Spoiler: you can skip the whole read and head straight to the video at the bottom.
We were fortunate enough to get ourselves onto the 3rd Annual Hop Tour to the SAB Hop Farms in George. Organized by Troye May of Hashtag Beertime, we joined 8 other Hop Heads. We had guys from Shackleton, Lakeside, Soul Barrel and Beer Country all along for the ride. And, it should be said, it was a fantastic group of guys to go with.
The drive is not something to cough at. After leaving Cape Town on Thursday morning at 07h00, we finally arrived at the farm at 13h30. The farm itself is a place where fork lifts have the right of way, rules like “no walking and talking” exist, a man called Gerrie cannot seem to retire, and most importantly, for just 3 months of the year produces vast amounts of hops.
We were promptly put through a safety briefing before our guide for the day, Gerrie, took over. He presented some of the finer details about the farm and its almost hundred year history. Gerrie is somewhat the Godfather of Hops, we were tremendously grateful he had the time to take us around.
Over the course of the afternoon we saw the vines, the harvesting, processing, bailing and, after a small amount of groveling, showed us the pelletiser (an incredibly impressive piece of machinery). By the end of all this all of us were feeling very thirsty. The reality, none of us had spent this much time talking about beer without actually drinking one. It was hard.
We got ourselves to the shops, stocked up braai meat and on no short amount of craft beer to wash it down. We bought most of Devil’s Peak Blockhouse IPA as there were not many other heavy hop options available. Troye bought Castle Lite and Troye went home with Castle Lite (sorry Troye). Our accommodation was around the corner from Rob Roy, a welcome surprise as everyone was ready to kick back after what had been an outstanding afternoon.
Thanks Troye for organizing, Nick (Soul Barrel) and Scott (Lakeside) for driving, Karl and Greg (Beer Country) for doing the braai, and to the rest of the guys for the banter. And we can’t wait to do it again in 2019. Finally, we put a little video together of the day, go ahead and give it a watch.