Dear, Deer Park

LionHeartApologies, I went a little AWOL there. Happy new year and all that. It’s not that I wasn’t drinking beer – that’d just be ridiculous – it’s just that I was busy talking about treasure, dinosaurs, the pros and cons of eye patches (pirate-style) and the origin of man. As one does. You see, I have been entertaining small boys and beer is not (yet) at the top of their to-do list.

It did, however, get me thinking about the hipsters I’m forever referring to (but have yet to encounter in as large numbers as I expected, when I agreed to this craft beer writing lark.) Thinking about the ones who’ve bred. There must be breeding hipsters, surely? Or do they morph into parents and leave hipsterdom behind them as soon as they pop out/catch a baby?

With the small fry here, there was plenty of gadding about and I paid attention – when not discussing the merits of sabre-toothed tigers and how they were obliterated by a rock flying in from outer space some years’ back – to the availability of craft beer at the places we were at. The ‘kid-friendly’ places.

In the main, these places cater for kids (think juice boxes) and, while there are obviously adult drinks, I didn’t see much in the way of anything even vaguely looking like a beer on tap. In South Africa? Shocking. That was until last week, at Deer Park Café in Vredehoek. Amidst the chaos of about a gazillion running-around children, and their parents, I had one of those moments.

You know them. Those moments when everything around you fades into a silent movie and light emanates from the thing that has caught your eye, heavenly angels singing. A beer tap, with LionHeart Lager written on it. Okay, okay, I know. A little over-dramatic, but there you have it.

I had never heard of it before and I loved it. I’mnew to the scene, forgive me. It arrived, looking all curvaceous in its glass, glimmering goldly at me in the sunlight. I gave it a sniff. I’m told that’s what I should do, so I do. I’m finding it surprisingly satisfying. There are so many different beer aromas!

I took a sip. More choirs of angels. It’s gentle, crisp, refreshing, like beer ads make beer sound. I’ve found with a lot of the craft beer that I’ve tasted, that it’s trying too hard. Not this one. I’m wondering, though, if perhaps it was due to my rather long absence, so will definitely be giving it another try. Perhaps I have finally found the beer that will distract me from Castle Lite? See my previous blogs for that confession, if you’re wondering.

Other beers offered were Forresters (on tap) and &Unions brews, by the bottle. The food’s good, kids are welcome and the restaurant is within a fully-enclosed park so the kids can run feral. There’s even a fabulous Dal East wire animal graffiti piece on the building in the park. And there were hipsters. Grown-up ones. Now I know. The grown-up version of hipsters are still in hipster gear, they’re just not quite as calm-and-collected-looking as their child-less peers. And some of them have butternut smears on their skinny jeans.

Meantime, I’m googling LionHeart Lager, made by a relatively new crew – Kings Craft Brewing Company – and will be getting in touch with them and, hopefully, one of my next blogs’ll be all about them, and my potentially new favourite beer.

Bring it on, 2014.

This was written for Land ‘n Sand.

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