It’s not an exaggeration to say that over the past five years, the craft beer scene in South Africa has exploded. Pints of ale have moved from the hands of bearded homebrewers to the hands of bearded hipsters and then into the hands of the not-necessarily-bearded general beer-drinking public. We’ve seen the scene go from one or two choice bars offering a supreme selection, to every fifth pub serving up a variety of craft brews. And we’ve seen beer finally get the treatment it deserves on the menus of high-end restaurants and hotels.
The latest upmarket addition to Cape Town’s craft beer scene is the 12 Apostles. I’ve always adored this hotel, so was particularly delighted to see them embracing beer. There have been craft beers on the menu for some time, but the hotel’s bar is now offering a food and beer pairing experience. Head sommelier Gregory Mutambe and executive chef Christo Pretorius have worked together to come up with the pairings – three local beers and an imported beer and cider matched with five delectable canapes.
The mini meal’s high point for me was the Asian-spiced yellowfin tuna paired with CBC’s krystal weiss. The beer has the merest hint of citrus, something which beautifully enhanced this delicate dish. Brewers & Union’s dark lager – a beer I hadn’t tasted in quite some time – was also a perfect match for the oxtail croquette – my only complaint was that I wanted a whole plate of croquettes. Every bite was superb, though I felt that Boston Breweries’ Van Hunks – served with a deliciously rich chicken liver granola – would work better alongside something with a little spice – a Cape Malay curry, perhaps. The bite-sized banquet ended with a dessert that, had I not been sitting with people I’d only just met, would have seen me licking the plate – think apples, caramel and cinnamon paired with Orpens cider imported from Ireland (there are plans to swap this out for a local cider soon).
Bookings are essential for the pairing – a private experience hosted by Gregory or his colleague Richard Gosa. At
R175 UPDATE: R225 per person it’s an affordable treat and one that makes a great beery alternative to the high tea the hotel is better known for. If you’re lucky enough to be staying over – or dining at Azure on a Thursday – there are also complimentary craft beer tastings held each Thursday evening (5.30 to 6.15pm) with the hotel’s beer-loving sommelier.
To book, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 021 437 9029.