It used to be an easy job, keeping the list of South African microbreweries up to date. Not any longer. Breweries are opening all over the place and while I try to keep my database of licenced, functioning breweries and beer companies up to date, there’s a chance that while I was typing this paragraph, a new one opened somewhere. (If you’re interested, I have 151 confirmed breweries/contract brewers on my current list – if you have more on yours, I’d love to hear from you!)
Anyway, in the interests of trying to keep the blog up to date and to give you the most current information, here’s a rundown of some new stuff that’s going on. First up, the West Coast has a new brewery. Black Eagle Brewing Company launched with little fanfare late last year. I alas haven’t had the chance to get up there yet, but some beer friends popped by recently and were impressed with what they found. Right in the centre of Langebaan it’s a small tap room with a patio and a little shop selling awesome merchandise (including women’s shirts – huzzah!). There are a whopping 10 beers on the menu (at least on the website), including some pretty brave choices for a first-brewpub-in-town – think Berliner weisse, saison, IPA and Christmas ale, though you won’t find all 10 available at the same time. I got to sample four of the brews this week – the witbier, Belgian pale ale, red ale and the sweet stout. The red was definitely my pick of the bunch, though I would like a bit more hop nose for it to live up to its name, Hoppy in Love.
On the other side of Cape Town, Hout Bay now has its first brewery. Urban Brewing Company opened its doors/taps at the start of March and is already seeing some thirsty traffic through its doors. Situated next to the Bay Harbour Market, the place really buzzes on market days. The decor lives up to the brewery’s name – bare brick, concrete and copper piping are core components. At the moment only half of the four planned beers are available, plus a somewhat sweet cider. Drop in for a pint of Judas Peak Blonde or the refreshing and very easy-drinking Talisman Weiss and order a pizza from the excellent Massimo’s, which will be delivered to your table.
Now onto a couple of well-established breweries that have a new offering. Red Sky Brew out in Gordon’s Bay launched their tap room last year, but I haven’t had chance to get out there until this week. It’s a simple spot, where you can sip on Red Sky’s range of beers while watching the brewer in action mere metres away. There are big plans afoot here – look out for a restaurant opening in the unit next door in the next few months. The taproom is currently open Monday to Friday, 11am-3pm.
Back in Cape Town, Harfield Beer Company also looks totally different from when I last visited a year ago. Harfield’s six beers are available for tasting, alongside seasonal specials. Prop up the bar or grab a table and join in with a game of darts (and indeed, if you ask for the darts on arrival, a bullseye gets you a free beer!). The tap room is currently open Thursday and Friday, 3pm-7pm but there are plans to add a Saturday session to the list. In fact there are plenty of big plans underway here, with some shiny fermenters and other brewing gadgets due to be installed in the next few weeks.
Very close to Harfield, also in Diep River, a larger brewery is also now up and running. Jack Black Beer now has its own brewery and there are plans to open a tasting room soon. I haven’t visited the brewery yet (hoping for an invite soon – hint!), but I did sample a couple of their new brews this week. The Hooray IPA packs an alcohol punch, but I would like much more hops at pretty much every stage of the process, particularly in the dry-hopping department. Looking forward to seeing what they’re going to put out.
And I must also give mention to Darling, whose new brewery is looking to be a reason to plan a weekend away to the Swartland town. I STILL haven’t made the journey yet, but their awesome kids’ play area is set to open in the next few weeks, so you can be sure a blog post will follow shortly afterwards.
Apologies for the Cape-centric news – brewers elsewhere in SA: what are you up to???