Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Introducing "Los Heffes"

The Full Pint
I know nothing about the home-brewing of beer but here's how I imagine it. A garage, balcony or storage room with sufficient ventilation but creepy enough lighting is converted into a makeshift laboratory. Crusty pots, dirty buckets, glass bottles and sacks of grains and hops are scattered around, a collection of toys for big boys. Over a gas burner, a large pot full of yellowish liquid rumbles, its bitter fumes dispersing like thinning fog. A mad scientist, preferably in flip-flops, boxer shorts, a cruddy ripped tank top and snorkelling goggles, stirs the potion with a kayak paddle or cricket bat or lamb femur and cackles. His hair is unruly and his eyes are bloodshot. Sweat dribbles down his armpits while he waits with patience for his Frankensteiner [insert your preferred style of beer] to be ready. From inside the house, a woman's high-pitched squealing drags him out of his reverie. "No, honey, I cannot help you trim your cuticles and paint your toenails," he says, sighing and taking a long swig from a bottle of Hopsonouris IPA, one of last year's home brewing successes.

"Los Heffes" en acción!
This past weekend, I meant to ask the four gentlemen (who I've baptised "Los Heffes" after one of their beers) behind the Cyprus Homebrewers Association whether my somewhat vivid imagination matches their daily brewing reality. On Saturday, May 31st, for the first time ever on The Rock, they hosted "The Full Pint," a home brewing festival held behind Faneromeni Church in which they showcased nineteen of their beers. Hundreds of people showed up throughout the day, many stopping by as a thirst-quenching preamble to the hugely successful 1st Cyprus Pride Parade that took off from Eleftheria Square at five p.m. on its way to Parliament.

During my forty-five minute stint at the festival, I tasted six beers, several of them better than many of the locally produced beers available in supermarkets. The DUA 101 Dusseldorf Alt was a fuller bodied and more flavourful summer alternative to a lager, while the WIT 10 Orange Belgian Wit, a beer approved by The Wife, Ph.D., had a lively citrus kick and plenty of tanginess. The Tutti Frutti Raspberry Wheat, seemingly a crowd favourite, did not appeal to me as much as I expected a greater concentration of fruit and spice. The Wife, Ph.D., who tends to specialise in fruity beers, agreed with me. The Mystic Roots Pale Ale was a faithful rendition of the style with plenty of hops, which, according to its humble brewer Costas Siahinian of Brewfellas fame, help hide its shortcomings. Likewise, the AAA 5 American Amber Ale was a balanced effort that, in my opinion, packed a greater wallop than Prime Microbrewery's version. Personally, my favourite beer was the BAA 40 Belgian Amber Ale concocted by Costas Panayiotides. This medium-bodied brew elicited lovely aromas of caramelised bananas and sweet spice and a balanced, mouth-puckering taste. I took a full pint with me to enjoy as I walked with the crowds towards the Pride Parade.

First Cyprus Pride Parade
It is wonderful to see progress, in all realms of life, being made on The Rock. Beers (#NotCarlsberg) are improving thanks to people like "Los Heffes" and the local microbreweries. Wines are becoming more refined and lauded in competitions. Most important, though, equality for all as praxis is fermenting as demonstrated by the four thousand five hundred people who marched in support of LGBT rights on the island.

Cyprus: Keep on trucking. Just don't spill your beer.

No comments:

Post a Comment