Bierfest a chance to ‘stein’ abreast
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.”