A couple of weeks ago, our class had the privilege of tasting beers from Devil’s Peak. What an exciting and different experience it was, compared to wine tasting, but just as informative and fun. We tasted a flight of six beers, which were all ales. Being half German from my fathers’ side, this tasting was definitely up my alley.  I regularly enjoy a draught on a hot summer’s day or a stout on a cold winter’s day.

I relish the feeling of taking that first sip and immediately relaxing, sometimes even feeling slightly sleepy. This was exactly the case two Fridays ago, where upon finishing our very last test of our lives, we were looking forward to our much deserved beer tasting. Every sip was savoured and enjoyed with much vigour. I particularly enjoyed the Indian Pale Ale, which had pronounced litchi notes on the palate and a slightly bitter aftertaste. It felt like for the first time this semester that we as a class finally could let out a sigh of relief. It’s funny how this beer tasting made everyone feel like all was right with the world, even the people not inclined to drink beer. I have encountered this situation numerous times particularly after deciding to do the Viticulture and Oenology course at the university.

When I first worked at Groot Constantia in 2010, my knowledge of wine was very little, but due to my upbringing, beer had always been at the forefront of every event or celebration, particularly when Formula One or rugby was playing on television. I encountered this ritual amongst winemakers in the Constantia Valley as well; most preferred a beer when relaxation was in order. I associate beer with this concept of relaxation, the happy sleepy feeling before falling into a deep slumber. I believe that beer can solve all problems and with the right environment may change the world. I say grab a pint and let’s cheers to happy memories, good times and good vibrations …