After introducing us to coffee-culture, Brad Armitage and Rui Esteves sold their Vida concept to kick off the craft beer movement. 6 years in and the pair's 'voyage of discovery' continues to reward us with delicious beasts from the deep.
How did you get started and how long have you been going for?
We got bored with being force fed a mountain of bad, lack-lustre and sterile industrial beers that where constantly being forced on us. So about 6 years ago, we embarked on a little 'voyage of discovery' and bam! Its amazing what one can find if you just start asking the right questions.
Have you ever had any sort of run in with the ‘industrial beer makers’ that you often refer to?
We have had a few sniffs and sniggers from the big boys. A lot of back passage rumours, but no direct contact - except when they decided to 'knock-off' our WE LOVE REAL BEER logo for a craft festival they where sponsoring. In general, we hope they are drinking and enjoying our beers. We have hosted a good few of them at the bar, and we are sure that you will find our beers in their fridges - 'research' kinda stuff.
What do you think of all these other craft brewers popping up?
We encourage it, and can't wait to see what is going to happen in South African beer in the next 5 years. Its a really exciting time. It is great to have options finally. We only hope now that people start attaching 'quality' and not 'price' to their value equation, when it comes to beer. Viva the craft revolution!
How many variants do you offer and what are you busy tinkering with in R&D?
7, and we are looking to add to the list all the time. BEAST OF THE DEEP is our new bad boy - 6.5% ABV... Smooth and brutal. So maybe next we will look at something a little tamer.
What are the biggest challenges in making craft?
Getting people to drink whats's inside the bottle and not whats on the huge billboard.
What’s the reward in drinking craft?
Little to no side effects, and a clean conscious!
Almost everyone is offering beer on tap these days, will we ever be able to order a pint of &Union?
You never know. We are looking at it, and may just surprise everyone with a sneaky colab. I've said too much already. You never heard that from me.
What do you order if you can’t drink your own beer in a restaurant?
I will always look to try something new, from one of our friends at Jack Black or Darling. A good glass of wine maybe. If all else fails, a G&T.
Do you know of any good beer cocktail recipes?
There are a few. But I am a purist, and wouldn't suggest straying too far from the path. You end up killing the taste of a great beer. Unless of course you are using mass-produced rubbish - then by all means make it taste like sugar and cinnamon.
What’s the best thing to eat with your beer?
Oh. So much to choose from. My personal favorite is a B&U Dark Lager and a medium rare fillet - with a hint of chili and coriander.
Beer gets a bad rap for being fattening, what's the story here?
No story - just fallacy. Beer is very low in sugar, by comparison to a glass of red wine. So pound for pound, you're better off sticking to beer. Just watch what you eat with it. And rather drink less, but of a higher quality.
First coffee, now beer, what’s next?
A goat farm in the south of Portugal. On a beach. With a private break.