There really is no place to be this weekend other than Hamilton’s Rugby Club, next to the Cape Town Stadium for the 7th annual Cape Town Festival of Beer. This event is a meeting place of local and international micro-brewers, a place to sample the best of beer.
On Thursday I had the privilege to hang out with the brewers and organisers at Hamilton’s Rugby Club for the launch of the festival, the Brewer’s Braai. I asked Martin Tucker, one of the co-founders of the festival what made them start a festival of craft beer… his reply was that it was an excuse to their wives for the four friends to drink beer for 3 days! Since they all have full-time demanding jobs as well as organising this event, I think this is well-deserved. However, when one considers the magnitude of this event, I would be very surprised if they get a chance to party with the festival goers.
I caught up with micro-brewery owner Barry O’Donoghue, of Kommetjie-based Atlantic Storm Brewery, to chat about what we can expect from them at the #CTFOB. Atlantic Storm launched commercially just under a year ago, and this year marks their debut at the festival. Barry happens to live in the same neighbourhood as me, Harfield Village, which makes me even more excited to see Atlantic Storm Brewery at this year’s Cape Town Festival of Beer.
1. Tell me a little bit more about the journey which has lead to Atlantic Storm Brewery being at the CTFOB?
Our Brewmaster, Cameron Doubell first began brewing in 2008. The idea of taking things to a commercial level was born out of the success achieved at the prestigious annual SouthYeaster Homebrewers Festival held in February of every year. In 2013 Cameron was awarded the Rogue Brewer award while in 2014 our Atlantic Storm “Cape Doctor” Pale Ale placed in the top 3 beers for the People’s Choice awards at the festival. Throughout this journey we have been driven by a desire and determination to brew exciting and high quality beers and to spread the love of craft beer.
2. What has inspired the beers you’ve produced?
While our Brewmaster Cameron is the creative energy behind Atlantic Storm’s Beers, our beers are inspired by the Cape of Storms, the cold and wild Atlantic and most of all, a desire to brew beers that stand out from the crowd. We believe in brewing high quality beers, with only the best ingredients, with the customer top of mind. We want our beers to push the envelope but most importantly to be enjoyed.
3. It’s been an exciting year for Atlantic Brewery, what are some of your highlights?
It has been some year indeed… we launched commercially in December 2014 and have gone from strength to strength. Demand for our beers has been growing steadily as has our following which is illustrated by the over 3100 likes on Facebook. One of our main highlights was having our Red Coat English IPA place in the top 5 beers at the City Craft Beer Project festival in March of this year as well as participating in the 2015 Harfield Village Carnival (a personal highlight as a Harfield Village resident myself). In the Harfield Village area we are very happy to say that we are available on tap at Banana Jam Café as well as for purchase in bottles at Liquor City in Palmyra Road. We hope to be on the menu of more Harfield Village restaurants soon.
4. Your beers are known for their unique flavours, what can we expect to taste at the CTFOB?
We will have 5 beers available at this year’s Cape Town Festival of Beer. Together with our two ever popular flagship beers – The Cape Doctor Pale Ale and The Red Coat English IPA we are very excited to be offering 3 exciting new beers. The beers are unique in that they are using flavour combinations and techniques that are a first in South Africa. Our 3 new beers are Black Tempest – a Coffee Milk Stout brewed with Tribe Coffee Roasters espresso beans and a delicious combination of roasted malts; The English Rose – a Rosewater infused English style IPA with a alluring Turkish delight aroma and taste offset by a crisp bitterness and Captain Jack’s Pirate Ale – a Rum infused Pale Ale with rum, orange and vanilla notes balance by a crisp bitterness. We are sure that these new beers will be very popular amongst festival goers.
5. In your opinion, what life lesson can be learned from micro-brewing?
Nothing in life comes without hard work. Failure to pay attention to even the smallest detail can lead to problems. The reality is that, what you put in, you get out… you can’t expect great results if you don’t put in the effort and spend what is but… we see this in terms of using only the highest quality ingredients and the hard work and long hours that goes into making every brew a success. There are no shortcuts in brewing a great beer and the same goes with success in life in general.
6. What advice can you give us when tasting beer?
Tasting beer is very different to tasting wine. For one, unlike in wine tasting, it is considered a sin to spit out beer. It is also important to taste beer in a glass as opposed to drinking directly from the bottle. This is important because much of the beer tasting experience also involves the aroma of the beer and when drinking directly from a bottle you are effectively cutting your nose out of the tasting experience. Remember, every individual’s palette is slightly different and no one can tell you what beer you should or should not like. Lastly, there is more to beer than bland lagers… don’t be afraid to go out there and try new beers!
7. How can visitors to the CTFOB give you some love on social media?
We love engaging with beer lovers on social media. Visitors can tweet us on Twitter or like us on Facebook. We would love to be tagged in any pics and / or tweets or have visitors upload pics on to our Facebook page.