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Review: Bustle, beer (and more) at the Wagon Trail Brewery

When the Bouma family opened this microbrewery on the Anura Wine Estate, they wanted to honour the site’s history. There, at the foothills on the Simonsberg Mountains, ox wagons used to pass on the original route to reach the trading post at Cape Town Harbour in the early 1800s.

Cut to the present, and the Wagon Trail Brewery has certainly added new life to the area. In winter, visitors settle in the saloon-style tap room to sample the craft beers brewed on site. In summer, families spill out onto the deck overlooking the lily pond. Locals take part in their popular monthly night trail runs, which are followed by live music and a generally festive foodie vibe. And in rugby season, all eyes are glued to the big-screen TV, with breaks for beers and bites.

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A view of the distillery equipment at the Wagon Trail Brewery. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Graham Howe stopped by to sample the tastes and soak up the atmosphere.

Food

The focus is on earthy, artisanal farm fare – think things like wild boar salami, beef bresaola, and the estate’s own Manchego and marisch cheeses – and the portions are wholesome and generous.

Comfort food inspired by the Southern smokehouse tradition tempts with options like authentic, smoky-sticky chicken wings, porker pops, BBQ ribs and pulled-pork sandwiches with crunchy slaw. The slow-roasted lamb bitterballen with mustard tzatziki is a signature starter.

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A burger, chips and a beer at the Wagon Trail Brewery. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

If you manage to pass up on one of the mouth-watering (grass-fed) beef burgers piled with oak-smoked bacon, cheese and a soft-poached farm egg, the chalkboard announces the cut of the day: aged wagyu steak (rib-eye, rump or sirloin) served with all the trimmings, from béarnaise and horseradish butter to beer-battered onion rings and hand-cut fries. There’s not much for vegetarians, I’m afraid, unless you go with the cheese platter.

Room for desserts? You’ve got to be kidding me!

Wine

Anura’s own on-tap ales and lagers, brewed in the gleaming copper pot stills visible in the tap room, compete with the estate’s award-winning wines by the glass or bottle at cellar-door prices.

Different brews at the Wagon Trail Brewery. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Various brews at the Wagon Trail Brewery. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Service

Attentive and on the ball with good advice on not-to-be missed sides.

Ambience

Bring along the family and slide into the plush booths in the comfort of an American-style smokehouse with a giant flat-screen television for sports days. Or sit on the stoep and enjoy the fresh Winelands air.

A view of the bar at the Wagon Trail Brewery. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

A view of the bar at the Wagon Trail Brewery. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

And …

Share a platter of cheese and meats from the estate’s Forest Hill Cheesery and 12 Pigs charcuterie.

Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read the editorial policy here.

Have you been to Wagon Trail Brewery? Let us know what you thought of the experience by writing a review.

The seating at the Wagon Trail Brewery. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

The table layout at the Wagon Trail Brewery. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

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