Meet Devil’s Peak’s Assistant Brewer
Devil’s Peak’s Assistant Brewer Andrew de Groot tells us a bit more about his approach to brewing beer.
You can meet JC Steyn, Devil’s Peak Brewing Company’s head brewer here
1. How did you get started with brewing?
Andrew: I inadvertently came to craft brewing via both winemaking and working for a big mass-producer. I drank my first beer when I was around 10 years old. My grandfather used to get me to help him with gardening. He would always give me one of those old R1 coins the size of a car license disc as payment. One day he asked me whether I wanted money or whether a beer would meet my approval. Needless to say, I chose the beer and I have never looked back since. In fact, alcoholic beverages were not taboo growing up. We would all get wine or beer at the table during mealtimes when the family got together. I have worked between the beer and wine industries over the past couple of years, doing harvest seasons in New Zealand, California and France as well as working in the large mass-market brewing industry. I have always had a taste for flavoursome beers, and love to try different styles.
2. What gets you excited?
Andrew: Tasting different styles of beer and pairing them with food. The biggest myth is that only wine can do this. I recommend our IPA with pork belly by the way.
3. What makes your beer different from macro produced beer?
Andrew: Having worked at a large brewing company, I would say there is more variation between the different beers in terms of style. The difference between an IPA and a saison brewed at Devil’s Peak are much more different than between a mass-producer’s range of what are essentially all the same style of beer, albeit with slight variations. For me, this gives the discerning consumer a wider range to choose from and enjoy based on a multitude of factors – the food they are having, the weather, their mood etc.
4. Favourite style of beer?
Andrew: I’m an ale man. From Belgian golden ales to Wee Heavies of the Scotch kind.
5. Qualifications/degrees/what you studied that brought you into beer making?
Andrew: After having completed a Bachelor of Science degree, I chose to pursue post-graduate studies in wine science and work a few vintages at commercial wineries. The science of yeast fermentations are quite similar between beer and wine. I eventually worked for a big mass-market brewing company in Johannesburg and Cape Town as a Brewing Technician. I eventually decided to broaden my horizons and set off on a quest to drink as much craft beer as possible whilst travelling, working and making a bit of dosh. The easiest path was to work harvest season in the wine industries. Overseas, my insatiable lust for craft beer was sated and when I had the opportunity to join the movement here in SA, I took it with relish.