Alfonzo Rodriguez

Alfonzo Rodriguez

Alfonzo Rodriguez

Alfonzo Rodriguez is the reconstructed remnants of a rare case of spontaneous combustion that occurred during secret experiments on an unknown human subject. It is equally rare that reconstitution of this former subject should have taken place, but it is said that it was through the magical powers of music that Alfonzo came into existence. Alfonzo loves music. He is not bothered by such silly things as discriminating between genres of music, just as long as the music is good, then Alfonzo is happy to be alive. Alfonzo roams in the imagination and his writing is an open invitation for anyone who wants to join him there.

Friday, 29 June 2018 09:50

Review: Capital Craft Beer Fest 2018

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The mission for this year's Capital Craft Beerfest was to take the economic dictum, “there's no such thing as a free lunch”, and modify it to see if there is such a thing as a free beer. Before our mission started we decided to buy one first, as a sacrifice to the beer gods, should there be any, and as a gesture of thanks to the brewers for making the beer. Sadly the sacrificial beer was the least tasty one of the day. Maybe it was a bad batch, but craft beer does have the tendency to sometimes miss the mark on the scale of pleasurable tastes. And so our mission to find free beer began with the urgency to taste something else from any of the 34 other micro-breweries that were there this year.

Crowd 1 photo credit Ella Roux

But the mission was over pretty soon since we had backstage passes which gave us the perk of getting topped up, gratis, at the Hillbilly Ho-Down stage. The beer was good, I kept going back for more and eventually just got stuck around the tap for the rest of the day catching up with old friends and talking shit about music 'n' stuff. It was the perfect day for a Beerfest in the windless city. Much more cannot be said about my experience of the event, except that as I walked out I bumped into another old mate who immediately topped up my empty beer glass with beer from his cousin's brewery, Zwakala. As it turns out Zwakala had also been supplying the beer backstage, so apologies must be extended to the 33 other breweries for not tasting any of their beers. The next day I awoke hangover free and in retrospect, I attribute this to the Limpopo mountain water with which Zwakala brew their beers.

Short of having much of anything to write about the Beerfest, except that I had a good time (thanks), I went to the Capital Craft headquarters in Menlo Park in the week thereafter to refresh my memory and to taste the Zwakala again. I sat down in the smoking section where the brothers Van der Schyff happened to be busy working, I ordered my beer and later asked if I could get some of their impressions regarding this year's Beerfest. They've become well known as events organisers since they started out with the legendary Hotbox house parties and became the organisers and business partners at Park Acoustics and Capital Craft. This year was the sixth Capital Craft Beer Festival, and it's been the third year in a row that it was hosted at the Pretoria National Botanical Gardens.

Crowd 2 photo credit Ella Roux

Willem tells me he was surprised at how smooth this year's event went. For the past couple of years they've been working with the same team of events staff who've by now become familiar with the event setup, so communicating and dealing with issues on the fly has become much easier. Overall the brewers also reported better sales this year compared to last year which had a similar turnout of festival attendees. Willem attributes it to this year's layout in which they tried to get a better placement by spreading out the more popular brewers between the different stage areas. This improved the flow between the clusters of people so the smaller brewers also got a better chance at wetting the whistles of thirsty clientele.

We talked some more about the Beerfest and how it seems to have become an event on the social calendar around which people from all over, plan to meet up again in the following year. The festival is very close to the Gautrain station at Hatfield and they've been running a free bus service for the past two years from the station to the festival, which makes it easier for people from further out, like Jo'burg, to cross the Jukskei and come and enjoy the Beerfest for the day. This year Capital Craft also teamed up with the taxi service Taxify, whom Henk says he prefers über that other well-known taxi service because with Taxify it's not only new users being rewarded when you sign up but also current users who keep getting rewarded. Unfortunately, I only saw the very generous promo from Taxify on the event flyer after the Beerfest, otherwise, I could've had a free taxi ride too. Either way, the location is quite central and there are enough transport services so that the Beerfest makes for a relaxed day of keeping your mug topped with as many brews as you'd like, but without the need of later becoming a hazard behind the wheel on the way home.

Beer Garden photo credit Ella Roux

It's a nice outing, even for young families who can send their kids to go play in the Kids Area while mom and dad take a stroll in the pleasant scenery and have momentary tastes of freedom as they sip their beers. With four stages there's a widespread of live music and something for everyone, from the line-up of artists to the rugby match shown on the big screen which ends off the day nicely, especially if the Bokke win, says Henk. Willem quips that, fortunately, it doesn't affect sales whether the Bokke win or lose because by that time most stands have closed up shop.

The brothers are chuffed with how the Beerfest has grown into its own and that it has become an event that offers a unique experience. Our interview was about to end so I asked them if they had any favourite breweries that stood out this year. For Henk, Standeaven is an obvious choice, but he also likes Zwakala for the overall atmosphere surrounding the brand and their beer. Willem says his favourite was Devil's Peak and that he mostly hung around at their stand because that's also where he got free beer…

Not too long ago there was an old music venue in Pretoria that had a sign behind the bar which read: “Free Beer Tomorrow”. When you go back the next day the sign still says “Free Beer Tomorrow”, so tomorrow never arrives and neither does the free beer. It is a parable about free beer which is saying pretty much the same thing as the economists say about lunch. Nothing can be free. But then sometimes you arrive at a Beerfest and in its festive spirit you do get a beer for free. In the end, it doesn't really matter, as long as there's beer to drink because as the saying goes: a beer a day keeps the doctor away.

Photographs supplied by: Ella Roux

Review By: A.R.

View more images in the gallery by Ella Roux

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Friday, 08 June 2018 05:04

Interview with Leaky Tap Brewery

We spoke to Jonathan from Leaky Tap Brewery ahead of Capital Craft Beer Festival 2018 about their take on all things beer. Make sure to swing by their stall at the beer fest on 16 June to have a taste from their tap:

You are a local brewery representing Pretoria, are there any other brewers from Pretoria whose beer you love to drink? Or do you prefer to drink only your own beer?

We drink all of Pretoria's local breweries beers and ours, of course, it's always fun to have beers with Hazeldean and Friars Habit and share ideas with them.

In recent years the craft/artisanal industry has picked up quite a bit. Do you think there are any particular reasons for this and do you think it will continue to grow and become bigger?

I think people are enjoying a different style of beers and not just the normal variety that was always available. If you look at the trends in America and Europe's Craft Beer industry, then we are just getting started!

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Why do you love beer?

We love it because its an opportunity to create something from only a few ingredients and thrive in the challenge to get the balances of those ingredients correct.

You only get to choose two styles of beer, which two styles of beer do you prefer and which two would you not even consider?

We love IPA’s and Pale Ales. We have not considered Wheat styled beers or Cream Ale style.

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You claim to be the first brewery in Pretoria who brewed a Golden Ale. What is a Golden Ale and what distinguishes it from other Ales?

The Golden Ale is a great balanced Ale, matching the sweetness of the Malt and the Bitterness/fruity notes of the hops perfectly, making it an easy drinker for any occasion. It's a great style to introduce non-craft drinkers to Craft Beer.

Since when have you been brewing beer and what made you decide to start a brewing company? Is it your full-time occupation, or something you do on the side?

Between Friso and myself (Jonathan), we have been brewing for the last 9 Years. We decided to start Leaky Tap 3 years ago, we took on this venture as we are passionate about our beers and would love to see them drunk around the world. Along with the brewing, we also opened a Craft bar called Craft Exchange, next to Thirst@28 East, last year June, which is definitely keeping us busy full time.

Have you travelled to other countries where you've experienced their local brews? Which has been the most memorable for you?

America has a craft industry where each town have their local breweries and the people support them in a big way. This was a great way to travel around and taste loads of great beers all around the States but the most Memorable Brewery for me (Jonathan) was Jopen brewery in the city Haarlem, Netherlands. The Brewery is in an old Church with huge stained glass windows, its amazing thing to see, great beer too.

Do you pasteurise your beer, or do you keep your beer unpasteurised? Is there a significant difference in taste?

We do not pasteurise our beer. We do find the beer to be better unpasteurised.

What is the most crucial element or aspect of brewing beer?

Consistency and having fun doing what you love.

Do you have any favourite food recipes that can be made with your beer?

We currently have a cheese sauce made at our bar from our Red Ant Irish Red Ale. Delicious with burgers!

A.R.

Tuesday, 05 June 2018 13:10

Interview With We Are Charlie

We recently had the opportunity to send in a few questions to We are Charlie. Our man, Alfonzo got in some interesting questions, speaking of what inspires their writing process and which bands motivate their style.

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You'll be playing at Capital Craft Beer Festival this year. Who handles their beer the best in the band, and who will you keep away from the bar before your show?

At the point, all of us should stay away from the bar. We’ve developed a healthy drinking concern and just one taste sends us spiralling.

If each of you had to take a wild guess, without asking Google, how many bubbles do you think the average Lager beer gives off per minute? In other words, what is the BPM (Bubbles Per Minute) of an average Lager?

Well, Alfonzo, that’s a great question. I’d estimate at about 190 BPM? It’s a good punk song.

Are you craft-beer drinkers? Which styles of beer does each of you prefer, and do you have a favourite local brewery whose beer you enjoy drinking the most?

We dabble with the craft beer menu at bars but we’ll drink whatever’s on tap. This might sound silly but the Soweto Gold Cherry Ale will take us through the weekend.

Give us a bit of background on your latest release, 'Hey Dead Bird'. And what kind of bird are you referring to?

'Hey Dead Bird'. is mainly a way for us to step away from our previous sound an is used as a tool to help us transition into a new sound. It’s a little raw and was also a test run at recording live, which went great. It’s meaning is a little darker and I think it was a dead dove that we saw when the name was first said.

How do you write songs, who writes the lyrics and the melodies, and what inspires you to write songs?

Lately, anguish, stress and disappointment inspire me (us). You’re never really proud of the love song lyrics, but you are proud of the lyrics that feel like you’ve said too much and make you feel a little embarrassed. I think Izaac Brock said that.

We Are Charlie PR 2

Your releases come with interesting cover designs, who normally designs them, or do you get different designers to design them?

For the most part, Rudolph does the designs, Dylan has done one, but we’ve worked with a lot of amazing designers. If they’re weird we’ll find them.

Your sound is reminiscent of local acts like Desmond and the Tutus, are there any new acts coming up who inspire you to take it to the next level?

Runaway Nuns and Julia Robert. Have you heard of the Arctic Monkeys?

What's next for, We Are Charlie, any big tours planned up ahead, some new releases?

We’re writing now. We’ve actually been writing since last year and will probably only be done at the end of this year, but it is exciting. We’ll tour on and off. SA is so small you don’t really need to put together a big tour. You can play all the major cities and still be able to fly home for the 8 o’clock movie.

If you could open for any band, irrespective of whether they still perform or not, who would it be?

Tough one Alfonzo. The Cure, probably.

A.R.

Trappist style beers are known for their high alcohol content and that they are brewed by monks who live in Trappist monasteries. Strict criteria apply to carry the Trappist label. The beer must have been brewed within a Trappist monastery by or under the supervision of the monks. The brewery must be of secondary importance to the monastery, adhere to the traditions of monastic life and can't be run as a business for profit. Proceeds from sales go to the upkeep of the monasteries and the living expenses of the monks, with the remainder being donated to charity.

La Trappe beers have been brewed by the Dutch brewery, De Koenigshoeven, since 1884. They've been a regular exhibitor at Capital Craft Beer Fest and will be there again this year. Make sure to visit their stall and have a taste of their traditionally crafted beers:

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You've showcased your beers at Capital Craft Beer Festival before, what has your experiences been like at the festival and what stands out for you about the festival?

We`ve been involved with Capital beer festival for the last 4 years and every year we have seen the festival grow as well in size as popularity. In our experience, this festival has the best of everything, great live bands, beautiful setting and of course a brilliant selection of local and International beers!

Currently, there are only 11 monasteries in the world who make authentic Trappist beers. Beer is an ancient beverage which dates back to 3 500 BC, in our times when we get the impression that anyone can brew a beer, what is the value in maintaining a tradition dating back hundreds of years when it comes to the brewing of beer?

Our beers are brewed with patience, passion and traditional craftsmanship according to the secret recipes of the Trappists since the 1800`s. In addition, we only use natural ingredients in our brewing process: hop, barley yeast and water from our own spring. Maintaining these values and using pure ingredients from the day that the brewery was founded reflects the taste and consistency of these unique Ales.

Most people are familiar with your two award-winning beers, the Blonde and Dubbel, as well as the Tripel and Quadrupel, but tell us more about your Isid'or.

Brother Isidorus Laaber was the first brewmaster of the Onze Lieve Vrouw of Koningshoeven Abbey. In 1884, he began brewing Trappist beer, laying the foundation for the beer that we brew to this day. A wise decision for which many beer lovers are grateful to him. That makes brother Isidorus the founding father of La Trappe. In 2009, on occasion of the 125th anniversary of the Trappist brewery, brother Isidorus was honoured with his own beer: La Trappe Isid’or. The beer was received so well that it has been included in our standard collection.

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Do you find that the South African market has a preference for one of your beers over the others? Which beers will you bring to the festival?

The South African market seems to be very fond of La Trappe Blond which is the most accessible of the range with a slight malty but fruity flavour. At 6,5% ABV, this is also the first logical introduction to the Trappist beers. La Trappe Dubbel (7% ABV) in its turn seems to be more popular in the Western Cape. This is a dark beer with a full malty, caramel-sweet taste. The flagship, La Trappe Quadrupel is the heaviest ale and comes in at 10% ABV. It has an amber colour with a full, warming and intensive taste.

All 3 will be available on tap at our stand but with a limited offering of La Trappe Quadrupel. So those who want to taste this special beer will have to be early!

The Monks that brew the beer only get to drink one beer each Sunday. La Trappe represents a measured and conscientious approach to enjoying beer. What is your serving suggestion for a beer enthusiast who wants to have the optimal experience and enjoyment of a La Trappe beer?

Our Ales are there to be enjoyed at ease and preferably in the typical La Trappe Goblet (glass). The shape and size of the glass allow savouring the aromas and taste throughout.

At the festival, this is of course not possible and we gladly make an exception to share these unique beers. For the ones who would like to try this at the comfort of their home, we will be selling the La Trappe Gift packs which include 4 x different style bottles of La Trappe Ales and 1 x La Trappe Goblet glass.

Thursday, 17 May 2018 08:28

#interview: Riot in a Tea Cup?

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Capital Craft Beerfest 2018 is happening on 16 June at the Pretoria Botanical Gardens. Seeing as Pretoria is a highly unlikely destination to be visited by Capetonians, we sent some questions down to Riot Brewery in Woodstock to check what they're all about and if they're ready for the Pretoria stinkoog:

HOWZIT!!! So you okes are fokken loud according to your web site, what can we expect from you at Capital Craft Beerfest this year?

“Gees” comes standard with Riot Beer! We focus on small batch, high quality specialty beer. And when I say specialty I mean mainly hoppy ass beers like IPA’s, DIPA’s, Pale Ales and of course we will bring our festival treat... HOPSHOTS!! Also gonna bring up a keg or two of our annual Winter Special called “Wakker” that we do as a colab with Truth coffee… for those early starters at the festival.

You make an alcoholic Ice Tea, but why?

Its fooken lekker that’s why! It was an organic process that kicked off with the Riot staff about 2 years ago, we made a few batches for a piss up we were having and it stuck… So we decided to make a go of it and release it commercially this year!

 

RIOT Peach Front Single

Tell us more about your Valve beer, what inspired the brew, bru?

It takes its name from Jimi Hendrix’s old school valve amp he used to play! We wanted to create a proper styled US West Coast IPA, not a watered down hash job with not enough hops in it…12 test brews later, a shit ton of study (ie: drinking IPA’s in California) and about x4 national brewing awards has meant we are the go to IPA for true IPA drinkers in SA… we are stoked!

RIOT is an ambassador of individualism, would you say that the individual character of your beer reflects something in the character of the people who enjoy your beer? What makes your beer unique and who are the kind of people who typically enjoy your beer?

We definitely speak to niche sub cultures. Growing up in Cape Town in the 90’s, skating and surfing was our fix. We eventually extended that to traveling the world snowboarding and watching punk bands! That said, ultimately we speak to beer drinkers who appreciate world class beer, this is the aim always for us, highest quality beer we can possibly produce. We don’t watch cost prices or worry about how good our balance sheet looks. Don't get me wrong, we know how to manage those too, but this foray into beer for us is all about the beer, not how much money we can make, we see this naturally occurring as a function of good beer.

Your Session Lager comes with a warning, is it good to drink for breakfast?

Depends if you haven't stopped drinking yet from the night before, lol… Good fix of carbs…Breakfast of champions!!

All right then, seems like there'll be some lekker stuff to check out from these ou's at the beerfest. In the mean time you can score 2 FREE TICKETS by sharing this interview on your timeline. Or you can go ahead so long and buy your tickets at your local Capital Craft in Menlopark or Centurion. Online tickets are available at Plankton.

Monday, 09 April 2018 07:11

Mieliesop 2018

DZ Deathrays

It's Thursday and torrential rain is falling as we head East on the N4 over the highveld towards Mpumalanga. This is the perfect weather for staying at home, but we're on our way to Mieliepop. In the back of my mind, I keep thinking that maybe weather apps are like fake news and that it won't rain for the next two days at the festival.

But it did. It was my first time at Mieliepop. It's quite a pretty place. I was told that the weather was perfect last year, which I can believe because the festival is organised during a time in which the weather shifts from summer to autumn when the skies are normally crisp blue with a combination of wispy and big billowing clouds. Not so in 2018.

The drive in the rain was mildly intense but luckily the pilot of the VW Polo knew to keep footing the throttle in the mud, so we made it through without getting stuck. After all the rain the dirt road going into the festival grounds got so bad on Friday that no one could go out or come in for a while. Apparently, some of the clientele with their rabid minds accustomed to the perfections of air-conditioned environments got hydrophobic and attempted an escape from the festival but got stuck and blocked the road. Even the Road Scraper doing repairs half slid off the road and got stuck on the hill. Bands couldn't get into the festival to play their shows. It was chaos. Hellcats did the honours of playing an unscheduled, extra show to fill in for acts such as Femi Koya and his band who eventually only got on stage to play their set at around 01:00 a.m. It was a party.

On Saturday the sun was shining and people chilled out, happy for some sun, but seemingly confused by its return after two days in the rain. The festival has big soft green lawns, it's situated in a valley with a lake stretching out to plantations on the opposite shore. You can swim in it as well as take a ride on the Ferry. I missed the Ferry but enjoyed casually strolling around between the different stages and bars. The pool bar area had a pleasant Jurrasic vibe with a waterfall and people raving in a cave. For a moment I thought I had a conversation with Jeff Goldblum about the biochemical correlation between the EDM music and the pelvic movements of the cave people. No no, wait, that must've been the tryptamine. What day was it again?

Somewhere in all the fogginess of memories washed away, not by rain, I can remember DZ Deathrays from Australia came up on the main stage no holds barred, like Crocodile Dundee, and played a great set. And so did most of the local acts whose performances were generally at a much higher level than I can remember from other festivals years ago. With 60 acts performing throughout the weekend, there was a good spread of musical styles, from Bombshelter Beast with their Afro-Balkan music, to Easy Freak with their R&B electro-pop, to electro-DJ's and rock bands. Sticking out particularly in my hazy memory was Radio123 who got me hooked on their 'Mandela Pop' and their song 'Thando' which was on repeat in my head for a couple of days after their show.

Bombshelter Beast

It was also really great to see Boo! who were playing a rare show and celebrating 21 years of Monki Punk. Their sound is reminiscent of a bygone era of great South African rock. As if it's been cryogenically frozen, Boo! has remained completely unique in their sound and don't seem to have been afflicted by the allures of making generic music for more likes. Although only performing as a two-piece Guerilla Punk outfit, between Chris Chameleon's vocal extravaganzas and his syncopated bass playing, he and Rivar, the drummer, even vocalised the absent Ampie Omo's brass-lines noot-vir-Noot. It was a great performance, and for me, one of the highlights of the music at the festival.

On Sunday morning the roads were in functional order again as the sun had been shining since the day before. Feeling kind of relieved to be heading back home I realised the rain could've made things much worse had the festival not been, organised as well as it was. Maybe for some, it was a little too intense with all the rain, but hey… it's a festival, not a Day Spa. Debauchery ought to be the order of the day, so what is a bit of rain on top of it? Kudos to the organisers and the musicians, and generally all the good festival folk for making Mieliepop 2018 a kak lekke vibe.

More About Alfonzo Rodriguez

Mieliepop Gallery - Photos by Henry Engelbrecht

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Sunday, 12 April 2015 05:59

Easter in a Demon's Cave - Witchfest

“Hey tough guys”, says the beggar at the traffic light. He doesn't get a second chance to gain our sympathy, my friend is negotiating with his brother to buy a new video game. We were on our way to The Bassline in Newtown, Johannesburg where they were hosting Witchfest, a first of its kind metal festival ever held in Africa. A couple of weeks earlier the organisers had to find a new venue for the third time, since, as it turns out, the most evil bands performing throughout the world were coming to blow our brains away… and to probably feed on our remains thereafter. Fortunately the move to Newtown seems to have scared concerned citizens from picketing for the salvation of the festival goers. Despite all bureaucratic rumblings, metalheads from all over the country set up camp on Bassline's front lawn, ready to headbang, mosh and party really fuckin' hard to the sonic assault of the kind of metal music that only reaffirms Metallica's boy-band status.

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Photo By PRÄSS KRÄST

At the festival there were many more tough guys, some with big holes in their earlobes, shaven heads, long hair, beards, black clothes and tattoos (although that's not as tough any more). Every now and again a female would stand out in the sea of black t-shirts. Maybe her name was Lilith. The vibe was pretty chilled with everyone happily drinking beer as the air grew thick in anticipation of Friday Night's main acts. One couldn't have asked for a better venue to see these bands play their various brands of technical death, black and whatever other sub-genre of metal. Some guy next to me in the crowd apparently got so giddy as we were waiting for Decapitated that he started singing “Satan” as if he expected approval from his boys' school choir master. No bra, f*ck off. The real shit was about to begin. And it did, from the first beat of Decapitated's set a vortex sucked the crowd into a moshpit. A massive surrounding wall of sound was throwing bodies left, right, up and down like a raging bull was obliterating the crowd. Up on the stage these guys were playing tight riffs at 3 billion notes per second, and you could make out that they were somehow grooving at this speed. Spiraling ever further it was inevitable that one would arrive at a cave in the bottom of the pit. Many folk have feared this cave for the demonic growls that came from it. But here we were, in the cave, and with all the lights flashing one could see a man making these sounds.

Saturday was no different, bodies were still being mauled. What remained of the carnage after Aborted was devoured by Belphegor. Finally, it was time for Cannibal Corpse. Half-minced I saw what I thought were the rotating blades of a blender, but it was Corpsegrinder headbanging. It was all over for me, although the festival continued on Sunday. Let's hope we can do this again next year.

 serpenths-Bass-Belphegor

Photo By PRÄSS KRÄST

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