It seems as if the craft beer scene is about to explode in South Africa. There is definitely more and more interest in small scale and artisanal beer offerings and people are more willing to try new beer styles.
For way too long the South African beer drinker had to be content with stock standard – and in many cases rather bland – lagers. Personally I prefer ales. American & English ales are my favourite, Belgian ales come second. Belgian beers are great, but so far they are simply not my favourite…
Talking of Belgian beers… The Belgians are the masters of adding weird and wonderful ingredients to beer. This is a skill they have honed over centuries thanks to the fact that they were not limited by the silly Reinheitsgebot. (As most people know the law had in fact very little to do with the purity or quality of beer. It was in fact a method of ensuring food security and a steady tax income for the government)
Lately it seems as if some brewers and marketers are trying to push concept that craft beer is synonymous with way-out, weird & wacky beers with exorbitantly complex recipes. I am not against the weird and wonderful, but it must be clear that this is only a small piece of the craft beer pie.
I can appreciate the absurdities of some recipes (liquorice root, buchu, tea, oak aged, soured, etc.) for certain types of beer, and also the necessity of craft brewers to create these beers in order to inspire other brewers to step outside the comfort zone of their regular brewing. However, is it not so niche that it’s simply not worth the effort to promote beers with this type of complexity?
A more complex beer does not necessarily make for a better beer, or make it more palatable.
Why does craft beer have to be so complex?
Is it a vanity contest for some brewers?
My stance is: Simplify! Simplify!
Make simple beer, but make it well…