Organised by the Craft Beer Project, the event showcased 15 of the country’s top microbreweries. Just some of the breweries involved: Jack Black, Boston Breweries, Triggerfish, Darling Brewery, Devil’s Peak and Cockpit Brewhouse.
Tickets went at R120 a pop, which gave you access, a food and beer pairing chart, a complimentary glass and four coupons for beer tastings. You had to pay for any extra tastings, but at only R5, this wasn’t expensive at all.
It was an awfully rainy day, so we were relieved that the whole event was indoors. Most of the stalls inside belonged to the breweries, along with a few food and wine stalls.
The event was really well organised. Huge boards on the wall showed which beers were paired with certain dishes, and everything ran really smoothly. There was also some live entertainment in the main beer hall.
Whether you are a seasoned beer drinker or a complete noob, this event was perfect for trying out the best craft beer in a relaxed environment. Our first stop was at Cockpit Brewhouse.
I admit it freely: I’m a beer noob. I’ve tried craft beer before and enjoyed it, but had never really gone further than that. Luckily, the gent running Cockpit’s stall was very friendly and let us try a little bit of everything. My favourite was the Mustang American Pale Ale.
|Me, with an apprehensive-looking face sprouting out of my shoulder.|
The tasting portions were generous, so we wandered around and checked out the other stalls. There was some interesting food on sale: from pork belly in ciabatta to savoury waffles. There was also a stall showing parts of the beer-brewing process, and more ambitious tasters could buy their own beer-making kit.
Our next beer tasting happened at the Triggerfish stall. Kim opted for their Ocean Potion Pale Ale, while I had the Sweet Lips Blonde Ale. Funnily enough, Kim’s beer was sweeter than mine, but both were of the easy-drinking variety.
We heard that Three Skulls had a beer involving coriander, which made Kim very excited. I neglected to note down the name of this lovely, crisp beer. Anyone? Clearly I was getting into the swing of things.
At this point, we got some food into our bellies. I had a beef slider, while Kim opted for the pork belly ciabatta. Both were delicious.
We got another recommendation: try Van Hunks Pumpkin Ale at Boston Breweries. And so we did. As someone else chose to describe it: “It’s like Christmas in a cup!” This was my favourite brew of the day.
Our last tasting was from Darling Brewery. We both tried the Native Ale, which was pretty tasty.
The Hop ‘n Vine Festival gave us a wonderful afternoon out and introduced us to some of the finest craft beer in South Africa. I look forward to trying many more craft beers in the future.