I know that I give the Cape a lot of love on my blog (I do live in Cape Town and there are more breweries down here so I think it’s allowed) but I have vowed to spread the love as much as possible this year. So this week’s Friday Beers recommendation is for one of my favourite places to drink beer in KZN: Stumpnose Brewery.
Stumpnose is based in Kloof, about half an hour’s drive west of Durban. It’s a great little brewpub in a mini mall on Old Main Road. The first time I went there in 2020 I was sad. It was the middle of the day and I’d driven from Durbs, leaving my husband and son to chill at our hotel. But once I got to Stumpnose I wished I’d brought them with, mostly (OK, entirely) so that hub could have driven us back afterwards. I wanted to hang out there for the afternoon, sipping my way through the menu and shooting the shit with the brewers and their customers.
It’s a friendly spot with a good range of beers. About half the menu is made up of Stumpnose’s own beers, brewed on a somewhat rudimentary system on-site. The rest are other KZN brands including Jabula, which is also brewed in-house, plus one or two favourites from Jo’burg and the Cape. When in Rome though, you don’t go ordering beers you can get at home, so when I went back last year (sans car) I stuck to the local stuff.
Stumpnose Brewery’s Coco Loco APA was the winner for me (and indeed, it won a silver medal in the 2021 African Beer Cup), a crisp, hop forward beer with well-balanced, lightly toasted malt flavours. The core Stumpnose range also features an IPA and Squid Ink, an approachable 5.5% ABV dry stout.
The food at Stumpnose is typical bar fare – decent burgers, snack baskets and the like, and if I wasn’t recommending the place for Friday Beers I would send you there on Wednesday, when their “Waco Taco” special sees tacos on sale for just R25. I do of course recommend that you do that as well – I mean why would you not at those prices. But you should also go for post-work pints on a Friday afternoon.
Full disclosure: I haven’t actually done Friday Beers at Stumpnose – I’ve been mid-week and on a Saturday – but I can tell you now that it’s the sort of place you’d want to be at when honouring the arrival of the weekend. It’s a bright and cheery pub with murals covering the walls, it has the sort of vibe that just puts you in a good mood (especially if you encounter Jabula’s Warren Eades, a legend in the KZN beer scene and a truly cheery bloke) and it’s usually buzzing with like-minded lovers of good beer. Plus – and this is a particular draw card if you’re visiting from out of town I’d say – Friday is bunny day, where you get a beer and a beef or chicken bunny chow for a bargain R85 (or R70 for a bean bunny). You can’t go to KZN without getting your bunny fix, so why not do it while having a local craft beer in a cool little bar?
And on top of all that, there’s also a little on-site shop selling KZN craft beers and merch, so you can even take some goodies home and relive the Friday Beers vibe at home on Saturday. Or Sunday. Or Monday…