It’s enough to drive you to drink

Some wit once described work as the curse of the drinking class.

She was kinda right. Look at me. To forget about work, I need to drink.

To be able to drink, I need money. To get money, I have to work.

And so on. It’s a cruel existence, capitalism at its foulest. It’s enough to drive you to drink.

There is nothing like coming back to work to spoil a four week idyll of beer, football and the beach.

And it’s been a warped bastard of a week. This is a bad time to be a wage slave.

But not next weekend. Come Friday, The Boss permitting, the drinking class seizes control of the means of production.

Work becomes play. Drinking and writing become one. Ying meets yang and all that.

Harper gets lets loose at the Clarens Craft Beer Festival in the Free State.

This is a helluva gig. The craft beer industry converges on Clarens with its finest offerings for a weekend of non-stop beer.

Beer is displayed, tasted, talked about, inspected, dissected, voted for and, most importantly, drunk in vast quantities. Time stops and beer takes over.

This is Big Beer. Proper beer. Not some mass produced, catalyst filled swill.

Two days of immersion in the finest craft beer South Africa has to offer. It’s the Holy Grail of makoya beer.

A homage to the Pale Ales, Stouts and Porters made with care and love and talent.

Clarens teems with all kinds of beer heads. Anoraks. Bikers. Jocks. Brewers. Drinkers.

Posers. Blag artists. All in a tiny space and drunk out of their skulls. Nice.

Last year’s gig had more than 90 variants of beer on offer.

I can’t remember how many I tried. I can’t remember how many breweries were represented.

I lost my notebook. It was that kind of operation.

My first run at Clarens. My technique was poor, more greed than strategy.

Swine, trough and all that. We drank like fiends.

The party was great, despite the Blankman losing his mind and driving back to Jozi at 3am on Saturday night in a huff.

This year should be more of the same, although certain material conditions have changed.

I’m a year older, but not necessarily wiser.

My man the Ghenginator won’t be there. That means lots more beer for the rest of us.

There’s also a bit of a moral dilemma. I’m attending the gig this year as a guest of a multinational brewery who shall remain unnamed.

They’re clearly eyeing the craft market. I don’t blame them. I don’t drink their beer.

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