The Hop ‘n Vine Festival at Simons, Groot Constantia

Five things divine at the first Hop ‘n’ Vine

It was always going to be a winner – beer, wine and fabulous food all under one roof, with some live tunes sprinkled around for good measure. Hop ‘n’ Vine – The Craft Beer Project’s first large-scale event –might now be a distant, hazy memory for many of those who attended. For those who didn’t attend, here are five reasons why you’ll want to be first to clinch tickets for our next edition of beer adoration

The food

Foodies, beer connoisseurs and yes, even the winos, were wowed by the wonders of food and beer pairing at Hop ‘n’ Vine. The big hits of the day included Simon’s Restaurant’s lamb pies with Van Hunks Pumpkin Ale and the Wandering Mexican’s absurdly moreish jalapeno poppers with hoppy ales for those who like spice or a refreshing lager for those who needed to douse. The biggest winner though was managing to convince more than a couple of foodies that beer and cheese is as good of a marriage as wine and cheese…if not better.

 

The wine

There didn’t seem to be one stand as perpetually jovial as the handful of garagiste winemakers who came to the cradle of South African viniculture to show off their vintages. Customers converged in their droves to taste robust Shirazes as the winemakers sipped craft beer and danced to the reggae vibes of the Rivertones. Elsewhere it seemed the entire team from Groot Constantia was on the rota to man their stand…no doubt taking time out to taste what’s new in the world of brewing, between pouring tasters of delectable bubbly.

The devotees

As well as drinking the stuff, you could learn how to make beer thanks to some of Cape Town’s hard core beer aficionados. Beer Lab’s Lynnae Endersby nabbed a spot by the door and grabbed the attention of all who walked in with her ‘beer in a bag’ demonstration. It may have looked a little like she was boiling up some old pants on a camping stove, but in fact she proved just how easy brewing your own beer can be, completing a batch as she chatted to homebrew hopefuls throughout the day. The cheery team from Beer Guevara were also on hand to put the ‘home’ into homebrew (literally – they transported their entire lounge, armoire and all, to the festival) while giving home brewers their malt fix and declaring their ‘hoptatorship’.

The people

Food and booze can only go so far in making a festival – in the end it all comes down to the people. We were delighted to find a bunch of open-minded drinkers, with beer fans stopping to sip on wine and some staunch wine lovers swapping grape for grain, at least temporarily. The atmosphere screamed everything we love about a beer fest – laughter, a little good-natured mockery and quite often a bunch of total strangers chatting and swapping tasting notes as though they’d all arrived in the same car.

The beer

Last but far from least, the beer selection was incredible. Think back about five years, when lagers ruled the roost and South Africa offered a countrywide selection of beer styles that you could count on one hand. Suddenly there was a hall filled with robust stouts and hoppy ales, beers with their roots in Belgium, England, Germany and America, beers complimented with a dash of buchu, a pinch of cinnamon or sprinkling of coriander – and best of all, a bunch of passionate brewers intent on talking their customers through the tasting notes for every beer poured.

By Lucy Corne

Click the poster to view the festival site.

The Hop n Vine Festival