cities.
Apart from loads of effort there are only 4 rules that I apply to making good beer. Those being, Volume control, Quality of ingredients, Temperature control and Sanitization. Although this sounds simple it covers a vast range of expertise.
Brewing Pine apple beer at boarding school was a pastime for many, getting it right was rare. The irresistible lure of trying to make too stronger beer always resulted in the disaster of burst bottles and wet socks reeking of acidic pineapple liquid.
It was at this time I was introduced to somebody else’s home pineapple brew. I experienced the delicate and refreshing, carbonated low alcohol pineapple brew that tasted absolutely amazing. This particular point is a memory that stayed with me.
Lesson # No.1 More is not always more, Volume control is vitally important to any recipe; my fellow pineapple brewer had followed the perfect recipe, resulting in a beautiful drink, with no intention or thought about the alcohol content…. Strange chap he was.