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Booze, hooch, devil’s brew…the alcohol quiz is on!

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Beer QuizHere is a 5 minute time killer alcohol quiz…both interesting and worth knowing. We of course got 10/10, beat that!


Written by Pierre

October 15, 2009 at 12:00 pm

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Oktoberfest: Liquid Gold

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As the taps are already open and liquid gold is flowing for the third day now, we think you aught to know about the wonderful Oktoberfest.

The Oktoberfest is a famous annual Bavarian Beer Festival held in Munich, Germany. With 6.2 million visitors in 2007, it is considered the largest festival in the world. Most famous at this festival, as the name suggest, is the beer. People come from all over the world to drink great quality German beers. And as any beer lover will know, Bavaria has some of the best beers in the world. Strong brewing regulations (on for example products used as ingredients) ensures the highest quality beers as a result. Only water, hops and barley are be used to brew Bavarian beer. Several tents are set up, each associated with a specific brewery (To see the different tents visit As one can expect, more that 6 million liters of beer will be drunk this year. Also famous at the festival are the waitresses known for their charm. Other activities are also available and include eating of traditional foods (like sauges, cheeses and specially prepared meats), parades, competitions, fun fairs, open air concerts and many more minor activities.

This year is the 176th Munich Oktoberfest, running from the 19th of September to the 4th of October 2009. And listen to this: entry to the Oktoberfest is FREE. Price-wise, a “Mass” (one liter beer) will cost between €8,10 and €8,60, and beer will be sold from 10.00 to 22.30 on weekdays, and from 9.00 to 22.30 on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

Definitely an item worth writing in your “things to do before I die list”. This is one fest one cannot in all one’s right mind regret attending, and seems promising of great memories! If nothing else, go buy some souvenirs to say “been there, done that” (there is anything from a ‘Neckerchief’ to mugs to dirndl-shirts to paper flags to hats and so much more.)

Other interesting comments on the event:

  • “This year, Oktoberfest visitors have also been asked to wash their hands frequently and take precautions to prevent the spread of the swine flu, which has already infected thousands of Germans.
  • Inflation continues to hit the Oktoberfest, with the price of a traditional litre mug of beer rising by up by 30 cents to between €8.10 and €8.60 and the press warned not to film drunken bare-chested revelers.
  • The warning by the organisers has angered the Bavarian journalists’ union, which has alleged “pre-censorship.””

Worth noting:

  • Even though Bavaria has one of the strictess smoking (or is that non-smoking) laws in Europe, smoking in festival tents will be allowed.
  • brought out iPhone applications to make the fest visit easier, more comfy and more fun.

So grab your jacket, get your plane ticket and go have a “lekker” cold beer!! We wish all attending a happy and joyful time.

As per usual we urge our beer-loving readers to enjoy the drink responsibly and to keep the dangers associated with it in mind.


Official site:


Oktoberfest Program:

Oktoberfest survival guide:

iPhone Apps for Oktoberfest:


Read how Beer is made: Beer’s Big Bang

Written by Pierre

September 23, 2009 at 12:36 am

The power of Beer in the right hands

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“I have always believed that what brings us together is stronger than what pulls us apart.” – Obama

Obama enjoying a beerIn July this year beer was the common agent of three very different people: a president, a cop and a professor. In this context it was used as an agent over which to discuss racial matters, but it soon evoked comments that ranged anything from “We agreed to move forward,” to critical journalist saying it is “the first round of an eye-opening dialogue on race that allows President Barack Obama to get back to selling his health care plan to sceptical Americans.”

Any political analyst, or as that matter anyone with basic political knowledge knows that beer in the hands of a president goes much further than that. As beer is traditionally associated with the working class (hence the Joe Six-pack vs. ‘wine’ Democrats analogy) it leaves an open question: Can beer bridge the gap between the arguable divide within the Democratic Party itself? Can beer go as far as influencing voters and thus enforcing Obama’s already strong base. Only time will tell…

For more info read:,9171,1715282,00.html

Written by Pierre

September 23, 2009 at 12:28 am

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For more pictures from thebeercap, visit our Picasa album.



Written by techran

August 14, 2009 at 12:44 am

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Beer Pages – Castle Lager

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Charles Glass



Brewed by

South African Breweries Limited



Alcohol content


Fermentation process

Bottom fermented


Over 40 countries.


Grand Champion Bottled Lager at the Brewing Industry International Awards at Burton-upon-Trent, England 1999. Gold award at the Australian International Brewing Awards in 2000.

Written by techran

July 11, 2009 at 10:00 am

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Shebeen-seeing for tourists

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A How-to guide

beer-googles-01What nicer way to fill your Saturday afternoons than with a visit to the shebeen for a few drinks with friends, or simply for the experience and the opportunity to see new places.  The following is rough guidelines of ‘do’s and don’ts’ and tips on enjoying the shebeen culture. Since every experience is unique and full of surprises it is impossible to have it all perfectly planned.

Welcome to the heart of a township – the shebeen.

There are two ways to enjoy this cultural place:

There is the commercial way, which is comfy when you have a tight travel schedule, and is an easy way of getting around.  Several tour companies take people on tours to shebeens, usually the ones located in tourist areas like Soweto with a rich history.  This is also a safe way to experience shebeens, whether you’re local or from another country.  But as it is commercial, it sometimes lacks the true spirit of these places – since they are now full of tourists, and not locals.

1. The inside story of shebeens, and what to expect:

Shebeens used to be places where alcohol was sold illegally under the previous (Apartheid) government.  This has changed in the meantime, although you might still encounter the illegal sale of alcohol.  It is the pubs and grubs and grills of the townships; A place where friends meet to enjoy a drink and good company and unwind after a hard week’s work. Shebeens are usually small buildings, such as one big room with a counter on the one side, pool table(s), and a TV in one corner…and always speakers.  It’s not hard to spot a shebeen, since there is a lot of activity around it over weekends, and some shebeens have name boards or beer adverts on their building walls, others paint the name of the shebeen on the building.  Outside you’ll find “kratte” (crates) on a heap or in a circle on which the people sit. If you’re lucky they might have wooden tables.  Some shebeens have a braai area, where coals will be ready to braai on, and meat can be bought at the counter (don’t bring your own meat).  The barman serves behind the counter from behind bars for safety reasons.  Shebeens sell beer, and all the ones we visited so far were well stocked in several brands – so you are very likely to find your favourite brand…  (Also see photos of our visits.)

2. The pre-visit stuff:

Like any area in South Africa, there is always the issue of security, especially when traveling and being a tourist.  We can recommend visiting a shebeen in a group as chances are good you are traveling outside your safety zone.  And after all, you can’t social on you own, can you? Plus a group has security advantages attached to it.  Although many tourists would like to see shebeens and experience it first hand, it is not something everyone enjoys to the same extent.  Remember, this is the equivalent of a male sports bar – and I say male with no meanings of discrimination, this is unfortunately the way society works in this respect.  Like any “male dominated place”, woman might feel very uncomfortable, mostly because they are the topic of discussion, and some ladies might feel offended by the language used.  So dads, don’t take your 17 year old daughters with.  If you are friends with a local, invite him to join you – he’ll probably know the best spots too.

When leaving home, leave valuables at home: take only the bear essentials like a small amount of cash, your driver’s license, and a cell phone.  Don’t take cameras and super fancy phones – this is a security threat.

3. The visit: (the fun begins)

Gather your friends, and drive into the township to start shebeen hunting.  It would help if you or your friends know the local language spoken, but English is an okay backup.  You’ll get to see and learn a lot about a township this way.  The hunting involves opening your car window and driving around asking passersby where the nearest or best shebeens are. Like any part in a crime famous country, keep basic safety in mind, and keep doors lock etc etc. Although shebeens are the equivalent of sports bars in city areas, this doesn’t at all mean they have parking lots. People generally park on the sidewalks, or half-on-the-side-walk-half-in-the-road if they drive: most shebeen goers live in the area and simply walk. Again, basic crime and safety things – don’t leave valuables in the car, put the gear lock on, lock the doors etc etc.  Once inside the shebeen, have fun: get yourself and your friends some beer and then get a spot with open crates, drag it into a circle and have a great time!

You’ll find that shebeens are great places.  Now for that touristy nature of tourist: put the camera away.  This is not the place for cameras, especially not digital SLR’s and other fancy stuff.  If you want photos of you and your mates, take a cheap, simple camera with, and photograph your friends.  Do not randomly point the camera around and just photograph anybody!  This might be very tempting, but draw the line!  Consider people around you: how would you like it if someone you don’t know unexpectedly flashed with a camera while you are sitting unwinding in your local pub? Exactly! Remember, this is not your local bar.

Last thing: Keep the dangers of alcohol itself in mind. As friendly as a beer may be to you, evoking laughter and acting as a mediator in discussion, it can easily become a back stabbing bastard, leading to disputes and physical fights. Also take note that you will most likely need to find your own way home too, and with South African Metro Police around, driving irresponsible can be a bad idea.

Stick to this guidelines and you are bound to have a good time, and memories for a lifetime! Have fun, but be responsible. You might even walk away a man with more friends. We hope you find shebeens as great as we do.

If you would like to add to this, or comment on your experience at shebeens you visited, feel free to post it.

Tsalanang Revisted

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Tsalanang Revisted (4)

A regular visitor passionately explaining shebeen culture

A gorgeous Saturday afternoon was the scene for a good ol’ beer with a friend or two in the township, but where to go? We contacted Aphiwe who was interested in joining us yet again, only to find out that he was one step ahead of us and and had a drink in his hand already. We thought the best thing to do would be to go and join him in the midst of the informal settlement. This posed the first of three problems we were to encounter; how to find them.

The shebeen-brak, a regular and welcomed visitor

The shebeen-brak, a regular and welcomed visitor

Pierre and I got into the car and went towards the township with the plan to ask along the way – something not advised when carrying two cellphones, money, a camera whilst idle. Nevertheless we did this, and to our surprise we were not far away from the start. After consulting two people were noticed a familiar car parked on the pavement, it was indeed Aphiwe’s. We got our stuff and walked into the shebeen.  

Tsalanang Revisted (5)

Greeted with a cheer from our friends we grabbed the traditional crate and sat ourselves down. Shortly after, we noticed our hands were empty and went to the gated bar counter to get some booze. Whilst ordering, Pierre and I were looked for a nice camera shot of the bar, and then moved back to our friends located outside, with a interruption – the second problem.

I was greeted and asked how I was, I replied, and was asked (I can only guess) how the good life is – a racial gesture. I replied confused, and tried to move through him and his friend to get out of the door to safety. I was slightly followed and asked by his friend (with earrings and a tattoo of the number 21; possibly a gang) if I had R10 for him – the thought of being mugged begun to sink in. I said no, irritatingly, and turned away and walked towards my mates.

Tsalanang Revisted (2)

Pierre and I both were evidently shook by this edgy encounter, but tried to relax. This relaxation only fully set in for me when I turned my head to notice that the two dodgy customers had left. I later stood up and joined Pierre with photo’s, when our third and final problem happened. One local, who looked like a businessman, walked up to us demanding not to take any pictures that made the local pub scene and its people look bad. We both tried our best to convince this influential looking man that that was not our mission, and after a handshake he felt he could let us continue, and this is what we got.

Written by techran

May 10, 2009 at 1:32 pm