My first encounter with Hoghouse Brewing Co. was seven years ago. It was a very different place then. Tucked away in an office park in Ndabeni, it was an unlikely spot to meet for Friday beers. We sat on hay bales in the car park, chowed on smoked meats and peeked at the fairly rudimentary brewing equipment.
These days the place has become a bit of a landmark – turns out the person that conceptualised a brewery in a slightly random office park was actually a bit of a visionary. I suppose a brewery perched on the edge of dry Pinelands was always going to be a winner, but now there’s also an epic cafe where people meet for coffee and the best pasteis de nata this side of Portugal.
But we are not here to talk about custard-based tarts. We are here to talk about beer. Friday beer to be exact. Hoghouse Brewing Co. is perhaps the epitome of all Friday Beers hangouts; the Holy Grail for end-of-week beer disciples. Why? Well the brewery and BBQ restaurant are only open on Friday afternoons, so you literally can’t do any other kind of beers there. There’s even happy hour from 4pm-5pm – I challenge you to think of a better way to mark the arrival of the weekend.
For a while you might have thought Hoghouse was a victim of lockdown. They went very quiet on the beer side and seemed to be focusing all their attention on the bakery. But behind the scenes big things were happening and in November of 2021, the brewery relaunched with a shiny new imported brewhouse and a new brewer to operate it – Stefan Wiswedel, founder of the now departed Little Wolf brand.
The beer range remains the same (no sign of Stefan reincarnating the legendary Hoppy Wheat, alas) – pilsner, pale ale, saison IPA and porter, although you can expect limited release brews on tap when you visit and I have a feeling Stefan will want to mix things up a little once he’s perfected the core range. My favourite of the lineup tends to rotate between pilsner and porter, though I can usually be found attending to a pint or two of IPA as well.
Food-wise, I have a few recommendations. First of all: arrive hungry. I’d go as far as to say that this is the best food of any brewery in the Western Cape (there is a serious contender in Gauteng – coming soon to a Friday Beers post near you). The emphasis is strongly on meat, although the veggies are also done really well (order the cauliflower).
Carnivores are spoilt for choice but would do well to order the pulled pork, lamb ribs, the burnt ends (both kinds) and above all, the brisket. For dessert, if you have space, you must, must get a pastel de nata, whether it’s a classic version or the Hoghouse flavour of the month (personally, I’m a purist – don’t mess around with perfection).
Hoghouse is dog-friendly (at the outdoor tables) and kids are welcome (but bring your own entertainment). It is also very popular and since it’s only open on Fridays, I’d recommend that as soon as you’ve finished reading this post, you give them a call and book a table for today (assuming you’re reading this post on a Friday of course). Contact details are below.
One final tip – just before you order the bill, order yourself a box of pasteis de nata to take home. That way you not only get an amazing dinner washed down with tasty beers, but you also have an epic breakfast to look forward to on Saturday. You work hard – you deserve it! And even if you don’t work particularly hard, you should do it anyway.
Hoghouse BBQ is open Friday evenings 4pm-10pm (kitchen 5-8pm). Bookings recommended: call 021 810 4545. The bakery is open for breakfast and lunch Monday to Saturday – you can also grab bottles/cans there to drink in or take away.