Saturday, January 24, 2015

"African Brew" by Lucy Corne and Ryno Reyneke

“African Brew: Exploring The Craft Of South African Beer” by Lucy Corne and Ryno Reyneke (2014 Random House Struik, South Africa, softcover, 7.5” x 9.75”, 256 pages)

Anyone who supposes that the craft beer world revolves around America, or even England or Belgium, think again. This fine book details, in depth, a wealth of African craft breweries that are bringing it, with inspiring brews outside of the corporate mainstream. Authors Corne and Reyneke go into great detail, speaking with brewmasters about their inspirations, ideas, and business. A ton of photos accompany each entry, illustrating the local flavors of South Africa’s rising beer scenes. Ever imagine an ancient ale from the Zulu nation? Hint: It's a sorghum brew that's been enjoyed for thousands of years. It's listed here, alongside tons of other brews both traditional (pilsners, stouts, india pale ales) and more unconventional (several brewmasters here state that they were inspired to make “weird” beer by watching Sam Calagione’s sadly-defunct “Brew Masters” show on cable TV!

As well, the authors provide tasting notes, food pairings, and even plenty of recipes utilizing the local beer, as provided by the pub and brewery chefs themselves. It's really a pretty comprehensive text, though I have to wonder if the rest of Africa may have other renegade brewers rallying against the multinational SABMiller corporation. Undoubtedly there are. But that's nitpicking. 

“African Brew” is a well-written and well-researched guide to the present day South African scene, and is a fascinating and fun read — damned essential for the worldly craft beer fan. This is a fine book with a shit-ton of info you won't find anywhere else (not even beeradvocate), and that's worth the price of admission alone, if you ask me.

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