Football fans grow up wanting to meet the David Beckham of their day. Computer nerds might dream of meeting Bill Gates while those who are big into 80s pop and pointy bras probably have a hankering to hang out with Madonna. I don’t want to be a deliverer of doom, but you’re probably not going to meet any of those people. But you’re a beer geek, so that shouldn’t bother you. You want to meet your beer heroes (I really feel like beeroes should be a word). And meeting beer celebrities is a little easier than scheduling after-work drinks with Madonna.
And here, dear beer nerd, is your chance to not only be in the same room as your beeroe (it’s now officially a word) but most likely, to chat over a beer with them as well. It’s called Beer Boot Camp, it’s awesome, and you should be attending.
This is the third year of Beer Boot Camp. The first year was great and it really does just keep getting better. It’s difficult to pinpoint who is the headline speaker this year, such is the calibre of those giving the talks. For those of you that don’t know much about the international beer scene, let’s just say this is like going to a day-long workshop on movie directing and finding Spielberg, Tarantino and Lucas all on the bill – then having drinks with them afterwards. OK so I might be gushing a little, but it’s pretty damn cool.
The homebrewers among you are probably more than familiar with John Palmer. The author of How to Brew is paying his second visit to South Africa (he was here for the inaugural Boot Camp in 2015) and will be speaking on one of his favourite topics – water (more interesting than you think and definitely more important). Also on his second trip is Pete Brown, beer book author extraordinaire (this man is almost as prolific as Barbara Cartland, although he tends to do a more subtle job with his eye make-up and doesn’t look so good in fuschia). He’s ending the day on a high note (pun absolutely intended) with what I imagine will be an extremely entertaining session on pairing beer with music.
Homebrewers will also be hanging on every one of Stan Hieronymus‘s words – the brewing author will be talking about hops as well as giving tips on foraging for local ingredients to spice up your brews. And also new to South Africa (or at least to Boot Camp – I am not in possession of his travel history) is Michael Ferguson, host of Beer Geeks. He’s offering a 12-point plan to running the perfect brewery. I for one will be taking copious notes, hoping to pass on some of his wisdom to future SA brewers.
To be fair though, future SA brewers really should be attending, along with current SA brewers (I always do a mental roll call of the commercial craft brewers in attendance at this sort of event and I have to admit I lose a little respect each time for the ever-absent faces). Beer Boot Camp offers a little something for all levels of beer lover – for drinkers, there’s the pairing, the networking and plenty of beer. For the homebrewer, there’s the chance to meet some of the guys that most likely taught them how to brew through their books. And for the commercial brewer, there’s insight on how to finance your brewery from local lad Stuart Thompson (Loxton Lager) plus crucial tips on setting up a lab from White Labs yeast guru, Neva Parker.
Throw in plenty of laughs with a bunch of beer folk, and plenty of beers between the informative sessions and we’re all in for a hell of a good time. And if there’s nothing in the above post that interests you, then move along – this is not the blog you’re looking for…
Beer Boot Camp takes place in Johannesburg on July 8th and in Cape Town on July 15th. Tickets are R1000, which includes lunch and beers as well as the chance to listen to all your beeroes (told you it was a word). Get your tickets now from the Beer Boot Camp website.