With a menu boasting over 99 beers and a host of beer-friendly dishes, The BeerHouse seems to be succeeding where wine bars have failed. It’s the creation of German techie, Randalf Jorberg, who spotted a gap in the South African restaurant market for a speciality beer venue with beer-friendly food. And it’s been packed since its opening on 2 August.
The reason to visit is the range of beers, but the food ain’t half bad either. Chips are a triumph: golden brown, crispy on the outside, creamy and perfectly cooked in the centre and served with mayo and tomato ketchup, they are everything a chip aspires to be. More substantial dishes include flammkuchen – essentially a very thin, oblong pizza – made with thin beer-based dough and topped with some pretty rich toppings such as smoked bacon, feta and onion marmalade, or biltong, oyster mushrooms and blue cheese. A prego steak roll is beautifully tender, circumventing that age-old steak roll quandary of soft roll and too-chewy meat, and bitterballen are rich and fairly tasty – though the batter is a mite too thick.
“An extreme beer rollercoaster for freaks, gypsies and international chess superstars” reads the description of the Brewdog Hardcore, a Scottish beer on the menu. Actually, this description serves as a fitting description of the BeerHouse experience as a whole. With over 99 bottled beers on offer, the menu makes glorious reading for beer fans. Fancy something with notes of caramel, guava, granadilla or vanilla? Want to drink local craft, or opt for a brew from Germany, England, USA, Australia or Sweden? Feeling adventurous? Try the juniper-infused brew, a Belgian beer blended with strawberry juice, a peach malt brew or a cherry beer brewed with wild yeast. All the beers are displayed on the wall above the bar – including one Chinese beer that comes in a Buddha-shaped bottle – in case you’d like to choose your beer by its appearance.
There are also 16 beers available on tap, served from cold room-facing taps so that the beer travels the minimum distance from barrel to tap.
In the event that you’re not enamoured of beer (this happens sometimes, we’re told), there is also a range of ciders, spirits, soft drinks, coffees and wine (Groote Post, D’Aria and Miss Molly bubbles).
Buzzing and friendly, this is a great place to head to after work with like-minded colleagues, or to start the evening before you head out. The crowd is a happy mix of students, twenty/thirty-somethings, business people, hipsters and even the occasional spaced-out Long Street hemp-wearing hippy.
Décor is hip and bold – wall decals scrawl across exposed brick, beside bright yellow booths and benches. Chandeliers made of hanging beer bottles illuminate the space – which is not as dark as you might expect for an establishment of this kind – something that serves to keep the atmosphere light and friendly.
This is a busy spot, but waitors are fast, friendly and helpful, taking the orders on custom iPods.
A keg table on the balcony affords patrons the opportunity to pour their own.