My apologies to Mark and Martin from Keg King for how criminally late this post is. Thanks for putting up with me.
A little over six weeks ago, at Cape Town’s German Club, a little bit of pandemonium broke loose. Ten breweries, some small, some large, some teetering on the verge of collapse, pledged over 40 kegs of beer to everyone’s favourite portable party merchants, Keg King. Two hundred people booked off their Saturday nights and bought tickets to an all-you-can-drink pour-gåsbord: Keg King’s first ever Open Tap night.
The way it works is simple: pay R200 for a ticket, of which there are only 200, receive a branded beer mug on the night, and drink to your heart, your brain and your liver’s desire. Some acquaintances of mine fretted at the price when I asked them to come along with me, but, realistically, you’d spend about R200 on a bender at any craft-serving pub or dive in the Cape. This is just streamlining the process, creating a slick, safe occasion for beer indulgence with no queues, no fuss; just a lot of beer and a lot of happy faces.
The beer came from a variegated assembly of Southern African breweries; Darling, Jack Black, the then-recently-closed Paulaner, Mitchell’s and Camelthorn to name a few. Castle Milk Stout and cider were also provided by SAB and Eversons.
Surely the evening’s highlight, however, was the offering from Devil’s Peak. King’s Blockhouse IPA is definitely a frontrunner of the latest batch of Cape IPAs: like its new labeling, it’s equal parts regal and understated, but certainly lets loose with a well-rounded hops rush. It was a knockout in more ways than one: my only remaining memory after four pints of the stuff was a conversation in slurred French with the Congolese taxi driver on the way home.
As for the atmosphere, it was certainly more genial and lighthearted than my own, already rather high expectations. Potential disaster was avoided with a Stormers victory in the big-screen Super 15 clash against the jacaranda-hued Bulls.
And with that, the party really begun.
In the end, Keg King’s first Open Tap was well organised, well patronised and, happily, very well stocked. It was a night for two purposes, really: the first, an opportunity for the party-seeking public to become acquainted with some new beers and, secondly, getting hammered on them all. Even with the amount of people drinking such a remarkable amount of beer, nothing turned sour. On a backdrop of Bundesliga and wood panelling, new friends were made and instantly forgotten, and a new kind of party took shape.
And I thought it was smashing. Have another one soon, alright?
Cape Town is market city; Hout Bay is market town. Just down the road from the tourist trap stalls of the decades-old Lions Craft Market and yappy curio sellers by Mariners Wharf is a colourful and gratifyingly authentic indoor market.
In an old harbourside warehouse, made complete with wafts of rotting fish from nearby factories and docks, a hundred or so vendors of all kinds set up shop to form what is perhaps Hout Bay’s best shopping experience. (It’d be its best eating experience too, if it weren’t for Massimo’s.). Although seemingly only a godsend in comparison with Hout Bay’s other marina markets, the truth is that the Bay Harbour Market is one of the Western Cape’s best: chic but relaxed; free of posturing and entirely good-natured; buzzing but never uncomfortable.
Great produce is accompanied by craft beer supplied by Keg King. This past weekend featured local favourites Darling along with the ever-improving Napier and ever-present stalwarts Paulaner. Everson’s craft cider is also available across from the beer. Gourmet sandwiches and R15 hotdogs sit together comfortably ten metres away. Live music wafts over the busy stalls. The smoke from fried sausages and brewing coffee mingle easily in the seaside air.
But don’t let me spoil the surprises for you. Rather, let these photographs whet your appetite for a wonderful day out. The Bay Harbour Market is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Follow @bayharbourmkt, too.
Just watch out for the dive-bombing seagulls in the parking lot.