Monthly Archives: November 2008

Competitions and expectations of prize delivery

If you receive a notification that you are a winner of a competition you entered, saying “Your prize will be delivered to you shortly”; what timespan do you take shortly to mean?  Days?  Weeks?  Months?  I think it would vary depending on the logistics of prize delivery but can’t really see anything over six weeks or so as reasonable.

I received such a notification almost three months ago and have not yet seen any sign of my prize.  Sadly this is pretty much par for the course with this particular competition.  I have been a winner three times before and on each occasion it took months to receive my prize; in one case almost nine months.  It’s disappointing, and gives the impression that one’s entries aren’t really appreciated.

Six Degrees Below

Flickrmeet at Boston Breweries

Lager On Tap A group of members of the Cape Town Flickr Meetup Group Group met up yesterday afternoon at Boston Breweries, an independent micro-brewery situated in Paardeneiland, Cape Town.

Chris Barnard, the founder and chief brewer welcomed us, offering the choice of beer or tour first.  Naturally we chose beer first and were served our choice of Boston Lager or Whale Tale Ale.  I chose the ale, which proved delicious, served in a glass straight from the freezer.

After we had enjoyed our beer, while chatting and snapping photos in the entrance/tasting area, we moved on to the brewing hall next door where Chris explained the process of producing beer.  Brewing hall is perhaps a grandiose term; it was far smaller than I expected, micro-brewery indeed.

Passionate About BeerChris is clearly passionate about beer, and explained that the extra flavour in their beer is due to the filtering process.  They use slightly larger filtering screens than the larger brewers ensuring that their beer retains as much flavour as possible.  The huge commercial brewers filter their beers more, removing most of the flavour in the process.

While Andre and I spoke to him, he revealed the difficulties that small businesses face in competing against huge monopolies, such as South African Breweries that absolutely dominates the beer market in South Africa.  To get a foothold in outlets the small guys must buy floor space for their products and reps from the big guys will come along, and take over that space by simply paying double.  It’s not uncommon for Chris to arrive at an outlet on a Saturday morning to find a palette of his product sitting outside in the sun, rather than in the store for customers to buy.  And strangely, no one will have any idea who fork-lifted the palette outside.  Marketing and advertising is a problem due to the expense of advertising in traditional media and Andre suggested that Chris look into using social media to raise awareness of his brands.

CratesWe ended our visit in the tasting room where we chatted again over some more of the delicious beer, purchased our supplies to take home; in my case a six-pack of Hazzard Ten Ale, described thusly on the Boston web site.

If you’re a fizzy yellow beer drinker this is definitely not for you. With an alcohol content of 10% it is strongest beer brewed in South Africa, the most defining character however is it’s flavour. It is dark red in colour, has a thick creamy head, and a strong malty character. The sweetness has been balanced by adding large amounts of hops to the beer after fermentation, a process called dry hopping. It’s definitely the beer that is the most fun to make!

I enjoyed the first of these last night and it rates right up there with Paulaner Weissbier as one of tastiest beers I’ve ever had.  I will certainly lay in a stock of Boston beers for the festive season when I’m on leave and will be wanting cool, tasty refreshments at hand.  The fact that they offer a home delivery service is a definite plus too.

Kalk Bay Harbour Light

Kalk Bay Harbour Light

Ever changing

When we moved from Gauteng to the Western Cape at the end of 1999, we chose to live in Strand; mainly for the small-town atmosphere and the lovely beach front.

The small-town atmosphere is still largely there, despite the huge amount of development going on in the area around Somerset Mall.  The beach front though, has changed dramatically; for the worse, most locals would feel.  Gone are the small hotels and holiday apartment blocks that accommodated scores of holiday makers in the December summer holidays; they have mostly made way for flashy new high-rise residential apartment blocks, with more being built all the time.  There are still a few houses and small blocks, but as the signs in this photo show; their days are numbered.

The new blocks going up are expensive, with apartments being advertised with come-ons like “From only R2,500,000”.  Perhaps I’m naive but I fail to see how the word only can be used with a figure like that.  I wonder who the residents of these new blocks are and how they feel about the state of the area their shiny towers are in?  Beach Road and the beach front facilities, once the big tourist draw cards, are in disrepair.  The historic jetty has been unusable for years but rather than being repaired or simply demolished, it has been fenced of in the most unsightly manner possible.