Beer is pleasure
Perspective is a funny thing. A short drive for some mundane admin task feels like a bridge too far, yet travelling great distances for something you love is a pleasure.
I’ve done to trip from Joburg to Cape Town many times for various beer related activities and each time I ask myself whether it’s a bit crazy to travel all that way for beer. Crazy would imply that the value doesn’t match the effort or expense, and this has never been the case.
I’ve been fortunate enough to attend the past two installments of Fools and Fans and both times I have left feeling happy, rewarded and full of love for the beer scene in South Africa. Everything that is good about craft beer is on show at this festival, from an extensive variety of great beers to the characters that make this industry so special. Then there is the stunning setting, the small town charm and the sporadic outbreaks of impromptu karaoke. The festival feels intimate and not overcrowded, yet has a great celebratory buzz. The range of brewers on show is always well considered and the nature of the festival allows punters great opportunity to have a chat with the brewer and find out more about the beers. There is always a good selection of food vendors and beer alternatives to satisfy all tastes.
The great thing about a festival which requires some travelling to reach is that the weekend takes on a sense of adventure and camaraderie amongst attendants – who have all made an effort to be there and are determined to have a great time. There is also a palpable sense of relaxation which probably has a lot to do with this quiet mountain town and the feeling that no one has to leave. Although the town comes alive for this festival, feeling a lot like a big party that all your friends have attended, it doesn’t lose its relaxation factor. There is still tranquility off the main street, and plenty to keep one occupied outside of the festival.
A hugely exciting development for the 2020 edition is the first ever South African National Homebrewers Festival. Home brewing is a major driver of beer culture and craft brewing around the world. Growth, collaboration and success of home brewers creates a spill-over effect for the growth and success of brewing industry. Home brewers have long been a hot bed of brewing creativity and boundary-pushing in terms of flavour and process. I have no doubt there will be some of the most inventive and delicious beers you have ever come across at this festival, which takes place the day before the main festival and will be a great warm up. There are a number of other attractions such as a bread baking competition, a homebrew competition, a food pairing event, and a Saturday morning run for the motivated. There truly is something for everyone.
See you there
If you go to one beer festival this year, let it be Fools and Fans. So get your tickets and book your accommodation, and do whatever it takes to get yourself to Greyton for the 3rd and 4th of April. I will once again be making the trip from Joburg and, as always, I know I will be glad I did.