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Monday, January 21, 2019

The Two Cowboys are Planning to Brew and Keg Our Own Beer on the Road with iKegger, New Zealand

Counter Beer Culture


If there was ever a time to justifiably promote counter-culture, then the time is probably now. 

More and more people are coming to terms with the real current state of living in our westernized world. Folks are waking up to the perils of consumerism, the emptiness of meaningless jobs, and the realization that even the things they thought they have, they don't truly own, and never will

Having more stuff, doing meaningless work to get it, and not being in control of what you already own, is no longer an acceptable way of living. Especially, if it doesn't make you happy and you have to exert more and more effort every year to keep up with demands. 

Some people blame their problems on someone else or on their circumstances. By transferring responsibility they are sinking even deeper into the abyss of the infirm. "It is someone else's fault". They have to fix this. There should be a law against this!", is a common refrain. The Government is doing it or not doing enough. It is Trump's fault. Trudeau cannot be trusted. Soros paid them off. The Chinese are to blame. Idiots are voting. The system is rigged!

Unfortunately, no amount of calling on the Government, someone else, demon, or deity, to solve our problems or bowing to postmodern moral grandstanding will solve the problem we have. Changing our leaders is unlikely to have the desired outcome. Protests won't work. It is more likely to get people killed or jailed. Life will not get better when the racists desist, men disappear, you change your gender, white privilege is punished, refugees leave, sinners stop sinning, we all become vegan, Brexit is cancelled, Mother Earth "saved", or feminism wins.

Taking Command


Instead, more and more people are looking for alternatives to the current conventional way of living, and they are doing it by changing their thinking. People are downsizing, leaving behind, moving on, checking out and taking back control of their lives for themselves and the people they love around them. 

These folks all have one thing in common. They no longer give away control and responsibility for themselves and for their circumstances - not to an ideology and not to an institution, religion or state. They alone are taking command for their own sake, and for those around them!

We like it. 

There are a growing number of "movements" that is evidence of transitional thinking. Homesteading, tiny houses, minimalism, self-education, growers, makers, Vanlifers and Fulltimers, are only a few ways of how a counter culture is developing. It is a movement in opposition with the conventional way we are told we should live to be happy and successful. People are going against consumerism with living tiny, minimalism and through homesteading. They are leaving meaningless jobs behind and becoming self-educated makers, craftsmen, growers, bakers, brewers, traders and online entrepreneurs. They are throwing off the shackles off locality by adopting nomadic lifestyles and avoiding mortgages, licensing and taxation. They barter and use alternative currencies for trade!

People are realizing that we alone can take responsibility for our life and our destiny. It is the only path to a happy and fulfilled life. We have to solve our own problems first before we decide to put the blame on something external from us. It is done in small steps and by tiny increments. 

We believe that people's value system changes when they decide to take control of, and for themselves, and when they start to make things. Something as simple as frying an egg, folding your clothes or making your bed has the power, over time, to change a life. It changes a person because it restores ownership. With ownership comes responsibility. This simple concepts of ownership and responsibility confirm value or worth. With worth, there is meaning and purpose for yourself and for those with whom you choose to share. 

Making Beer


We are big proponents of making things. Our hashtag states, #makesomething!

We are making our own beer thanks to the innovate beer brewing equipment of WilliamsWarn, and the quality concentrated wort from Black Rock Brewing, both from New Zealand. By making our own beer, we believe we make better tasting, fresh, more healthy, and affordable beer. We drink our beer without the need to front-up for licensing, packaging, distribution, excise and taxation. It is probably one of the most liberating things to do in today's age!

We are encouraging all beer lovers to give it a try.

We are so enthused by this that we checked in with Andrew Hope from iKegger NZ to see if there is an even easier way we can make our beer while we are traveling in our vans in New Zealand. He gave us what we needed from his selection of kegs, taps, lines and sleeves and we are set to start our van beer brewing experience this March when we return to New Zealand.

Observations


Andrew confesses that he has a vast and enormous love for beer. He and an Aussie mate came together and founded iKegger.

iKegger NZ is a kiwi owned and run business that specializes in stainless steel portable Mini Beer Kegs and Growlers which have integrated taps and are powered by CO2 through mini regulators. It's like having your own personal bar with beer on tap, at home, but also the flexibility to take it with you when you are out and about!

iKegger kegs are based on the same ball lock fittings that homebrew keg setups work on so they can easily link into existing kegerators or "keezers" and the fittings will work with your existing kegs too. We think that they not only have a better way to transport and keep beer, but we can also brew in the kegs while we travel. We will do it with the help of Black Rock Brewing ingredients.

Andrew kindly provided us with what we need to get started with our brewing experiment. We ran a few test runs during this southern summer and will be ready to showcase it when we return this March to New Zealand. In the meantime, please meet Andrew and reach out to him if you are in New Zealand. He may have a plan for your next fresh beer.

Hendrik
Beer Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too.

Photos


Brew Keg

Brew Team

Beer Tanks

Hellfire!! Story for another time...

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Welcome to the Church of Braai with the Two Cowboys in South Africa

Church of Braai


If you want to understand Canadians, you have to understand Ice Hockey. No, not just the game. Everything around the game. The rituals, language, colloquialisms, unspoken precepts, customs, culture and passions that drive the identity and lifestyle around the game of Hockey. It is integrally part of every true ice-blooded Canuck, whether they've ever been directly involved with the game or not.

I guess every nation can point to a sport or an activity that conjures up similarities in its ability to define or reflect their identity and culture. Games that come to mind are Soccer in England, rugby in New Zealand or the ancient Mexican game of Ullamaliztli where the victors were sacrificed to the gods.

There is something similar, even more universal, ancient to the degree that it is primal, that all people have in common. It is buried so deep in the enclaves of traditional culture that we take it for granted. It is what we do.

It only comes to the fore when people gather around to cook and share a meal. The food doesn't matter as much as the rituals, customs, precepts, and passions that goes hand-in-hand with eating together. Society developed from this simple ancient act of sharing and reciprocity. It avoided wars because of it and wars we started as a result.

Where we come from, we call it "braai".

Ministry of Braai


Conventional wisdom indicates that it evolved from the word "braden" (Roast in Dutch) into braaivleis (which is Afrikaans for grilled meat) and then into the verb braai which means “to grill”. The word "braai" forms a proud part of South African slang and today it is used by people of all languages.

However, defining the word comes nowhere close to grasping the meaning of the act. The truth is that the act of braai is responsible for more unintended sacrificial destruction of protein than it is for the good practices of proper food preparation. There is a lot more to it.

If one wants to understand the concept of braai you have to get a lot closer and look much, much deeper into the psyche of the culture of its origin,  the Afrikaner. Books have been written, movies have been made and poetry published about the rituals accompanying the braai. For example, some would swear that a braai without fire is not a braai. A braai doesn't have to include meat. Afrikaners can braai anything and people don't need an excuse for a braai to take place. It happens any time of the day and in any weather. Some do it at -28C in Canada and at +51C in the Outback.

There are very specific rules at a braai. For example, you never criticize the person in the act of a braai and never touch his tools. Men tend to keep to themselves and woman do the same until the meal is served. It is an honour to be invited to a braai and it is a disgrace to arrive at a braai without a contribution (never bring chicken!). The following words are forbidden at a braai, "Wanneer gaan ons braai?", which means "When will the grilling of food commence?".

Whichever way you look at a braai, it becomes clear that it is an event that brings people together around the preparation of a meal and the act of sharing food. It is a tradition claimed as part of the identity of Afrikaner. It is their heritage and one of the last bastions of their culture. They will fiercely defend and protect it from outside influence. It is also the first courtesy they will extend to any stranger. "Kom ons braai"loosely translates into "Welcome, pleased to meet you. Let's get to know each other a little better".

Oh, yes! It is also about preparing food. The amount of food at a braai is incredible. It is a testimony to the generosity that comes with a nation that has seen its fair share of trials and setbacks. A hardy group of people that are now spread all over the world armed with this one simple authentic act of cordiality. They are showing the world how to braai.

Pilgrimage to Braai


The Cowboys will be arriving in South Africa at the end of January 2019 to rediscover our braai roots.

As Afrikaner emigrants, we've taken our braai custom all over the world since we left the country almost two decades ago. The movement of braai has evolved back home. We want to rediscover what it is in South Africa and what it means for its local practitioners. We've certainly adapted and incorporated what we've learned along the way in the countries we visited. Low and slow, smoking, grilling, picanha, brisket, barbacoa, shrimp on the barbie, arepa, and rodizio, to name a few.

Braai has and still is playing a role in bringing people together from all corners of South African life and all corners of the world. We want to show the world where it began and we want to show South Africa what we learned in the world.

See you on the road. We are coming to a braai near you!

Hendrik
Braai Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Getting Slapped in the Face with a Hoppy Rag at Deep Creek Brewing Co in Auckland, NZ

Hoppy Beers


If you say "hoppy beer" to anyone that doesn't know beer, they think of bitter beer.

Bitterness is a typical characteristic of some European style beers. The lighter beers of the Pilsner and Lager styles thrive on a bit of bitterness to quench your thirst. Some readily available mainstream commercial beers which used Pilsners and Lagers as their foundation for their taste profiles perpetuated this play on bitterness. We think it is to the detriment of the beverage's reputation. Beer should be better.




DO YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS FEATURED?


In the early days of craft brewing, the brewers also managed to get bitterness wrong (some still do). You often end up with tonsil-throttling gill-destroying bitterness in an American or Indian Pale Ale, with a healthy dose of excuses claiming that if you cannot stand the heat (bitterness) in the kitchen (craft brewery's beer), then you better get out (drink some Bud, bud). Bitter is cruft!

No, it is not! Hops have many roles to play in beer. It imparts bitterness. It has a preservation effect to keep beer yeasts happy. Most importantly, Hops is about flavour. Flavour is all about profile and balance.

What people are discovering, with more beer choices on the market, is that bitterness is only one part, although an important, part that hops play in the flavour profile of a style. We believe there is a much bigger part, which most beer drinkers don't really know about, understand or appreciate. It is the ability of Hops to impart unique flavours to beer.

If hops flavouring is where the rubber hits the road for a good beer, it is also where the wheels come off. For all the angelic flavouring qualities the immaculately expensive hops from all the corners of the world bestow on our favourite beverage, they have one unfortunately quality. They are masters at escaping. As soon as you get them into beer, they have this one unfortunate peculiarity. They pull a vanishing act.

It has driven many a brewer to drink trying to solve this simple dilemma. They can pull off a juicy, citrussy cloudy ale with perfection, only to discover their creation became just another flat clear pale ale three weeks later. If you know what they know, and we know, you will drink the beer when it is fresh and ready. Choose your timing wisely. A week later and it is no longer be the master creation it was intended to be because the Hops flavours departed.

What if you can make the perfect beer and still have it perfect for weeks and months later with the same breathtakingly beautiful aromas and flavours, as the day it came cold crashed from the fermenter?

You can now. The world of beer is about to change forever. Steamed distilled Hops Oil makes it possible. It is popping up everywhere - even in New Zealand, and it is making the beer better. We've had our own disasters brewing with it. However, with a little practice, refinement and restraint we have discovered a whole new world of taste in beer - the way it was meant to be.

For more about Hops Oil, have a look at this entry in our Blog about Glacier Hops Ranch and their HopzOil Product.

Observations


On our recent whirlwind tour of New Zealand, we crashed into Scott Taylor of Deep Creek Brewing Co., at the Dunedin Craft Beerfest. We did a double take when he mentioned that they have a beer, a very popular one, that they made with Hops oil.

Now, there is Hops oil and then there is Hops oil. We were skeptical. But, he had our attention when he mentioned that it was steam distilled oil from fresh New Zealand hops. Apparently, they bet the Hops farm, bought a whole bunch of fresh hops from a farmer in the South Island and got a lavender oil distillery in Christchurch to distill them some oil. Next thing is, they are selling out on Hops Oil beer!

We thought that that North American craft brewers were the pioneers. In typical Kiwi fashion, they knocked something up in the barn and before you know it, the Kiwis are not just keeping up with the Jones', they are leading the charge!

Meet Paul, Scott and Jarred.  They’re the original guys behind Deep Creek Brewing Co, the craft beer brewery from Auckland, New Zealand. Deep Creek was born from a long-term friendship and a burning desire to produce flavour fuelled handcrafted beer and bring it to the kiwi masses (and people as far as Norway) to enjoy.

We loved their beer and their innovation. They have a pretty good restaurant and bar in Browns Bay, North Shore, Auckland too. We will be back with more from Deep Creek. In the meantime, enjoy the video and let them know the Two Cowboys sent you!

Hendrik
Hoppy Beer Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too.


Photos


Napkin for the Juice

Go for Brew and Eats

Flavour Palace

Juicy, Juicy!!

Good Fair!


Thursday, January 3, 2019

Getting Our Beards Oiled with Manuka Essentials Beard Oil in Tauranga, New Zealand

Mānuka and Kānuka


Some Kiwi's are discovering that they've been sitting on a pot of gold all along, and they didn't even need honey for it. Mānuka honey is widely known for its great taste and powerful healing properties. However, few people have heard about mānuka oil, kānuka oil, mānuka tea and the range of other goods that are made from these ingredients.

They have extraordinary healing abilities. Truly remarkable! They grow everywhere in New Zealand. You can find them literally on the side of the road. The oil makes beards look, feel and smell good too.


DO YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS FEATURED?


On our recent trip to New Zealand, Callum Armstrong got us interested in the small online business he recently launched literally on the side of the road in Tauranga. As an entrepreneur, he is passionate about his Manuka and Kanuka, and he is finding ways to build support for the product that can be made from it. In his opinion, Manuka and Kanuka oil are poised to take the world by storm! He calls his online business Manuka Essentials.

He is so passionate about it that he created a reference that makes it easy to learn about what makes this shrub so unique. For many centuries, native Māori used mānuka and kānuka for a wide range of purposes. Modern science is now finally catching up, and we will be better off as a result.

Manuka Essentials aim to source as much inventory from local producers in rural and remote parts of New Zealand as possible. It provides local producers with an incentive to invest in the growth of the native bushes and offer them another way to bring innovative goods to market that can be sold online and shipped all over the world.

Cultivating More Mānuka and Kānuka


Thanks to the booming mānuka honey industry, landowners throughout NZ are now replanting mānuka where it had to make way for agriculture like dairy farming. In the long run, we hope with Callum, that his effort will have a profound impact on the health of New Zealand's land, the quality of its soils and the cleanliness of its air and waterways. For a start, it will bring some of the fantastic bird life back!

Imagine if more of New Zealand was returned to native bush, and people could earn a decent income for doing so - wouldn't that be awesome? Callum is doing his part to spread the word. For his and his collaborators' effort, we now have Mānuka beard oil, tea and other skin care. He assured us that more products are in development.

Observations


Three things stood out about our visit with Callum and Manuka Essentials.

Firstly, there is the power the Internet puts in the hands of a local entrepreneur like Callum to launch a business about something he feels strongly about. Manuka Essentials is a small online business today in New Zealand, but it has the power to reach the world.

Secondly, it has the potential to rally people around a cause, more Mānuka and Kānuka native bush restoration, and to launch the development of products by local producers as a result. It can make the world a better and healthier place for everyone.

Thirdly, we love the beard oil that Callum gave us. We promised to spread the word and will soon be distributing this under the Two Cowboys brand in North America. Our beards love us for it. Our skin appreciates it and every time we smell it, it takes us home to our second home amongst friends in the land of the long white cloud - Aotearoa!

Keep up the good work Callum and grow some more bushes. We will follow your story in great anticipation and appreciate the chance to show you to the world

Hendrik
Mānuka Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too.


Photos


" You Getting the Shot, Cowboy?"

The Gods of Manuka

Smell It!

Make It!

Ship It!