Thursday, 3 December 2015

The Aegir Project, Cape Town

So last time i was here i felt like i hadn't really shared enough about the Cape Town beer scene, i did
the odd blog here and there but it just didn't feel like i'd done enough; so this time i had the idea of a series of meet the brewer blogs, which i hope might give you a flavour of what's going on down here, after all, it;s pretty exciting!

The first brewery i wanted to tell you about is one of Cape Town's newest. The Aegir Project, a micro brewery set at the red Herring Trading Post, literally minutes from the awesome Noordhoek Beach.
The Aegir Project is run by the very unassuming and mega-talented Rory Lancellas so i wanted to ask him a few questions about the brewery and very graciously he took the time to answer them...

GR : Where did the idea of starting a brewery come from?
RL : After spending the last few years working, travelling and developing my craft as a brewer, it felt like the natural progression to start my own brewery; and what better place to do that than my hometown, Cape Town, where the beer industry is just beginning to come into its own. My love of beer and the Cape seaside seemed to make starting a brewery here the obvious next step.

GR : What are the good things and the bad things about the Cape Town beer scene?
RL : Personally i feel that one of the positive and the negative aspects of the CT beer scene is the same thing in many ways, the youngness of the industry here.
Looking at the SA beer scene as a whole the average beer drinker is a lager drinker and hasn't had the opportunities to experience the complexities of beer flavours which you might find overseas, this leaves the beer scene overall slightly more under-educated about what good beer can really be.
At the same time though this is such a great opportunity for creativity to grow a vibrant and colourful beer scene with it's own identity in CT.
Stunning set of beers, recently joined by the Pale Uil

GR : Do you think the CT beer scene reflects other parts of South Africa?
RL : I don't feel like I can honestly answer this as i haven't been able to travel around the other parts of South Africa since moving back home, been so caught up building the brewery that i'm not as aware of what's happening around the rest of SA as I probably should be!

GR : If you could point to one person that inspires your brewing, who would it be?
RL : It's difficult to point to one singular person but i think there are two particular breweries that have inspired the formation of mine.
The ethos of the Aegir Project, i would say is inspired by Dogfish Head; their ability to produce large scale quantities without jeopardising or forsaking quality or creativity in their beers is something i would like to strive to.
My actual beer flavours though are inspired by Magic Rock brewery, their understanding of flavours and meticulous attention every aspect of their beers is amazing.

GR : What was the first beer you ever made? Not necessarily commercial, just the first & how did it taste?
RL : Funnily enough the first beer i ever made was on a massive commercial system in New Zealand. Prior to becoming a brewer i was a carpenter and due to a twist of fate whilst living in New Zealand i found myself looking for a change of career. The first job i got after this was with Speights Brewery, a 200HL plant on the South Island.
I became a brew technician with no previous experience(much like, yours truly, it must be said) and the first beer i ever brewed was a 200HL Gold medal ale. It tasted pretty good to be honest, i remember going down to the local pub and very proudly ordering my first creation.
Unassuming frontage for one of CT's most exciting breweries!

GR : Finally, if you could give one piece of advice to someone wanting to start a brewery, what would it be?
RL : Be 110% positive this is your passion and what you want to do because after the millionth and one times (literally) you have cleaned the same pipe or piece of equipment just to make it dirty again and then clean again, you have to have passion about the end product.
I would also recommend anyone wanting to start up their own brewery not to rush into it without gaining experience in all aspects of the complex brewing process in a well established brewery. its not all as glamorous or straightforward as it may seem. Your own brewery can require you to be highly analytical and quick thinking to be able to problem solve because the only guarantee in the brewing process is that there will be a problem that you will need to solve!

You can follow Rory and Aegir project on Twitter with  @Aegir_Project and you can find their beers in the following places...

On draught at : Beerhouse on Long St, The Red Herring, Door 221, Cape Point Vineyard and of course the brewery taproom.

In bottle at : Potluck Club, Blacksheep, Foodbarn(Noordhoek), Aces & Spades, Roeland Liquors, Liquorcity(Claremont), Tjing Tjing and again, the Aegir Project taproom. I can heartily recommend all of the beers in their range!

The range is 5 stunning beers and i urge you to try all of them! Giant IPA, Red Rye, Midnight Porter, California Steamin' and the recently added and utterly quaffable, Pale Uil.

Until next time!

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