For some time now, I’ve wanted to know the difference between ale, lager and dark beer. So Wednesday we had a tour of a local brewery, and now I know. Yay. This was no ordinary brewery; it was built on a local farm, 30 minutes outside East London, that also raises sheep and cattle on a huge property.
I love a good success story that goes ‘man loses construction job and turns hobby into a business.’ Chris originally supplied the Barefoot Cafe in Chintsa with 50 Liters, an entire batch, of his home brew, and when that sold out in a day, he knew he had a market.
What we particularly like about this beer is that they follow the German Purity Law, written in 1516, which specifies that the beer be made with only 3 ingredients: Barley malt, hops and water. No additives, although they do add their own yeast. And they use only rainwater collected off of the corrugated tin roof to provide the yeast with the only mineral it must have: zinc.
Their hops are from the Southern Cape or the US, and the barely (which has it’s own enzymes) is malted, which is a process of soaking the barely until it sprouts and then cooking it to lock in the proteins and sugars that are created. A dark roast is used for the darker beers.
So here’s what I found out. Ale (special yeast) ferments fast at a low temperature for 14 days, while lager (different yeast) goes for 21 days and at a higher temperature. And because Ale has no residual flavors because of the fast fermentation, it can be served at a lower temperature (even room temperature like they do in England) and taste good, while lager is served colder to mask any of those flavors. Ale is milder than the stronger lager. The darker beer has more depth of flavor because of the roasted malted barley used.
When the tour and lunch were over, we just wanted to hang around in the fresh air and open space, and I got a chance to photograph some of the local birds.
The Brown-hooded Kingfisher was beautiful as was this colorful Black-collared Barbet, which I’ve photographed before but not so close. This bird of prey was circling overhead for the longest time. I finally figured out that it is a Palm-nut Vulture morphing from the juvenile to the adult. My bird book says it’s a ‘rare visitor and local resident.’ I feel privileged. On our way leisurely back to East London, a couple of other birds of prey caught my eye.
This Jackal Buzzard (different from what we know as a buzzard) is probably the female, because when I got too close, she flew across the road to what looks like a juvenile, who stayed only a short while and flew away.
As we turned around to leave, we waved to someone on his porch and acknowledged, “This is paradise.” We exchanged greetings and info on where we were from – San Diego. He had lived in Poway! “Do you want to come in.” Sure, and we spent a delightful 3-4 hours with Steve and Mary, who was baking ginger cookies, and swapped stories about our world travels. This is the view from their house.
Another full and rewarding day.