Crapft beer

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.

Move to rename Table Mountain

“In a move that will be welcomed by many people who have been praying about this issue for years”, a group of prominent Capetonian furniture makers have met with the Western Cape Provincial Geographical Names Committee (WCPGNC) on Friday May 30, and proposed the renaming of the Table Mountain.

Table Mountain is clearly not a good name for the mountain which, together with Devil’s Peak, towers above Cape Town. Nor has it always been the name chosen for the geological feature. A map dated somewhere around the 1660s indicates that the peak was known as The Flat Rock, while in the 1700s, it was known by the Afrikaner population as Die Aambeeld or The Anvil. Because it looks a bit like an anvil, see?

Tony Balding of the South Africa Association of Cabinet Makers (SAACM) stated:

Obviously, Table Mountain is poor choice of name for the Mountain. It only shares one feature with a table: the flat top. There are no legs, which make up at least half the interesting bits of a table, and it’s giving our customers a false impression of what to they’re going to get when they order a table from one of our members. Many of them fully expect their commissioned project to be made of sandstone on a partially eroded granite basement, whereas we tend to work in wood or metal.
In addition, many of our customers expect our products to last for hundreds of millions of years and have a cable car from the floor to the top of their table. And don’t even get me started on the whole size issue.
It’s frankly creating unrealistic expectations and all because of the utterly terrible moniker given to it by some unimaginative and quite possibly short-sighted Dutchman.
It needs a new name and we won’t stop until it gets one.

This is merely the formalisation of a campaign which has been going on for many years. Previously, carpenters have climbed Table Mountain carrying a selection of exquisitely-crafted dining chairs and walnut sideboards in an effort to publicise their campaign and seek guidance from whoever would listen. There is a record of a letter being sent to President Thabo Mbeki in 2001, requesting a name change, but rumour has it that he refused to acknowledge the plea as a means of getting back at the local cabinetmaking community after he trapped his finger in a wardrobe in the mid-90s.

If the SAACM campaign does manage to gain some degree of traction, however, it will also give hope to the Christian community of Cape Town who, having rather too much spare time on their hands after 1994, given that they were no longer having to help prop up Apartheid, decided that Devil’s Peak was a bit of a rubbish name for… er… Devil’s Peak.

Many prominent members of their community have now got together and sidelined some of the money which could have been used to feed hungry children in order to petition the Provincial Government into changing the name of the kilometre high rock which has, for centuries, apparently cursed the inhabitants of the Mother City.

A spokeswoman for the group said:

The thing is that Capetonians don’t know just how great life could be if we renamed Devil’s Peak and removed the demonic possession which has hung over the city since the mountain was named. If we can get it renamed to Dove’s Peak, then everything would be instantly sorted out: there would be no more poverty, no more crime, no more meltdowns from Helen Zille on Twitter – even the South Easter wouldn’t ruin our springtime any more. If we can get it done before next April, then One Direction might even cancel their concert.
It will just be rainbows and sunshine and unicorns for all once this pointy lump is rid of its demonic name.

When it was pointed out that Johannesburg suffered many of the same problems as Cape Town, yet doesn’t have a mountain named after Beelzebub on its doorstep, the spokeswoman responded:

Yes, but that is a city of sin. God is omnipotent, yes, but I think we need to understand that even He has limits.

Posted in response this this “news” story, detailing how “a group of prominent Cape Town Christians” want to change the name of Devil’s Peak.

Because that’s absolutely the worst thing facing the Cape Town community at the moment, obviously.

Morning Mountain

I pulled over, whipped my phone out, pointed it and shot this morning just opposite where I took my tumble. Because reaching the back of the traffic queue on Rhodes Drive was nowhere near as important as getting a Gratuitous Thursday Morning Mountain Shot.

Yes, people elsewhere in the world, this is my view on the way into work.

Can anyone out there compete?

Photography question

You know how it is. You spend all evening relaxing at home with only a sick wife, a chicken madras and the Arctic Monkeys for company (more on them soon) and then it (not the wife, this time) suddenly strikes you that you haven’t blogged today.
And today is one of those days when I’d actually rather not, but I feel I probably should anyway. So, with more lengthy posts planned for tomorrow and (possibly) the weekend, it seems entirely reasonable to post a quota photo and a question.

Herewith the photo:

And herewith the question:

Should I be taking photos in 16:9 format, rather than the 4:3 I’m using at the moment?

In my opinion, landscape photos – of which I take lots – look much better in 16:9, but portrait photos – of which I take relatively few – look awful. So is it worth the  horrific implications on some photos for the mild improvement on the majority of the stuff I take?

Answers on a postcard (2.5:1.3), please. Or, better still, as a comment below, which can be formatted as you wish.

Real Mountain

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: while Table Mountain is the iconic Cape Town landmark, Devils Peak is by far the most charismatic of the Cape Town mountains.

It looks like a proper mountain whichever side you view it from – it’s got a pointy top and the view from up there must be spectacular. I’ve never actually been up there, but all that will change when I actually go up there at some point in the future.

This was the view from my car at the junction of Milner and Klipfontein on the way home this evening.