We’ll drink to this; Beer Safari is the latest book by Lucy Corne and is a journey through the microbreweries of South Africa.
We recently spent a day with her learning the ins-and-outs of pairing beer and food in Liquid Bread; and can attest to her brew-smarts. We love the new book, here's a taste of what to expect:
*This exceprt from Beer Safari by Lucy Corne (Struik Lifestyle) schools readers on how to taste beer.
Sniff, sip, repeat
Like wine, beer can be appreciated, admired, sniffed and savoured. Here’s a basic guide to tasting beer, for those occasions when you want to give your pint a little extra love:
First check out the colour, something that’s created by the malts used. Is your beer topped with a frothy or foamy head? Although some styles sport less than others, all beer should have some foam. Look for carbonation (but remember that some styles areless bubbly than others) and for clarity. Don’t worry about a little haze – many craft beers are unfiltered.
Swirling the glass vigorously is not ideal as it can affect the carbonation and head retention. A slight swirl, however, isn’t going to hurt anyone. Look for malt, hop and yeast characteristics when you inhale.
Swishing beer around your mouth, as you might with wine, is not the done thing as you’ll kill the carbonation. If you want the full-on tasting experience, though, try to let the beer cover your entire tongue. Look for both flavour – is it sweet, dry, bitter, sour? – and mouthfeel, which could be light and fizzy, velvety, heavy or creamy.
Beer tasters do not spit, since the aftertaste, or finish, is an important part of beer tasting – at least, that’s the excuse given! Hops tend to impart a palate-cleansing, bitter finish. A sweet finish could be from malt or from added sugars, as with Belgian beers.
‘A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it’s better to be thoroughly sure.’ So goes the oft- quoted Czech proverb. Enjoy your beer, hopefully noticing new aromas and flavours with every sip – just remember to drink responsibly!
The book is laid out geographically to assist the reader in planning his or her own beer safari. Look out for the 'Big Five Pints' – the author’s pick of the very best South African craft beers. There is also space for beer aficionados to scribble their own tasting notes alongside each brewery’s beer menu. Beer Safari is the only South African beer book whose author has, in person, visited every one of the 100-plus breweries to get the brewers’ stories, photograph their often quirky brewing setups and of course, to taste their beers. Peppered between the inspiring tales of passionate brewers, are snippets of essential beer knowledge – ideal for the 'beerginner' – alongside checklists that will appeal to newbie beer drinkers and veterans alike. Whether readers are looking for family-friendly beery weekends away, the cutest brewpubs with the finest views or a list of where to go for South Africa’s hoppiest ales, Beer Safari is a comprehensive and user-friendly guide.