They say it takes a lot of beer to make a good wine, but looking through the pages of Lucy Corne’s new beer book ‘Beer Safari,’ there are so many ex-wine folk, trained winemakers, winery owners now getting involved in making beer that I’d be tempted to reverse that statement and put beer in pride of place. Obviously Lucy – my arch-rival when it comes to our Grape vs Grain presentations and my good friend and drinking buddy when it doesn’t – would say (gloatingly) that beer takes pride of place wherever you find it and in her quest to prove her point, she’s certainly managed to find it all over.
This is the second book Lucy has dedicated to beer. To research she travelled the country meeting all the newest, hippest and most exciting brewers and breweries in SA. The idea is to take a tour around a province, a city or a coastline, hopping from one hop-head to the next and garnering signatures of brewers as you tick them off your bucket list – a very effective and addictive little rosette is provided on each page for this purpose. She gives details about the beers, the food, the opening hours, nearby accommodation, brewery tours etc etc as well as all the contact details and maps you could need.
And then she tells the stories behind the beer. I said of her last book that you would be as likely to find it in the motivational shelves of a book store as you would in the food and drink section, and the same applies to this book. It’s really a bit of a love story if truth be told. And that love, shared by people from all walks of life and all kinds of backgrounds, is a love of beer. Stories of people who have given up everything to follow a dream, to radically change their lives around and enter the world of craft beer – there are some truly inspirational tales in this book and Lucy met some incredible, generous and kind people on her journey around SA.
If you don’t know much about beer, the book is peppered with snippets of information on styles and jargon and there are lots of handy ‘Top 5’ lists throughout. It’s more of a ‘dipping in and out’ book than a ‘sit down for two hours solid’ affair – clearly you’re meant to pause from time to time to sample the beers and then come back for more – which makes it the perfect companion to a lazy holiday. It’s available in book stores now for R275 – spookily-enough it’s just in time for the Christmas holidays (how’s that for a coincidence?). And it really is a fab present for anyone who loves the odd tipple. Take it from a wino (who says this through gritted teeth) – this beer lark is cool, fun, tasty and more-ish and there’s no-one better to guide you through it than Lucy and her ‘Beer Safari’.
- Cathy Marston