I know I’m going to be in trouble for this one. And I fully recognise that I will be ridiculed for being horrendously uncool (again), but someone has got to say it, and it looks like no-one else
will dare to can be bothered.
Craft beer is overrated. MASSIVELY overrated.
What started out as a fight back against the big breweries and produced some really lovely beers, became a huge movement – fuelled by hipsters and society’s sad need to be seen being achingly trendy – is now past its sell by date. We were out at the Devil’s Peak Brewery last night, and while I’m certainly not suggesting that they are any more at fault than anyone else (and while we had a wonderful evening) the beer was crapft.
The food was really good. Feisty chilli poppers and excellent (if a little small) burgers.
But when people – beer drinking men – are choosing to leave their beer because it tastes so awful, rather than finish it before ordering something else, well, you’ve got a problem.
The issue here for me (and let me be clear: others agreed last night), is that the craft beer market is now saturated. It has been for a while. And in order to find a niche in a very busy space, crapft beer people have all gone a bit bonkers. They are brewing with weird hops from Bolivia, Moldova and the Antarctic. They are adding wild and wonderful ingredients to their brews in order to make them different: oranges, cloves, honey, wood from wine barrels, port, jack russells, mangoes – the list goes on. And yes, it makes your beer taste different, it makes it taste wholly individual.
But it also makes it taste like kak. The object can like to be defeated.
Let me be very clear here, crapft brewers. There is absolutely no need for any further forays into experimentation.
Our longing for something simple like a Black Label or (perish the thought) a Castle Lite draught, expressed while we were in the HQ – the flagship establishment – of one of the biggest names in crapft brewing in the country clearly indicates that this has all gone too far now and actually got a bit silly.
And you can argue that this falls into Uber Cash and Halal Hot Cross Bun territory. It only affects me if I allow it to. I can simply continue with my mainstream beer drinking and allow others to
endure enjoy the latest crapft beer. And yes, you’re right. I’m just disappointed that something that started so well and with good intentions has clearly gone right off the rails.
Am I concerned that crapft beer will push SAB and the like out of the SA market? No. Because – much like the Noakes diet, owning a sodding beagle, and gluten intolerance – crapft beer is merely a fad for the rich to enjoy.
It’s just that if the current trends continue, they’re going to have to put on a bigger and bigger act to pretend that they actually are enjoying it.
ADDENDUM: The Tall Accountant (for he was also present last evening) has requested that I add that the prices for the crapft beer last night were overly reasonable, being of the order of R22 for a half measure of crapft beer and somewhere around R32 for a full 500ml measure of crapft beer. This I am happy to do.