Ultimate & beer are irrevocably linked. Ever since my 1st taste of craft beer at a tournament in Singapore, I rarely enjoy one without the other. But Ultimate, you ask, Ultimate what?
Ultimate is a competitive sport played with a plastic disc by a tight-knit community, relentlessly passionate about their sport. Non-players readily associate the sport with dogs, afros, too-short shorts and sweatbands.
The game of Ultimate is played on a field roughly the size of a rugby field, by 2 co-ed teams who are each allowed 7 players at a time per point. Score a point by moving the disc into the opposition’s end zone, but don’t drop the disc or move when you have it.
Even at competitive levels Ultimate has no referees, so players are people of character and depth, like a well brewed beer.
It was with Ultimate’s values being so similar to craft beer’s that Cape Town-based Ultimate player, Sandra Jordaan, approached Devil’s Peak Brewing Company earlier this year to request the sponsorship of a Women’s Only Ultimate team for a demo game at a mixed-gender tournament called Rocktober.
The team was aptly named Devil’s Peaks (mull it over, it will come to you).It was, alas, but a demo game.
Last weekend, however, the Devil’s Peaks reunited at Villagers Football Club to play in the inaugural Open & Women’s Nationals Championships hosted by Cape Town-based 2013 National Champion team Ghost.
The Women’s Division was made up of team Luna Chicks from Joburg and teams Huck Off and Devil’s Peaks, both from Cape Town. The Open Divison featured beer-loving teams, the likes of HomeBru and OuBru.
In the Women’s Division Devil’s Peaks beat Luna Chicks in the 1st round robin, but lost by 1 point in the 2nd. Against Huck Off Devil’s Peak came up short in both rounds, but due to a superior points differential met them again in the final.
The final was a nail-biter with Devil’s Peaks harnessing the Cape Doctor and scoring the first point against the wind. They held a razor-thin lead for most of the game, but with time almost out, the score was tied at 8 all.
The wind was howling and caused Devil’s Peaks no less than 7 turnovers in the end-zone on which Huck Off capitalised to clinch the game with a not-truly-representative 10-8.
Craft beer was the prize of choice during the closing ceremony, with HomeBru – the winner in the Open Division – walking away with a stash of Devil’s Peak Brewing Company’s finest.
Ultimate tournaments also award Spirit Prizes to the team who was, for all intents and purposes, the most fun to play against. The winners, team Maties from Stellenbosch University, also walked off with quality Devil’s Peak craft beer for their quality effort.
But no tournament is complete without a kick-ass after party. Following the closing ceremony the crowd departed to the Beer House on Long to celebrate a tournament well fought.
The good people at Beer House sponsored the revellers a keg of Stellenbrau – cheers to that.
Hopefully craft brewers will recognise the potential in Ultimate as a niche sport that needs a friend in beer. Find out more about Ultimate in Cape Town or the South African Ultimate Scene.