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10 craft beers in the Cape you have try this summer

The increasing production of craft beer – in quality and quantity – has made it difficult for beer drinkers to decide on a drink of choice.

Attending the Thousand Sensations Craft Beer and Food Festival [1] gave me some great insight. These are my top suggestions for both novice and advanced beer drinkers looking for that perfect easy-drinking beer.

Craft beer in South Africa

My beer tasting glass at the Thousand Sensations Craft Beer and Food Festival 2017.

The craft beer scene in South Africa has been around for some time, but it’s still gaining momentum. A variety of breweries are still opening up, reviving classics in bold and experimental ways. The market is competitive and puts South Africa as one of the leading countries on the continent pioneering craft beer.

I attended the Thousand Sensation Craft Beer and Food festival in Wildnerness Knysna a few weeks ago and had the opportunity to try an amazing variety of delicious and locally produced beer which left me confused: what beer am I to drink this summer? I’m no purist nor an advanced beer drinker either. So while at the festival, I relied on my taste as an entry level beer drinker and advice from beer lovers around me to curate a list of beers you have to try this summer.

The Thousand Sensations Craft Beer Festival started four years ago by Alewijn Dippenaar as a birthday party. He’s a beer-lover who brought other beer-lovers together and it was attended by 926 people. After this successful birthday party, Alewijn says people asked him to think seriously about turning it into an annual festival. Now, the festival attracts locals from the region and this year hosted over 43 breweries with more than 170 handcrafted beers.

 

10 craft beers to look out for this summer

Whether you are an advanced beer drinker or a novice these are the local beers to look out for this summer.

 

1. The Black Dog, Wild Clover.

I’ll start this list with Alewijn’s favourite beer, The Black Dog, a Porter produced by Wild Clover Brewery. It’s a beer infused with chocolate and coffee. At first, this beer will confound your taste buds because it tastes like fizzy coffee with a chocolate scent. It hardly drinks like a beer, at least to me, and coffee enthusiasts will find it pleasantly surprising. The coffee taste is not sharp and the fizziness of the beer smoothes it out. I also loved the subtle and delightful chocolate scent.

Visit the brewery: Taste it at Wild Clover Farm on the R304 in Stellenbosch.
Contact: Tel 0213000370, wildclover.co.za [2]

 

2. The Atlantic Storm, Black Tempest.

Much like The Port by Wild Clover Brewery, this beer is also coffee-infused. This one is a stout though, which means the hint of roasted barley brings out the coffee flavour a bit more. This beer is brewed with Tribe Espresso beans and won a silver medal at the South African National Beer Trophy Awards [3] this year.
Contact: They are in the process of setting up a brewery. Make sure to follow The Atlantic Storm [4] on Facebook [5] for updates on the Brewery, news on their latest products and places where you can get their beers.

 

3. Blonde, Sedgefield Craft Brewery.

As a real novice beer drinker, I found this Blonde the easiest and smoothest to drink. If you want to start drinking craft beer, or beer in general, this is how to start. It’s smooth and doesn’t overwhelm with bitterness – ideal for a hot day of easy drinking.
Visit the brewery: Scarab Village, off the N2 at Sedgefield (between Goerge and Knysna).
Contact: 0829014268, sedgefieldbrewery.co.za [6]

 

4. The Atlantic Storm, Buccaneer.

The Atlantic Storm Brewery was popular with a few of the festival goers. They have an experimental approach that both confuses the palate and indulges it, all at once. These are the guys to look out for. The Buccaneer is infused with orange, spiced rum and vanilla.
Contact: They are in the process of setting up a brewery. Make sure to follow The Atlantic Storm [4] on Facebook [5] for updates on the Brewery, news on their latest products and places where you can get their beers.

 

5. Valve India Pale Ale, Riot.

This Pale Ale is an ideal summer drink because of its citrus and fruity taste. The fruitiness is balanced out by the classic beer bitter hop finish that’s not overwhelming. It’s smooth to drink and so refreshing. This beer won a gold medal at the South African National Beer Trophy Awards [3] this year.

Visit the brewery: Riot Brewery [7] pride themselves in making ‘loud beer for the thrill seeker’, make sure to visit their brewery in Woodstock, 145 Sir Lowry Road, for the Valve IPA and other beers.
Contact: 0791643798, riotbeer.co.za [7]

 

6. Milk & Honey Ale, Mitchell’s Brewing.

Mitchell’s Breweries have been on the craft beer scene for a while and if their slogan is anything to go by, they seem to take a great deal of pride in this; ‘the craft beer that started craft beer’. I found their Honey and Milk Ale delicious and it has a distinct taste with a scent of honey, which I especially enjoyed.

Visit the brewery: To taste their Honey & Milk Ale and other craft beers, visit them at 10 New Street in Knysna.
Contact: mitchellsbrewing.com [8]

 

7. Two Rand Men, Richmond Hill Brewing Co. (RHBC).

Beer enthusiast Shae Leigh – follow her Instagram account for all things beer at Hops On Hops Off [9] – recommended this one. She says, ‘Imagine your tongue being moisturised’. This beer is delicious and so, so smooth, drinking it felt like the act salivating. This beer also a special story behind it. It was named after a homeless man who used to roam the streets in Port Elizabeth joyously singing. It’s said that regardless of how much people offered him, he only took two rands and nothing more. One day he disappeared and no one has heard of his whereabouts since and people didn’t know his name. Richmond Hill Brewing Company named the beer in his honour, Two Rand Man.
Visist the brewery:Visit the Richmond Hill Brewing Company to taste a variety of their beers at 2 Alabaster Street, Baakens Valley in Port Elizabeth.
Contact: Follow Richmond Hill Brewing Co. [10] on Facebook, 0783965485.

 

8. Devil’s Peak Brewery, First Light Golden Ale

This First Light Golden Ale is another top summer drink and it’s perfect for people who aren’t advanced beer drinkers. I loved the summery, tropical taste and aroma. Devil’s Peak Brewery is also making waves in the craft beer scene and was also popular at the festival. They’re currently expanding and opening another taproom and brewery.

Devil’s Peak Brewery in Salt River has a nice restaurant where you can order a nice meal to go with the beer.

Visit the brewery: Devil’s Peak Brewery has a great brewery with a restaurant and taste room in Cape Town at 95 Durham Avenue.
Contact: 0212005818, devilspeakbrewing.co.za [11]

 

9. Dragon Brewing Company, Fiery Dragon

This list, much like the festival, would’ve been incomplete for me without ginger beer! To my delight, the Dragon Brewing Company specialise in brewing ginger beer. Their Fiery Dragon is strong and delicious, the way ginger beer should be. It tastes a bit like the one my grandmother used to make growing up, except with an alcohol twist. It’s perfect served ice cold on a hot summer day or at room temperature on a cold rainy day in front of a fire. Warren Harries-Jones fermented it in his garage three years ago, launched it at markets and local beer festivals around the country.
Contact: They don’t have a brewery open for tastings, but their ginger beer is sold in over 2000 outlets. Get in touch with them through dragonbrewingco.co.za [12] or 0620787986.

 

10. Everson’s Cider, Pomegranate Cider

Purists reading this are probably grudging over the addition of a cider in an article about beer. But this cider – and Everson’s Ciders in general – is so tasty and exciting, I just had to spread the word. Everson’s Cider is known for making delicious ciders from fresh apples grown in Elgin and Pomegranate Cider is their latest addition. This particular cider has an apple base and is infused with pomegranate juice. I found it a bit filling, which makes it an ideal drink if you want to enjoy easy sipping.

Visit brewery: If you’re ever in the Elgin region, visit Everson’s Cider and taste their delicious ciders. The region is known for its apples and you can find them at 2281 Essenhout Avenue, Swannie River in Grabouw.
Contact: info@eversonscider.com, eversonscider.com [13]

 

Please comment below telling us what your favourite drink is this summer (for going out, a picnic,
or a braai). We’d love to know how you’re cooling down this summer.