Jozi Craft Beer Fest
Let me start this off by saying that I am not a beer drinker. It’s bitter, it’s a special kind of fizzy, and it makes me sleepy. However, I can always be tempted by a Weiss. In fact, the more “sweet” it seems to a serious beer drinker, the more likely I am to enjoy it. That being said, Jozi Craft Beer Fest is still something that I look forward to. This past Saturday’s event was the second one that I attended, and it lived up to my (admittedly high) expectations.
What could be better than a day spent in the sun, lounging on the lawns of Marks Park? How about a wonderful atmosphere, well-behaved patrons, well-organised facilities, a cornucopia of food stalls, and more than 80 different types of beer on offer for those who are so inclined? In addition, plenty of beer pong tables, hopscotch grids, giant Jenga and large tic-tac-toe were provided in case anyone became a less than adequate conversationalist as the day wore on.
To give you an idea of the calibre of brews on offer: Citizen Beer’s Alliance American Amber Ale is so good that my partner has bought it instead of much-needed milk on a few occasions. Cockpit Brewhouse makes a delicious Fokker Weiss (named for the German Plane), but their Mustang American Pale Ale seems very popular with those who are in possession of a more discerning palate. Drayman’s Brewery and Distillery has an impressive repertoire of more traditional beers, including two ales and a mead, as well as the more adventurous strawberry fruit beer and a Cool Ginger beer. I enjoyed their Alstadt Weissbier a lot, though sadly could not act on their recommendation that it “should be enjoyed with a breakfast of Weisswurst on a roll”.
Which brings me to the food stalls. Craft beer is not something you enjoy with a cone of chips with dip, or a cheap, greasy boerewors roll. The organisers made an excellent decision by choosing only the finest festival foods to complement their beer offering. Artisan food is freshly-prepared on the premises by the likes of The Counter (famed for their brownies), the ethically-sourced Down to Earth Farm Feasts and Great Dane, known as Stray Dane at the Fest. Their hotdogs are reliably magnificent.
Word to the wise: What Up, Ribs? is a festival tradition of mine. There’s a very good reason for that.