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Last month we returned to the fantastic Beerhouse on Long yet again for another Meet the Brewer event! This time the guests were Apollo, which was very exciting for us, as we had already tried and fallen in love with their beers at Taste of Cape Town earlier this year. The previous tasting was Lakeside Beerworks, which got us hooked on the Meet the Brewer events!

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Brewer Chris, originally a winemaker, spent some time working in foreign vineyards before finally returning home to brew beer. Murray, Beerhouse’s enthusiastic and knowledgeable host for these events, explained that Beerhouse is actively promoting both new and established breweries in an effort to help the beer renaissance currently exploding throughout the country. Chris strives to make a range of high quality beers that are approachable, easy drinking and packed with flavour. As one of the newest breweries around, they are already producing great beers and I’m really excited to see where they go from here! They currently brew under the license of Red Sky Breweries in Gordon’s Bay.

The talk opened with their welcome beer, the Apollo Blonde (4.5%, 18 IBUs). With a sweet-sour nose, a light taste and and a full, carbonated mouthfeel this beer is a great day drinker! The head was well formed, had good staying power and left a beautiful legacy. The beer has a slight hint of Parmesan on the taste. This would make a great breakfast beer, with a big plate of bacon on the side!

As usual, the beer tasting is free to all (book seats!) and you can opt in for the food pairing at R150. In Belgium, Blonde Ales are usually served with mussels, which sounds amazing, but Beerhouse did something different; they paired it with a Tamarind Shrimp dish. The prawns had a sweet, sharp sour flavour. The flavours matched the nose of the beer, and made it even more easy-drinking. The prawns were served on top of mac ’n cheese, which was delicious! It’s soft, creamy buttery flavours bring out the zestiness of the beer, which in turn cuts through some of the Mac and Cheese’s fattiness. The Mac and Cheese makes the flavour of the beer stronger, bringing out it’s zestiness without accentuating the carbonation on the mouthfeel – if anything it makes the beer smoother. A great combination!

Before moving on to the next beer, Murray took us through the four ingredients used in making (most) beers – malt, hops, yeast and water. Chris occasionally gave his input into how these things affect his own beer making, such as how chlorinated water results in sweeter stouts. They then did something really cool! They passed around shot glasses full of pale, crystal and roast malts, allowing the audience to see, touch and smell them. They also passed around three different hop varietals- East Coast Goldings, Sauvin and Cascade. For many people in the audience who had never seen hops before, these little pellets packed much more of a sensory punch than they were expecting. Hops have potent aromas! These events have a very special atmosphere and are casual and informative at the same time. Audience participation is encouraged, and questions of all levels of complexity are welcomed. It really is a great thing to see!

We then moved on to the Amber Ale (5%, 33 IBUs), which had a lovely, dark, opaque colour similar to caramelised sugar. It had a mild head with medium-sized bubbles. It had a very, very subtle nose, with slight hints of rye. The flavour also had some rye, with sweet, metallic base notes. This beer was paired with an ostrich tartare that had been heavily spiced with cumin and coriander seeds. It was slightly over-flavoured as the distinct flavour of ostrich meat is fairly strong already. This strong flavour paired well with the bed of sweet caramelised onions. I felt that the beer was slightly overpowered by the food, but it did succeed in bringing out the beers hoppy-bitterness, as the food brought out the “oily” acids of the beer.

Next we had their IPA (5.3%, 53 IBUs), which was paired with a curry – a traditional beer pairing if there ever was one. The nose had a lovely litchi juice flavour, which was very palatable on the first smell. It has a full mouthfeel, with tiny bubbles making for a pleasant carbonated feeling. The bitterness of the beer was well balanced with a herbaceous fynbos-like flavour and an appropriate level of maltiness. The litchi flavour wasn’t as present here, appearing mostly in the aftertaste. Chris explained that with an IPA it’s not enough to just make a bitter, hoppy beer – it should be balanced with flavours. I think he has definitely succeeded with that idea here. The curry had a deliciously tender, almost pulled pork-style lamb with a slow, mild heat to it. The dish brought out the darkness of the beer to make it stronger, which enhanced the curry’s spiciness in turn.

We finished with the Stout (4%, 32 IBUs). It had an earthy, dark chocolate nose with an espresso finish. The chocolate malt definitely makes itself known in the taste, but the primary flavour is coffee on top of a malty base. It is very easy drinking for a stout, with light carbonation and a pleasant mouthfeel that makes you want another sip. Paired with this was a cake, an ice cream and a Gruyere. The cake was dense and rich and delicious! The cake cut out the sharp acidity of the espresso flavours, almost like adding milk to coffee. The ice cream, which was creamy, tasted like chocolate cookie dough and with a balsamic aftertaste. This would be like the cookie you dip into this chocolate-coffee beer! By the way, both the cake and the ice cream were made with the stout! How cool is that? Finally, a delicious Gruyere (as previously featured with Lakeside) was also served, the sweetness of which contrasted well with the beer.

Thanks for yet another great event Beerhouse! And thanks very much to Chris and Nix from Apollo for a great Meet the Brewer! We look forward to attending the next event, which will showcase the Gallow’s Hill Brewing Company on 21 July (tickets available on Webtickets).

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And now for some seriously exciting stuff!! How to get your hands on a four pack of the Apollo Beers! I have two ‘four packs’ of Apollo Beer to giveaway courtesy of Apollo! Winners need to be living in Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Gordon’s bay, Somerset West and Noordhoek.

To win you need to tweet: “I wanna get my hands on some @ApolloBeer to #ResistTheOrdinary with @2muchloveliness. Here’s how: http://wp.me/p3uHrc-Kp”

Make sure to be following both @ApolloBeer and @2muchloveliness too.

Competition closes 18th of July 2014. Winners announced 19th of July.

DETAILS:

Beerhouse

  • Location:  223 Long Street, Cape Town
  • Opening times:Every day from 12pm til late
  • Contact details: 021 4243370
  • Website: http://www.beerhouse.co.za/

Apollo Brewing Company

  • Location: Unit 2, 9 Industria Road, Gordon’s Bay, Western Cape 7140 
  • Contact details: 081 725 0812, info@apollobeer.com 
  • Website: http://www.apollobeer.com/

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