Bier­fest a chance to ‘stein’ abreast

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - PEOPLE - LUKE FOLB

DRINK­ING beer is not just about guz­zling as much of the ale as pos­si­ble but also taste, com­po­si­tion and pre­sen­ta­tion.

The eighth TOPS at SPAR Bier­fest will be in Cape Town at the end of next month with its new part­ner, mi­cro-brew­ery the Cape Brew­ing Com­pany. Beer con­nois­seurs will be able to pe­ruse GrandWest, which will be known as “Bier­varia” for the du­ra­tion of the festival.

Festival-go­ers will have to drink their beer of choice from an au­then­tic beer stein.

Orig­i­nat­ing in the 14th cen­tury, Ger­many passed laws that re­quired bev­er­age con­tain­ers to be cov­ered for san­i­tary pur­poses. Steins were made of clay, but with new tech­niques that in­cluded the rais­ing of the fir­ing tem­per­a­ture to strengthen the stoneware.

This led to drink­ing ves­sels with pewter lids that have ex­isted for 300 years.

The word “stein” may have de­rived from the Ger­man word Steinzeugkrug, mean­ing stoneware jug or tankard.

To­day, steins have dec­o­ra­tive pat­terns and in­scrip­tions on them, and col­lect­ing steins is a pop­u­lar hobby among beer en­thu­si­asts and mu­se­ums.

The TOPS at SPAR Bier­fest will fo­cus on craft beer and ac­cord­ing to beer blog­ger Lucy Corne, craft beer brew­eries dou­bled in size from 2014 to 2016 – 86 to 154 in the pe­riod.

How­ever, in the past two years the mar­ket has topped out at roughly 225 mi­cro brew­eries, with only 18 new es­tab­lish­ments open­ing in the past 12 months.

By 2022, craft beer is ex­pected to ac­count for 10% of the South African beer mar­ket.

The TOPS at SPAR Bier­fest runs from Septem­ber 28-29 at GrandWest. A VAST car­pet of flow­ers stretch­ing over the veld in splashes of yel­low, or­ange, blue and white along the West Coast her­alds the com­ing of spring.

Roads in the West Coast Na­tional Park will soon be packed with cars as lo­cal and for­eign vis­i­tors flock to see the breath­tak­ing beauty of the flow­ers.

The Cape’s July flower sea­son is char­ac­terised by the aqua­ma­rine colours of the rare Lachena­lia virid­i­flora, which blooms mostly over this pe­riod of the year.

But the real show is be­tween this and next month.

Cape Na­ture botanist Ru­pert Koop­man said: “The size and du­ra­tion of dis­plays is quite weather de­pen­dent. Proper win­ter rains can stim­u­late a good flow­er­ing year but fol­low-up rains are re­quired to main­tain and lengthen the sea­son and a warm ‘oost­ewind’ can make the daisies wilt in a day or two.”

The Cape flo­ral king­dom is recog­nised as one of the world’s bio­di­ver­sity hot spots for its di­ver­sity of en­demic and threat­ened plants. It is the small­est of the six flo­ral king­doms and is the only one that oc­curs en­tirely in one coun­try.

Koop­man de­scribed the post-fire dis­plays in fyn­bospop­u­lated ar­eas and the Renos­ter­veld as spec­tac­u­lar.

“Spring might seem early this year but this is also to do with several poor win­ters… it shows how eas­ily we for­get nat­u­ral cy­cles and don’t ac­count for their in­her­ent vari­abil­ity.”

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