Up until May 2013 I was strictly a cider drinker. Hunters Gold, Hunters Dry, maybe some Redds. That was it.
Beer was, in my opinion, bitter and un-refreshing.
Then we went to Europe. Myself and 4 friends visited Hungary, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and England over the course of 3 weeks.
Germany and Belgium, in particular, were eye-opening. Beer was not this one-dimensional yellow liquid there, it differed from city to city and, in Belgium, there were hundreds of completely varied options (often within the same bar or supermarket).
On our return, I visited Banana Jam, possibly the greatest craft beer pub in South Africa. The beer there was, again, completely different to the commercial stuff that’s generally drunk in South Africa. Driving home, I remember thinking that this new habit could get expensive (a pint of craft generally goes for about R25-R30, compared to R10-R20 for commercial beers).
“I know”, I thought to myself, “I’ll brew my own, that’ll save money!”
Thus began my journey into home brewing, a journey which has not saved me money, at all. But it has given me a new hobby, a creative outlet, some great afternoons with friends, and some pretty decent beer, if I do say so myself.
In the past 6 months, I’ve also gone to beer festivals, entered home brewing competitions, searched the far, dark corners of bottle stores for craft beer, and sought out breweries whilst on holiday.
I’ll no doubt write more about all the things I’ve mentioned here, but I just wanted to set the scene for the rest of the blog.
Oh, and the ironic thing is that, having progressed through the “gateway beers”, I now find myself quite enjoying commercial lagers, and unable to drink more than a few sips of Hunters (as it’s just too sweet…)