Capital Craft is almost upon us so we’re doing a few interviews ahead of the event. First up is Two Okes Brewery. Check it out…
We all love drinking the suds but we rarely know the people behind it? Tell us a bit about who you are when you are not brewing?
Over and above having the brewery and being a brewmaster, my most important role is Family Man. I have been married for 15 years, and have 3 children (11yr old, and 8yr old twins). I grew up on a dairy farm in Magaliesburg, where growing up I developed a passion for grain, processing, and hygiene – all key aspects in making beer. After high school, I studied computer programming, and I am now a Senior IT Enterprise Architect, and shareholder in a successful business process and integration consultancy. I am a very logical thinker, who enjoys the science of beer making, while having a deep love for it as a craft as well – beer is my art.
Just so we can get the formalities out of the way, give us a short history behind Two Okes Brewery.
I have never really been able to drink commercial beer, as I get terrible gout from it. While on honeymoon in 2000, my wife and I discovered Mitchells Brewery, and the flame for craft beer was ignited. About 5 years ago, my wife bought me a Home Brewing kit for Christmas, and the beer-making bug hit me hard! I thrived on the ability to create something enjoyable, and seeing people’s reaction to it. Everyone just wanted more of it. Creating new recipes allowed me to use both my scientific and logical thinking, but also my creative side as well – and best of all, I could enjoy my beer without the gout. I decided I wanted a brewery, started the process of a business plan and looking out how to fund such an expensive venture. In come an old friend and oke that loves as much beer as me. Dave and I were on the same page from the first conversation. The name Two Okes just clicked with us, the dream came true in March 2014, when we were offered an excellent deal on our brewing equipment. We jumped in, with both feet, and have not looked back!
Now the fun stuff! What is the process behind creating a new beer? Deciding between Pilsner or Irish Ale and how the flavour combinations come about?
My first step in the process of a new beer is looking at what I want to drink next, time of year and climate has a lot of influence on what I would be looking at. Then I would bounce the idea of the people around me, my wife will be the first judge then friends and family. Once I feel there is a clear understanding of what I am looking at, then it is time to put the recipe together on BeerSmith. I suppose the years as home brewer where it was easy to play with lots of ingredients and brew styles has given me some knowledge to understand how to blend and marry some of the basics of Ales or Lagers.
You have four beers in your range at the moment. Which one do you find to be the most popular and why do you think that is?
We actually have 5 beers now – we have added Stout to our product line – the perfect beer for winter. At the moment, our clear best seller is the Irish Ale. The reason, I think, for this is that it is a easy drinking Ale with a good balance between the caramel and biscuit notes from the malt and bitterness from the local sourced hops that most craft and non-craft beer drinkers enjoys.
You will be at Capital Craft Beer Festival at Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria on the 13th of June. Are you planning on unveiling any new brews for the event?
Our new Stout will be available at the launch, and we know it will be a hit! But I am also working on another ‘winter’ beer, if I am happy with the recipe and get all the fresh produce in time I will bring it to the festival, but for now I will say no more…
What are you looking forward to most at Capital Craft?
We love getting to know the people who drink our beer. We are happy to take time to chat to the people that visit us, get their feedback on our beer and build relationships with them. The Voortrekker monument is a wonderful symbol of history and simple beginnings, and we hope to leave our mark on the hearts (and in the mouths) of those visiting us at the festival. We hope that this is the beginning of Two Okes making historical imprints in the Pretoria craft beer market.
With so many breweries attending Capital Craft you guys must be a tad competitive amongst each other. Are there any competitions or bets amongst breweries at these types of events?
We haven’t encountered any at any of the previous festivals we have attended. We find that the comradery and fellowship amongst the breweries is one of the aspects that make this such an enjoyable business venture. That said, if the other brewers would like to hold bets, we are always game to partake.
Does Two Okes Brewery offer anything special to its fans? Do you host tasting sessions at your brewery, can your range be ordered online and delivered etc.
We do hold regular open days at the brewery. Sometimes, for the fun of it, we will let all on-tap beers be free-of-charge. We also make sure that there are great foods available, as well as activities for the kids, and a certified child-minders to watch over them. These are fun days that the whole family can enjoy. We also have regular give-aways on Facebook, the Website and Twitter. Also, we have recipes that have been created using our beers, and these are available to our followers (for example, Irish Ale Marinated Pork Rashers ; Two Okes Stout and Kudu Pie ; Pilsner Popcorn Chicken and Beernaise sauce etc…). We are looking at Online platforms like League of Beers and other options but it is all still early days for us.
Anything from your side you would like to share? Any trade secrets you feel like revealing or anything we can look forward to from Two Okes Brewery?
No Secrets from us! I am a firm believer in being open and transparent and I hope our beers reflect that too. Every beer is made with love, passion and dedication to quality, aiming for perfection.
Where can people get in contact with you?
People can find all our contact details on our website www.twookesbrewery.co.za , facebook “TwoOkesBrewery” or Twitter @twookesbrewery