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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Bucket Scene: Brew Haus


Last week a few mates and myself went to check out the newest offering in the Durban North area, Brew Haus. It's a collaboration between the rad folk downstairs at Republik and Craft Federation, which transformed this famed corner into something special again. Every time I visit a place, people ask me what can I compare it to? Most of the times you can pick up similarities to other establishments but with Brew Haus, it's something completely different to the Durban Night Life and something I feel that was missing. 


The place specializes in Craft products, ranging from various craft beers to craft spirits, with something to suit anyone's fancy, be it whisky, gin and even tequila! Having often indulged on craft beers, I decided to give the craft spirits a go. As you would assume, the spirits would be a bit pricey being made and distilled by smaller manufacturers of the product , also I would recommend you speak to your waiter about the item you wish to try before ordering and they chose something more suited to your pallet. 


If you're feeling a bit peckish, they do have a tapas menu to choose from, which has a few of boards containing stuff such as pickles, jams, spices, fresh bread, bread sticks, cold meats and cheeses. If you're not big into those kinda stuff, you can always snack on the popcorn that they keep refilling as you munch away. 


The setting is great, located just above Republik, with views of the ocean and greater Durban North area from the balcony. High tables and stool surround the bar from the outside in, with low lighting and neon lights. The music choice of old school rock and roll which is much welcomed over the over used trap and deep house genre. 


Overall the place is really great, something different from the ordinary and if the crowds keep flocking like how they've been during the first month, it's sure to be another hot spot on the lists of ever growing Durban favourites. 


Address: 8A Swapo Road, First Floor corner of Broadway and Kensington Rd (above Republik)
Contact No: 074 294 5746
Facebook: BrewHausZA
Instagram: BrewHausZA
Website: www.brewhaus.co.za




Sunday, July 26, 2015

Monday Choon: Martin Garrix vs Matisse & Sadko - Break Through The Silence


Last week we brought you part one of a two part music video song feature by Martin Garrix, Matisse and Sadko. Today we bring you part two of that, entitledm"break through the silence. The song has already hit most of the charts and the music video being just released last week, it is already becoming a firm favouritre amongst EDM and Trance music lovers. There seems to be some controversy over who is responsible for the vocals as no information is given about them but regardless of that, it is an amazing track with epic production value. 

                     

Thursday, July 23, 2015

SA On Tap, Craft Beer Festival 2015 - Durban



With over a 120 of South Africa's finest craft brews, ciders, whiskeys and wines on offer at the 11th instalment of SA on Tap, this years event is sure to be one not to miss! Taking place on the 1st of August along Durban's famed Golden Mile, visitors can look forward to a wide range of all their favourites as well as tantalise their taste buds and palettes to new flavours and experiences. This is one of 3 events that will be hosted around the country and no doubt with Durban's perfect winter weather, it is bound to be a hit and is already proving so with over 85% of the tickets being sold already!

Craft beer has been on the steady rise in recent months in Durban as more and more people are welcoming and noticing the efforts of the microbrewers. SA on Tap offers drinkers the unique experience to sample new variants of the craft and possibly make one find their niche. Apart from the drinks, there will be plenty entertainment lined up for the day, so while you're sipping on your favourite brew, you can enjoy the sounds of some of SA's top bands, with the likes of Gangs of Ballet, Rubber Duc, Justin Serrao and Catlike Thieves.


What is drink without food? They practically go hand in hand, but fear not, your stomach cravings will be taken cared off as the organises have carefully selected a number of gourmet food stalls to pair up the flavours with the variety of brews on offer. You can ask brewers at the various stalls on pairing advice, or be daring and find perfect pairs on your own.


Festival goers will be please to note that included in your tickets is a glass to help you pick up on the over 150 delectable flavours of craft beer on offer. When booking your ticket online, you are able to choose from one of 3 glasses available. Tickets are available from www.saontap.co.za and are limited, online booking is essential for this sell out event, avoid disappointment and be sure to book early. See you there...


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Over the hills and far away


Growing up in the city, one is blinded to the plight that many in the rural areas face. We're lucky to have things so easily found and if anything was needed, a simple trip down to the shops or a phone call would get what was required. Even simple things like running water, electricity and a roof over our heads are taken for granted. With our modern, busy lifestyle, these thoughts never did cross our mind as there is always something else that was needed to be done or somewhere to be. I can't really say it is something we're guilty of as it isn't really something that should concern us but this past weekend, a group of friends and I set out on what was to be a typical "boys weekend" but turned out to be more than that. 


I've got a really great group of friends, as usual, we all can be idiots at times but that's the male species for you, there's nothing like a weekend away to forge those bonds, after all we are like brothers. From last year, it was in the works that we planned to venture into Lesotho via Sani Pass and stay the night, not only to brush up on our off roading skills but to also experience winter in one of the coldest parts of Southern African in the hope of seeing some snow on the way as we Durban boys don't really ever see it. After weeks of planning, most of which was done by our intrepid leader, Mr Nevin S Pillay, (Director at DNA Test and featured in April's issue of Forbes Africa Magazine), it was decided that the 2 day journey would have us depart Durban to one of the greatest mountain passes in the South Hemisphere, a gateway to South Africa's neighboring country, the Kingdom of Lesotho. 


Not much was known about our place of stay for the night, we knew it was a small village situated about 2 hours from the border and it was founded by a Roman Catholic Missionary who set up a church in the area. Seeing that we were going to be there on Mandela Day, a day South Africans celebrate in honor of our former President who helped bring down the apartheid regime, we decided as a group that we would donate items that would benefit the community and help them keep warm during the harsh winter period. Friends and families were generous in their donations with us collecting a substantial amount items, enough to fill the bin of a double cab bakkie!


Once loaded up on early Saturday morning, our group of 8, in two vehicles set off  on our trek to Sani Pass, making a pit stop in Underberg for some supplies for the nights stay. The Pass still remains an ever growing tourist attraction with many daring to conquer it, whether it be by 4x4, motorbike, bicycle and even your own two feet! It is to be noted that only four wheel drive vehicles are permitted on the pass but some do take their chances. Navigating through the winding gravel road isn't as easy at it would seem with obstacles such as cliff edges, rocks and waterfalls to cross, keeping a good pace, and following the rules of the pass is a must or you could end up in a ditch, as we encountered someone who found them self in one as we were heading up, helping the couple out was our first good deed of the day, once they were freed, we continued the ascent to the summit. 


Being winter, it would be pretty dry but with the cold temperature and snow fall from the previous day, most of the waterfalls towards the top were frozen. We pulled off to join the others who were enjoying the snow and taking pictures at the frozen marvel. This was my first encounter with snow, gathering a handful to make a snowball then realising how cold it actually was, numbing my fingers in a matter of seconds! After a few snaps with the frozen water and fooling around in the snow, it was time to get going again as the summit was close and there was a small matter about a Springbok game to watch at the highest pub in Africa. 

The crew, selfie at Sani Pass
The pub which is situated a the top of Sani Pass is 2874 meters above sea level, a one of a kind establishment which has a limited food menu but quite a good selection of beverages, the most popular being the local Maluti Lager. As said before, the pass is becoming quite popular and with the rugby game being on, it was more busier than some pubs in the city! With daylight still on our side and an unknown road ahead of us, we decided to make the most of our advantage and head for the village of Molumong where St James Missionary was situated in.


There really just was one road we could use and thankfully it was good as new, well some parts were being laid as we drove past thanks to the Chinese contractors who work 7 days a week on it! The road took us though the Thaba-Tseka district which meanders through the mountains, upon which we were greeted by even more snow and iced up roads. It was truly a site to behold, I felt like a kid snapping away pictures of the snow filled mountain side, as much as we wanted to stop, we had to make headway as there was still a long drive waiting for us. 


After about an hour of driving, we finally reached our destination which wasn't as straight forward as it seem as it involved us thumb-sucking a turn onto a gravel road, through the Sehonghong Gorge (which is quite a sight in itself) and eventually arriving at the St James Lodge. It was quite a humbling experience for myself, being used to home comforts, having a look at the lodge didn't bode well for me, for one it didn't have any electricity, no more complaining about load shedding for me! The Lodge was not bad, it just wasn't something I was not used to but no one else in the group minded, it was all about the experience and that's exactly what warmed me up to the place. 


We were practically one with the community, with the Missionary a stone throw away. Meeting the people of the village and seeing the joy and appreciation of the stuff we brought them was heart warming. It really is a struggle for them in remote places like this to get things that we normally take for granted. Spending the night in minus temperatures with just the warmth of a blanket really opened my mind as to what people in areas like this go through, I was still lucky enough to have a decent bed with plenty of blankets, not to mention a roof over my head. Others in the village live in small huts with no access to running water and zinc enclosed outdoor toilets. I couldn't manage to leave the warmth of my bed to use the bathroom in my room, these people have to leave their house to make use of the facility.

Community at St James Missonary
After spending a night there, it was an eye opener to the reality of how others live their lives with whatever little they have and are content with it. Here in our society we have people who have almost everything but still lead unhappy lives because they're always searching or wanting more. If only more people could see life in the way people of this community does, it really would make the world a better place. The heartfelt gratitude shown to us by the members of the Church and the Pastor will be long remembered and made it the highlight of the trip.


As the saying goes, "what goes up, must come down" and as much as I enjoyed my stay there it was time to go home. On the way back we had a lot more time to take in the views and beauty of what Lesotho had to offer. Although it neighbors the Drakensburg Mountain Range, there's something about the Maluti's that make it seem extra special. We even got a chance to play in the snow again! This time I learned my lesson, I wore gloves when handling the ice powder....but then it melted and my gloves got wet, so it didn't really work for me .


Going down Sani Pass is much more tricky than going up as you have gravity pulling you down the steep gradients. You have to be gentle on the brakes as not to over heat them and could cause you unnecessary problems. Luckily most modern vehicles like the ones we were driving with have down hill decent assist which helps keep the car at a steady pace without you having to apply brakes all the time. As we got closer to the east coast, the warmer weather was much welcomed as we peeled off the layers that kept us warm through the morning. Thinking back to what was suppose to be just a fun boys weekend, turned out to be something more, something that will live with me forever, some great memories were made and I hope many more to be made in the future.



Sunday, July 19, 2015

Monday Choon: Martin Garrix vs Matisse & Sadko - Dragon



Martin Garrix really needs no real introduction any more. The Dutch sensation has been entertaining crowds world wide with this electric sounds and fast paced melodies. His stuff is always new and fresh, what makes him even more great is his ability to work with others on tracks so well. Whether he's colaborating with a big name like Tiesto or lesser known DJ's like today's featured song, Matisse & Sadko, he still manages to help produce a song thats of the same calibre. Dragon seems to be part 1 of a music video story with part 2 being another song by this colab, entitled Break Through the Silence.

                      

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Bucket Seat: BMW 218i Active Tourer


When the car arrived in my driveway, the first thing that came to mind was, "at least the colour is nice", yes BMW's new 2 Series Active Tourer isn't going to win any beauty pageants but it issues a new frontier for the company as it's the first time that they've made something like this. Renowned for building luxurious, sporting and of recent recreational SUV's, BMW has never been one for making a, well lets call a spade a spade, so a "soccer moms" car. There's a lot of things in this car that is quite different, for example its the first time BMW has made a front wheel drive vehicle and the car comes with normal tyres with a half size spare wheel, no run flats like the rest of the BMW model range. Any normal car enthusiast reading this would think the German Manufacturer has lost the plot, or have they?


Style
Lets start off with the elephant in the room, its not a looker, as I said, I was more satisfied with the colour when I first saw it than the design itself. It was "Imperial Blue Brilliant Effect" just in case you were wondering. Even though it looks odd, I think the designers did a great job if scrutinise the finer details of the car. The tail lights and head lamps are magnificently designed, and the odd bubble like shape is due to the massive cabin space which we will discuss a bit later. 


Comfort
The 2 Series Active Tourer is built on the same platform as the Mini 5 Door hatch, quite cleverly styled, the designers at BMW created a car that looks small but is actually quite big and spacious both on the outside and inside. Focusing on the interior, keeping to BMW's design philosophy the car's interior is simple but classy, the finishing is of great quality and with the extra height, this sees the center unit changed a bit with a handy tray compartment to story keys, remotes, loose change or even a mobile phone. The elevated seating position is excellent for the drivers visibility and the seats, still sporty with body hugging leather lumbar support is designed to maximise space in the cabin so it doesn't feel cumbersome. In terms of leg room, even for a tall person like myself, there was a lot! The ride quality remains unchanged when compared to other models and that for me is the winner, given the size and aerodynamic challenges they must have faced when designing this car, it handles like a dream.


Performance
The 218i comes with a 1.5ltr, 3 cylinder, twins croll turbo charged engine, very similar to the ones found in the Mini Cooper, delivering 100kW and 220Nm of torque. Power that you'd think would be sufficient for a car of this size but upon take off I found it to be a bit lacking. Could be the unladen body weight of 1.4 tons that's slowing it down as the 0-100kph time of 9.2 seconds is nothing to write home about. However when this baby is up to speed, it's very hard to slow it down, even when going up hill, it maintains speed like a charm, the 6 speed automatic gear box doesn't go mental trying to down change all the time as speed is kept while in high gear with the help of the turbo, this was yet another thing that made me give it top marks. 


Storage
The real users of the cars would most probably be soccer moms, or stay at home moms. The ones that drop the kids off at school, run errands and do a whole lot of running around and for that, this car is perfect! The boot space is massive with 468 liters to your disposal and if that isn't enough, a simple flick of the switch drops the back seats to increase the capacity to 1510 liters! You can even fit 4 bags of golf clubs with ease in there! The glove box or "cubby hole" as it's more affectionately called in South Africa is large enough to store a few cans in there, perhaps even a 6 pack of 330ml's, why I bring this is cup is because you can have the aircon in there so you can keep your cool drink cold (I said cool drink, not alcoholic beverages).


Extras
The car didn't come with a lot of extras as I'm used to but it had enough to make me happy. The two I liked the most was the full glass panoramic sunroof. The roof is practically all glass and whether you're driving during the day or under a starlit sky, it makes for a breath taking drive. The other extra which came in very handy was the automatic tailgate, the boot lid is rather big and I'd presume heavy as well but with a touch of a button is opens and closes. I'd suggest to get this option with comfort access to allow the driver keyless access. Other extras included LED headlamps with extended corners, the light package which is super cool at night and Park Assist PDC.


Verdict
This car was built to rival models such as the Mercedes Benz B-Class and the new VW Golf SV, and in such attracts a very niche market in terms of buyers. I think what BMW have come up with isn't bad and will give these two and others which are similar a big run for their money. Brand loyalist will give it a try and find out that besides the odd looks, it really is still a BMW underneath it all. I did make mention that it would be perfectly suited for mothers but in reality while have the car,  lot of people were surprised with it, mostly the space inside, also for the older folk that have trouble getting into cars that are much lower, the elevated seating is perfect for it. The styling grows on you after a while and even though it may not be every ones cup of tea, it really is a good.


Specifications
  • 1.5 litre, 3 cylinder twin scroll turbo charged engine
  • 6 speed automatic gear box
  • 100kW
  • 220Nm torque
  • Consumption: 5.1ltr/ 100km
  • Top Speed: 205kph
  • 0-100kph: 9.2 seconds 
  • Price: R398 900 (excluding extras)



Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Doritos Jacked!


Something BIGGER, BOLDER and THICKER just hit the shelves of SA's supermarkets this week, its the all new Doritos Jacked! The new range from everyones favourite triangle shaped crispy tortila chip is sure to be on everyones shopping list. Besides being almost 3 times bigger than your normal Doritos, its also thicker which adds to the crunch and with the two new bold flavours, Spicy Nacho and Smokey Hot BBQ, its bound to be a taste sensation in your mouth!


Yesterday I recieved my two packets of the new Doritos Jacked in a nifty party box, with its own red carpet and disco ball! It was to announce that with the introduction of Doritos Jacked, they're giving away a trip to Ibiza for you and 3 friends! How awesome is that? All you have to do is sms the last for digits of the bar code on your Doritos Jacked packet of chips to the number provided and if you're lucky enough, you and 3 mates could be jetting off to Ibiza!


For more information, check the Doritos Facebook Page or follow them on Twitter @DoritosSA, Terms and Conditions apply, you can find them here: T&C's

Monday, July 13, 2015

Monday Choon: Above & Beyond feat. Gemma Hayes - Counting Down The Days


Its a moody start to the week and generally everyone is on a low after the weekend so today's featured track is the new one Above & Beyond which comes off their latest album "We all we need". Featuring the soothing vocals of Gemma Hayes, the song remains uplifting and has the mellow beats we're used to from the trance legends. The official music video was just released 2 days ago as well. 

                    

Monday, July 6, 2015

Monday Choon: Armin van Buuren feat. Mr. Probz - Another You (Mark Sixma Remix)


Probably one of the stand out singles of recent from Armin van Buuren is his track with Mr Probz which has hit most radio stations and top 40 charts. It's one of my favourites as well but as much as I like the original, one of the up and coming DJ's Mark Sixma whom AvB is a massive fan of has bumped up the track a bit. The video below is the festival version which AvB played live at Ultra Music Festival in Miami, enjoy!

                     

Friday, July 3, 2015

Bucket Seat: The new BMW 7 Series


Couple weeks back BMW lifted the covers on the much anticipated new 7 series, being the flagship model from the German manufacturer, a lot of what the car has to offer now will be filtered into future models. The car has changed a lot from concept stages which is sad as I quite liked the look of the Vision, it was bold and different where as the new 7 doesn't look that much different from its predecessor, okay it is slightly bigger and bolder but not striking like the concept. Guess I'm just upset about that part. 


But its good to see BMW didn't drop most of the gadgets and cool stuff, hand gestures are a real thing, touch control aircon, laser lights, remote control park which is damn cool! The body structure is made from a new carbon fibre re-inforced plastic compound that has reduced weight of the car significantly, almost by 130kgs! An all new engine line up which includes a 740e plug in hybrid.


Being bigger, the cars comforts levels have been improved with increased space for passengers. Staying on the inside, as always there will be a host of interior trims, colours and textures to chose from. There is an executive lounge option for the car that comes with automatic 4 zone air conditioning, electrically adjustable seats with massage functionality with a foot rest. Other features include a fold out table, extra cup holders and a removable 7" tablet that fits onto the center console and controls all the functions stated.


Anyway as cool as the back may sound, its up front is where the action is. Gesture control as mentioned before is a big one, for now it's limited to things such as audio control and phone calls. The infotainment screen is now touch sensitive so you can control it like an iPad. Standard iDrive toggles will still be available if you chose to still do things the old school way.


There's still loads to this car that I haven't even begun to talk about and I'm sure there's more we will learn about it as we wait for local launch which could be early next year. As much as I am disappointed with the cars exterior design, there's no denying that they have made up for it in abundance every where else. Like I said, most of what we seeing here will be phased into the BMW's of the future as BMW Group's Senior Vice President, Adiran van Hooydonk said "At BMW we believe the future can be predicted most effectively if we're helping to shape it. The primary objective in the development of the new car was to create a vision of modern luxury and to exceed our customers expectations."