For those who missed out on the Durbanville Beer Fest held at Hillcrest Wine Estate this past Saturday – you missed out on the party of the year and what is probably the best beer festival we’ve been to. The weather was perfect for a relaxed day lounging on the grass listening to some excellent music with some very fine beers to choose from.
We’d been expecting the Cape Doctor to blow the head off every beer we poured, but in the quarry at Hillcrest we were pretty well sheltered. Sunscreen flowed, shade brought strangers together and altogether not one complaint was heard from any of the beautiful crowd.
We’d arrived with what I thought was going to be far too much stock – in fact I told the organisers that I had at least enough beer for 5 festivals, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. We were completely sold out 3 hours before the end of the festival. And I know that the other breweries did just as well. Our bar looked stunning, especially when festival goers stepped up to our stand and saw the variety of beers we had on offer.
Our Erdinger range (Germany) included the world renowned Weissbier, the beautiful dark bock beer Dunkel, the crystal clear Kristall and for the designated drivers on the day, the Non-alcoholic. Everyone knows the Erdinger Weissbier, but I surprised so many people with the beautifully smooth Valentins Premium Weissbier (Germany) as an alternative.
The Robson’s range, from Shongweni Brewery outside Durban did very well, and especially the West Coast Ale, a dark Californian style lager. But there was something for everyone with the East Coast Ale, the Durban Pale Ale and our very own Wheat Beer.
My personal favourites from Belgium, the ‘monster in a bottle’ Duvel (8.5%) & Liefmans Fruit Beer, delighted. I warned so many ladies that if they had 1 Liefmans they would spend the rest of the day looking longingly toward our stand from where ever they were sitting in the quarry, and they flocked back to us all day. It’s so refreshing and light, especially when served with a couple of ice blocks to really chill it.
Duvel is not for sissies, but there weren’t many there this weekend. We did educate people on how to best enjoy the Duvel as most South Africans are very happy sipping their beers straight from the bottle, “It’s already in a glass!” But part of the enjoyment is seeing how lively this beer is in the glass, and being able to fully appreciate it’s huge, creamy head, and so we poured and poured to give our clients maximum satisfaction.
We only had a limited supply of an excellent Abbey Beer gift pack of Maredsous which included a lovely branded glass and 3 beers – the Blonde, the Brown & the Triple – and sold those out in the first 2 hours of the event. It’s a pity that we didn’t have more to sell for consumption at the festival because I would’ve loved to have witnessed the appreciation this classic Belgian beer evokes in people, but we’ll make a plan for the future.
So many of our customers where thrilled to see Cobra (India), Singha (Thailand) & Tiger beers (Singapore) as these beers are not only very popular internationally, but they seem to bring back so many good memories for people who have travelled to those countries and enjoyed them there. We got caught up in so many memory flash-backs, and I’m sure will be part of future ones after such a successful event.
It was a beer festival, but we just had to bring some other beautiful products along that complimented the premium nature of our beer range. We sold lovely miniature sets of The Wild Geese Irish Whiskey collection where each of the 50ml bottles (3) stack up on each other. A must if you have your own bar at home. And then we also supplied the very sexy Naked Lemon Limoncello & Primitiv Vodka from Jorgensen’s Distillery in Wellington.
Roger Jorgensen joined us and we set up a little tasting area for him where he was able to give lots of information about the process of distilling South Africa’s only handcrafted organic made vodka, as well as the difference in quality between limoncello made using extracts or organic ingredients. Organic wins hands-down every time, and Roger is an expert. I’ll be posting about how he creates his range of products a t a later stage because it truly deserves a post of its own.
The last range, as if it wasn’t enough already, was Rockstar Energy Drink – the world’s 3rd largest selling energy drink after Red Bull and Monster.
We had the Mango Orange Passion Fruit, the Tropical Guava, the Energy Cola, all in 500ml cans, and the Rockstar original in a 250ml can. But the biggest seller, and most appreciated was the Rockstar Recovery. It’s the so called ‘hang-over refresher’ with added electrolytes, high caffeine, B-vitamins, guarana & ginseng all wrapped up with a lemonade flavour. This one worked pretty well with ice and a tot of Primitiv Vodka which is almost like looking after the hang-over you’re going to have before it even happens!
I think that the biggest difference between the Durbanville Beer Festival and the Cape Town Festival of Beer (2-4 December) was the quality of the music. Although DBF didn’t have as much variety of beer stands, it doesn’t matter what you are drinking if the ambient sound hurts where it is supposed to soothe.
I will be honest that I have no idea which bands were playing as we were far too busy to notice, but they played great music. From rock to blues to great acoustic guitar, people parked themselves on the grass in front of the stage and soaked it all in.
Hats off to organisers Jackie, and Mike from Bloemendal Wine Estate – you guys got it together in record time and created an event that we would love to attend again and again in future!
P.S. – we wanted to shout out a big thank you to Mario Maulicino from Camp & Climb Paarden Island for going out of his way to ensure we were covered when our gazebo arrived late from Johannesburg. He did a home delivery of an alternative, and personally delivered our gazebo on Sunday afternoon – it’s always great to meet someone who is willing to go the extra mile for a client!