Howzit Brew? A brew route around Gauteng

Posted on 24 June 2011

Six breweries, 23 beers, three days!

If these sound like the ideal ingredients for a weekend jaunt near Johannesburg, then this is the blog post for you. Our beer trip had started earlier in the week with a visit to the Clarens Brewery (coming soon in a separate post) but it was on the Gauteng and North West leg of our ale trail that things started getting serious.

Starting south, we dropped in at De Garve Brewery in Vanderbijlpark. Here, Belgian-born brewmaster Patrick Van den Bon treated us to samples of his English-inspired bitter, excellent Belgian beers and a speciality fruit beer, brewed at most once a year when the harvest allows. After an hour-long tasting session in the mini pub adjoining his home, we left with a 12-pack of his beers (something for the designated driver, me, to enjoy at our backpackers later that day).

With a tame warm up complete, day two brought the serious sampling – a quartet of stops beginning with one of SA’s longest-running craft breweries, Drayman’s. Just outside Pretoria, Drayman’s has been churning out a tasty range of brews for 11 years, their beers found on taps across Gauteng. We were lucky enough to drop by while Moritz Kallmeyer was brewing, and lapped up the sweet and always wonderful aroma of malt, hops and water simmering away in a mash tun. Our beer tasting would take place later with a six pack of takeaway brews ranging from a smoky Rauchbier and a German-inspired Weissbier to an English ale and an easy-drinking pilsner-style beer. Our first sample of the day was actually a finger full of freshly distilled (and highly lethal) mampoer, followed by a sip of smooth single malt whisky – quite a breakfast! (Keep reading the blog for more on Drayman’s Distillery)

From here we headed west to the ever-charming Cullinan with its row of utterly quaint cafes, pubs and restaurant. Sitting squarely in the centre of Oak Street, The Cockpit Brewhouse is a welcome addition to the Cullinan culinary scene. Five craft brews on tap (plus a cider from Clarens) and an exquisite menu designed to pair perfectly with your pint – Cockpit is my idea of a picture-perfect piece of paradise. All beer palates are catered for, but as a hophead starved of brews that really pack a punch, the Mustang American Pale Ale was my preferred pint. Never have I been more distraught to be driving and I was all but ready to ditch our digs in Hartbeespoort and check into a local guest house. But I sipped a little, bought some takeaway, had the best pie this side of Britain and vowed to be back soon for a weekend of ale-friendly food, superb staff and a passionate host in the form of aptly-named brewmaster André de Beer.

Next time: Howzit Brew? Part two – three more breweries, eight more beers.


DeGarve Brewery and Trading

Tel 083-304-0197

Drayman’s Brewery

Tel 012-804-8800

The Cockpit Brewhouse

Tel 012-734-0656


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