Nowadays with Google and social media, it's very rare to find a time when you venture somewhere not knowing what to expect. Most of us do a quick search, find reviews and look at photos so that we can pack and gear up accordingly. Although Nick and I did do a small amount of prep, we had no idea what to expect when asked to be involved in the Okavango Delta Music Festival, outside of Maun. This was the first year of the festival and neither of us had been to Botswana before. If we did have any expectations, then they were completely blown out of the water... (which was indeed full of hippos and crocs).
Our first indication that this festival would be uniquely amazing came with the directions to get there, which included that we'd only get through with a 4x4 vehicle and to watch for elephants on the sand road before arriving to the first river crossing. What! Upon arrival to the ticket office, we learned that to get to the island where the festival was we'd need a seriously jacked up bush vehicle or take a mokoro style canoe from the 'shuttle stations.' Thanks to the organisers, our kegs were already on the island so we only needed to deal with the bar that we drove up from Joburg. It takes four people to lift this bar, but after getting it loaded onto a mokoro there was only one guy who paddled it across with incredible balance.
At the moment, there's no craft beer in Maun. Hell, it's hard to even find cold beer on tap. It didn't take long for the little festie bees to discover the Drifter honey pot, and they kept coming back for more and more throughout the weekend. Our stand was right next to the stage so we boogied and poured beer for three days straight, making it an epic and exhausting weekend.
Thanks to Sophie and company for organizing and including us in this amazing festival.
We are already looking forward to coming back next year!
From a parking garage in Mason's Press to the iconic and central, Castle of Good Hope, our underground Woodstock festival has come a long way! This year, we hit a record turnout and though the queues were long, people were stoked. And while it's a hella of a headache to organise and run the show, when you look around at the brewers and the community enjoying their beers it makes you more excited to be in this crazy industry! Until next year!
Photos below and on Facebook by Marla Burger and Paul Speirs.
A HUGE thank you to:
The best way to get excited about the World Cup is to choose a team and support them all the way through. Usually you choose the country you're from but eish, both South Africa and the States were not on the cards for this year. Lucky for us, Beerhouse offered an opportunity to breweries to 'partner' with different countries during the tournament. Every time our chosen country plays, then our beer goes on tap at Beerhouse on Long and Beerhouse Fourways.
We're proud to say that Drifter is team Brazil all the way! Tonight is a big match against Belgium and our São Paulo pale ale will be on special all day for R32 a pint to get you excited about the evening! Boa sorte, Brazil!!
Based in the trendy industrial area of Port Elizabeth, sits Richmond Hill Brewing Company - a small but mighty brewery producing top quality beers like Car Park John and Two Rand Man. You may recognize the RHBC head brewer, Niall Cook, from his feature in the On Tap Magazine Young Guns section (Autumn 2018) and after spending a couple of days with him you can understand why. Niall is passionate about brewing, he's excited to grow the craft beer scene in PE and beyond.....oh and he's just a hell of a nice guy.
Collaborations are important in this industry so we can learn from each other, push our boundaries and ultimately continue to expand the craft beer market in South Africa. Initially, we were hoping to do a guava session IPA but due to a lack of guava fruit we explored other options and decided on a locally produced pineapple. Though the pineapple is subtle on the taste, this beer is still a tropical treat featuring citra, cascade, chinook, and southern star hops. It comes in at 4.5% ABV and 38 IBU.
This collab brew will only be available for a limited time from Richmond Hill and Drifter and at the upcoming Untapped Beer and Music Festival in Jozi!
Our latest special edition beer is the Water Restriction Gosé - brewed with Atlantic seawater.
Why we brewed it:
Though the ocean water is a small percentage of the Gosé, the idea is to replace some of our fresh water to continue to bring awareness about our drought and what we as a brewery are doing to save water - which is why we called it the Water Restriction Gosé. Since 2016, we have lowered our general water consumption by 46% through more efficient cleaning systems and rainwater catchments at our brewery in Woodstock. We're continuing to think ahead about what will happen when day zero comes and how we can keep cutting down on any water wastage.
Hints of coriander and floral notes with a slight salty tartness.
Refreshing with a slice of lime in your glass.
Low bitterness at 6 IBU and only 4.5% ABV
Colour is a golden apricot hue.
Available through League of Beers and Hudson's Beer of the Month.
After a year of sitting on the bottom of the Atlantic seabed, our ocean aged tripel beer officially launched!
This is the first in a series of underwater beers brewed by Drifter. The concept originated while Nick scuba dived an old shipwreck in Smitswinkel Bay off of Cape Point. Due to the darkness and cold temperatures, the Cape Peninsula waters are ideal for this unique fermentation process. The beer is a classic Belgian-style tripel with hints of banana and citrus. It can be enjoyed immediately or aged for longer.
Our Stranded Coconut beer is drifting to Milwaukee, Wisconsin!
The connection to this wonderful cheese and beer-filled state is through our Drifter sales legend, Zan, who hails from there. While studying in Milwaukee, Zan also worked at Lakefront Brewery - a microbrewery located on the Milwaukee River that is currently celebrating it's 30th year in business.
A couple of months ago, Lakefront's head brewer, Ross, got in touch with Zan because he was planning a trip to South Africa -- which is when the ideas started churning about doing a brew exchange. In early September, the famous Lakefront Eastside Dark Lager was brewed at Drifter and then two weeks later Nick flew to Milwaukee to brew our Stranded Coconut Ale on their system.
We're excited for our South African folk to taste the delicious Eastside Dark Lager in November's League of Beers mixed case!
We became involved in the SheLovesBeer initiative in July of 2016 as momentum started gaining across the country to highlight and uplift not only women in the beer industry, but also women who just like a damn tasty cold brew...and not one that's marketed in pink labelling or with fruity flavours! Towards the end of last year, Drifter was asked if they'd be on board to partner with an inspiring woman in South Africa to collaborate and make a limited edition beer in celebration of International Woman's Day in March. We of course said hell yeah - and so did four other breweries, including Agar's Brewery, Apollo Brewing Co., Mad Giant Brewery and Copperlake Brewery.
It was complete random chance that Tasha came into our lives right as we were looking at who to partner with. We were out to dinner with two friends visiting from California who Nick hadn't seen in years. They were talking about their trip and this amazing person they had met who took them out surfing and exploring. The conversations that evening kept circling back to Tasha and Nick and I knew this was the person we needed on board for the project. Once we anchored down some time with her, she was super stoked to get involved.
Tasha grew up in Durban and started surfing at a young age. As she got older she entered the pro-surfing world. The ocean has always been her passion, even as she pursued other career options (band manager, events coordinator). Now she’s at a point where she can be a bit of an entrepreneur and choose the opportunities that inspire and motivate her. Currently her focus is on being the coach for the South African Adaptive Surf Team. We feel lucky and honoured to be partnering with a woman making incredible waves in this country.
About The Stoked Saison:
Tasha came up with the idea to use litchis in the beer as she grew up as a kid snacking on them at the beach after a surf. We decided a dry, crisp saison style beer would work well with the litchi flavour.
About the Collectables Series:
SheLovesBeer partnered with Havas Johannesburg, to craft the beautiful labels, showcasing each of the muses and brews, telling their stories and showing that ordinary women have the power to be their own heroes and change the conversation around women and beer.
R2 of each bottle sale is going towards a bursary aimed to create opportunities for women in the beer industry. The Collectables will be launched in March 2017 in partnership with Beerhouse and League of Beers, where you can purchase these beautiful beers!
Many many many thanks to Eve Pennington and Hayley Slater for the inspiration and dedication to making this project come to life!
There's no doubt about it - breweries use a LOT of water. Not only is beer obviously made from water, but the entire process from the malt and hop crop cultivation to brewing and cleaning to manufacturing and delivery -- all suck up a hell of a lot of H2O. Cape Town is currently in a drought and everyone needs to cut back on their usage and wastage as much as possible. Check out Johnny Miller's drone video of Theewaterskloof Dam for a dismal overview of what we are talking about.
At Drifter, here is what we are currently doing to save water and areas where we can improve.
What we are doing already:
How we can improve:
Read the full manual on Water and Waste Water Sustainability by the Brewers Association to see what you can implement into your microbrewery today!
Put a bunch of brewers and brew friends in one remote town for the weekend and this the result...
Even though the main reason for us trekking out to Wilderness was to partake in the Thousand Sensations Festival, it also happened to be Nick's birthday weekend so overall, it was quite a celebration. We were able to spend a pretty epic three days with our fellow brewers and friends - dressing up, dancing in the kitchen of our Air BnB, hiking along abandoned railroad tracks, kayaking up to a waterfall, and of course tasting different beers and drinking a lot of them...and then nursing our hangovers.
We met wonderful folks at the festival and it was great seeing the microbreweries who are representing the Garden Route, such as Sedgefield Brewery. We look forward to further expansion of Drifter out that direction and hopefully more frequent trips to that beautiful part of South Africa as well!