Where to drink craft beer

Craft beer is the drinks trend on everyone’s lips these days. Artisan beer tends to be brewed with natural ingredients and fermented the slow, smooth way – not speedily cooked up with chemicals like so many commercial offerings. The local brews tend to be free of preservatives and additives, are wrapped in much more beautiful packaging, and sometimes even come in bigger bottles. By ordering local you can do your bit for the small guys, and – if you really need more convincing – the beers are darn delicious. Here’s where to order your favourite pale ale, dark malt or tangy pilsener with your meal.

Birkenhead Breweries
Background: Walker Bay Estate is a small but growing wine and brewing estate based near Standford in the Western Cape. All beers are filtered and pasteurised and have a nine-month shelf life. Product range: Premium Lager, Honey Blonde Ale, Pride, Birkenhead Pilsner, Chocolate Malt Stout, Black Snake.
Available in Western Cape at: Backsberg Estate, Bientang’s Cave, Café Cameleon, De Oude Bank Bakkerij, Europa Coffee Shop, Gecko Bar, Jimmy’s Killer Prawns (Somerset West), Knead Bakery (Newlands), La Perla, La Vierge Restaurant, Milkwood, Neighbourgoods Market, Oak ‘n Vigne, Pascal’s Country Kitchen, Peccadillos, The Post House, Quayside Cabin and Wijnhuis Stellenbosch and Newlands.
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Boston Breweries
Background: Chief brewer Chris Barnard opened Boston Breweries in 2000 after falling in love with the beer he tasted in Europe. All Boston Breweries products are naturally brewed using malted barley, water, yeast and hops, and each batch is tasted by the owner. (A tough job.) Based in Paarden Eiland, Cape Town.
Product range: Whale Tale Ale, Naked Mexican, Hazzard Ten Ale, Johnny Gold Weiss, Boston Lager and Van Hunks Pumpkin Ale.
Available in Western Cape at (amongst others): Alexander Bar & CaféBanana Jam Café, Beleza, Die Damhuis Restaurant, Die Strandloper Restaurant, El Burro, F.East, The Foodbarn, La Masseria, Majeka House, Manna Epicure, Neighborgoods Market, Pancho’s, The Roundhouse, San Julian Taco & Tequila, Societi Bistro and Societi Brasserie.
In Durban: Arts Café
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Citizen Beers
Background: Citizen, run by passionate beer fan Gary Pnematicatos, started last April and has been growing ever since. With a focus on great tasting beer styles that are slightly different from the standard fare, Citizen Beers use best quality products to produce beer ‘made with honour’. In Alliance Amber Ale – a style invented in the States in the 90s – roasted malts, Cascade hops, water, and ale yeast were used.
Product: Alliance, an American-style amber ale. (Saboteur IPA is coming soon.)
Available on tap in Cape Town at: Aces ‘n Spades, Banana Jam Café, Bird’s Nest Café, Clarke’s, El Burro, Neighbourhood, The Power and the Glory, Royale Eatery & KitchenThe Waiting Room.
In Joburg at: Chalkboard Collaboration Café.
In bottles: Burrata, Lion’s Head, Loading Bay, Superette, Tjing Tjing and Warwick Wine Estate.
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Darling Brew
Background: Philippa and Kevin Wood caught the beer bug while touring Africa in 2007 and hired chief brewer Chris Barnard to contract brew for them shortly afterwards. Made with the ‘slow beer’ philosophy, all beers enjoy a slow fermentation process. The products’ profiles and package design are inspired by African animals such as the Verreaux’s eagle, spotted hyena, honey badger, loggerhead turtles and geometric tortoise.
Product range: Native Ale, Slow Beer Golden Lager, Bone Crusher Wit Beer, Black Mist Dark Ale, Silver Back Wheat Beer, and the Christmas Edition (seasonal) with nutmeg and cinnamon.
Available in Cape Town at: Alexander Bar, Aubergine, Banana Jam Café, Bardellis (Kloof Street), Blakes Bar, Clarke’s, Dear Me, El burro, The Five Flies, The Foodbarn, Gourmet Boerie, Massimo’s, The Roundhouse, Sotana, Vovo Telo (V&A), The Power and The Glory and Van Hunks.
In Gauteng at: Ami, Corner Café, Cornuti (Illovo), De Kloof Restaurant, Eatery JHB, Il Giardino, The Leopard, Neighbourgoods Market, Odd Café and Wolves Cafe.
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Devil’s Peak Brewery
Background: The brewery was founded as response to the beer culture in SA and a desire to share the exciting developments in the craft beer realm around the world. Their aim is to produce ‘brews unlike any other beer you’re likely to find in South Africa’, mostly US and Belgian-style beers. All products are made locally from high quality ingredients from Europe and America.
Product range: The King’s Blockhouse Indian Pale Ale, Woodhead Amber Ale, First Light Golden Ale, Silvertree Saison.
Available in Cape Town and surrounds at: Banana Jam, Barristers, Bay Harbour Market, Burrata, Dorp Street Deli, El Burro, Galbi Restaurant, Henri’s Restaurant, Jason Bakery, Jordan Restaurant, La Boheme Bistro, Loading Bay, Manna Epicure, Maria’s, Merchants Café, Origin Coffee Roasting, Overture, Reuben’s Restaurant and Bar, The Roundhouse, Sotano by Caveau, The Power and the Glory, The Slug and Lettuce (Kloof St), The Test Kitchen, Truth Coffee, Twankey Bar, Upper Eastside Hotel, The Woodlands Eatery, and Van Hunks.
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Jack Black
Background: Jack Black’s is a Cape Town-based craft beer company established in 2007. Inspired by traditional recipes from America to England, Jack Black beers are crafted with care in small batches through a slow brewing process. No additives or preservatives.
Product range: Brewers Reserve Classic Lager, Pale Ale and Pilsner.
Available at (amongst others) in Johannesburg: Ami, Chalkboard Café, Corner Café, Cornuti (Illovo), Dukes, The Foundry, Good Luck Club, Great Dane, Hogshead Pub, HQ, Irene Village Market, Rocket, Munch Café, Polpetta, salvationcafé, and Wolves.
Available at (amongst others) in Cape Town: Birds Café, Bistrot Bizerca, The Foodbarn, Hudson’s, Nook Eatery, Raw Café, Spier Wine Estate and Warwick Wine Estate.
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Background: Mitchell’s Brewery was started in 1983 in Knysna by Lex Mitchell. He started off brewing only Forester’s Lager and Bosun’s Bitter to be distributed in Knysna. The current brewmaster, Dave McRae, started brewing for Mitchell’s in 1984. Since then five beers have been added to their repertoire, as well as a pure apple cider. Mitchell’s beers are completely natural, made with 100% barley, water, hops and yeast and contain no artificial preservatives or chemicals.
Product range: Forester’s Lager, Bosun’s Bitter, Ninety Shilling, Raven Stout, Old Wobbly, Milk & Honey, Millwood Mild, Mitchell’s Cider.
Available in Knysna at: 34 Tapas and Oyster Restaurant, Crab’s Creek Tavern and Dry Dock.
In Gauteng: Berlin Pub and Restaurant, Carver’s, Cornuti, Da Vincenzo, The Foundry, The Griffin, Hogshead, Keg & Countryman, McGinty’sMo-Zam-Bik, Mythos Design Quarter, Pimento Bistro, Radium Beer Hall, Rocket, Throbbing Strawberry and Troyeville Hotel.
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Shongweni Brewery
Background: Robson’s range of unique, locally brewed, globally inspired handcrafted beers uses fine ingredients, natural processes, and no artificial additives. Based in the Valley of a Thousand Hills, in KwaZulu-Natal.
Product range: East Coast Ale, Wheat Beer, Fruit Beer, Durban Pale Ale, West Coast Ale, Vintage Ale 2010, Draft Beer.
Available in Durban and surrounds at: Shongweni Brewery Estate, Unity Brasserie stocks Cowbell Pilsner (their own branded Robson’s), Bellevue Café, Caversham Mill, Corner Café, Giba Café and Steak and Ale.
In Johannesburg: The Foundry
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Background: Triggerfish Brewing, based in Somerset West, started full grain brewing in 2007 and since then has built three breweries. Hand crafted fine ales are made in small batches using only premium malt, hops, yeast and water with no additives or preservatives.
Product range: Sweetlips Golden/Blonde Ale, Great Weiss, Bonito Bombshell Buchu Blonde, Ocean Potion Pale Ale, Roman Red Ale, Englishman Mild Brown Ale, Hammerhead India Pale Ale and Black Bass Oatmeal stout, Titan Imperial India Pale Ale, Black Marlin Russian Imperial Stout, and Empowered Stout (in winter)
Available at: Triggerfish Brewery Taproom, Banana Jam Café, De Oude Bank Bakkerij, Stellenbosch Slowmarket and Yamas Greek Restaurant. (now closed)
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New brewers to watch: Valley Brewery based in Kommetjie, Quills in Botha’s Hill, Three Skulls Brew Works in Sandton and De Garve Brewery in Vanderbijlpark. Buy their brews online here.

By Linda Scarborough

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