When you think of the blues, you think about hardship, adversity and remorse. You get fired, you get the blues. Your girlfriend leaves you, you get the blues. Your beer is empty, you get the blues.
Blues music tends to deal with issues surrounding personal difficulties, however, the music itself moves far beyond self-pity. Blues music encompasses sentiments of overwhelming the odds, speaking your feelings, and simply embracing the moment.
Blues music has its roots back in 19th Century African-American history, originating from the songs the slaves used to sing on the plantations. Much of the inspiration evolved from African chants which the workers used to sing while toiling on the cotton and vegetable fields. It was only in the 1930s and ‘40s that blues began to spread, taking much inspiration from jazz. Blues music is about letting your hair down and breathing pure emotion. It can take you from tears to joy and back again effortlessly, communicating genuine emotion like no other music form.
Beer and blues music have a lot common. During the USA alcohol prohibition, both were consumed in the hidden corners of dusty bars, out of sight form the wandering eye. As a matter of fact, much blues from the time even uses prohibition in their lyrics, discussing the “prohibition blues”. Within a year of the repeal of prohibition, over 750 breweries opened across USA at around the same time that the growth of blues truly began to bloom.
It then only makes sense that our Beerhouse Blues & Brews night should be sponsored by Apollo Brewing Company. Apollo is run by a team of passionate and creative South Africans who have quickly got their name onto the tongues of many a beer-drinker. Named after the Greek god of light, sun, life and, amongst others, music, Apollo draws inspiration from these characteristics in and around Cape Town to produce real, flavourful craft beer of exceptional quality.
Our Blues & Brews evening will feature live blues music from the soulful Mean Black Mamba, a duo comprised of Guy Collins and James van Minnen. These two produce honest and expressive music that moves to evoke emotion.
“Raw foot stomping roots music that grooves your body and soul. Words of humour and hope sliding between writhing riffs and the insistent thump of a cowhide drum. This is afro swamp gospel, this is blues n’ roll. Gritty and hard hitting, the music winds you off the floor and twists you to your feet.”
This truly sums up what Mean Black Mamba is all about and really encompasses the passion that blues music carries. To see this live, visit Beerhouse on Long Street for a no-cover charge evening of blues and beer in both quantity and quality.
This month’s “Meet The Brewer”event was with Chris Spurdens of Apollo Brewing Company on Monday 19th May. A brand new brewer that resists the ordinary. Chris, an ex wine maker who has turned to the dark side, has only been commercially brewing for a few months but is making waves with the quality of his brew.
After a quick intro from the Beer Whisperer, Chris told us how his home brewing adventure has turned into possibly one of the most rewarding vocations. Chris is a brewer and a dam fine one too. His Brewing Company, Apollo, is inspired by the sun, life, it was formed by friends on a mission to produce real, flavourful craft beer of exceptional quality. What started as an enthusiastic hobby turned into a passion. He elaborated on his experience of starting up a brewery, the art of making fine beer and why beer is the world’s greatest beverage.
We paired his four core beers with food that would explore the flavour profile in his beers. This time we really nailed it with a spiced ostrich tartare,onion marmalade, micro greens & coriander oil. This fresh dish was almost a food deconstruction of his Amber Ale with the dryness of the coriander oil and sweetness of the marmalade playing nicely to the sweet malty base and hop profile of his Amber. Chef and Chris did not stop there with pairing his Blonde with a Tamarind Shrimp Orzo Mac & cheese. A classic match up of curry and India Pale Ale was expressed with a Tandoori shoulder of lamb on sweet potato & coconut puree with mint raita. Not finished yet, Chef Roy and Chris brought the curtains down with a Chocolate Stout Cake with Stout Ice cream paired with? You guest it, Apollo Stout. The beer’s bitter hop profile layered on a sweet and malt based made this pairing an absolute triumph. As the curtains came down, Chef Roy threw in an encore, a 12 month aged Gruyère was his final volley.
While our Meet the Brewers fans enjoyed the food and beer treats , Chris and the Beer Whisper spoke briefly about the brewing process and how beer’s four key ingredients can be manipulated in almost unlimited ways to create such diversity in beer styles. Audience interaction created great informative and humorous dialogue between Brewer and the beer lovers.
A big thank you to Chris and Chef Roy for putting an amazing show and really challenging the taste buds and exciting the senses.
Look out for next Meet The Brewers Event with Gallows Hill Brewing Co on Monday 23rd June. Hop heads don’t miss this one – these guys are really making tremendous hop forward beers. As always you can get pre-booked food pairing tickets via Webtickets and the beer tasting is free. Stay Thirsty/ Stay Curious.