Latest South African craft beer news

It’s taken me such a long time to get around to writing this that most of the items here probably couldn’t be classed as news any more, but here you go anyway – some things that have been going on in South African craft beer lately:

1000 Hills Brewing Co wins Beer of the Year at SA National Beer Trophy

The title of ‘Beer of the Year’ in the annual South African National Beer Trophy went to 1000 Hills Brewing Company in KZN for their FES, a strong British ale.

A total of 39 silver medals were awarded, as well as 14 gold medals. There were also seven category winners: Jack Black Brewers Lager (Best Light Beer), Franschhoek Beer Company’s The Stout (Best Dark Beer), 1000 Hills Brewing Company’s The FES (Best Speciality Beer), CBC Pale Ale (Best Hoppy Beer), Richmond Hill’s Two Rand Man (Best Red and Amber Beer), Darling Light Speed (Best Low Alcohol Beer) and Devil’s Peak Hero (Best No Alcohol Beer). Check out the SANBT website for the full list of winners.

Beer Association of South Africa relaunches campaign to sell beer in supermarkets

Back in 2018, a group of us launched the Let Us Buy Beer campaign with the goal for beer to be sold in supermarkets alongside wine. We didn’t get far with it, although we did have solid public support. I was very happy to see the Beer Association of South Africa taking up the cause last month. Almost 22,000 people had signed the petition at the time of writing – keep an eye on their website to find out what will happen next…

Karoo Craft Brewery expands taproom

Karoo Craft Brewery has expanded their taproom at Simonsvlei, just outside Paarl. The new space seats 120 and has views overlooking a dam and the mountains. Expect 10 beers on tap, including some new releases alongside their flagships. There’s pizza, ribs, burgers and salads on the menu and a great kids’ play area on the estate. They’re open Tuesday to Saturday – make a plan to spend an afternoon there this summer.

Mad Giant scoops grand prix in annual Beer Label Awards

Jo’burg based Mad Giant Brewery won a gold medal and the coveted grand prix at the annual Beer Label Awards.

Their reusable ‘milkman’ style bottles were commended for their focus on sustainability. The grand prix isn’t awarded every year and goes to a label that truly wows the judges. Bomb Squad Lager also won a gold medal for its sleek can design.

For a full list of this year’s winners in both the wine and beer categories, head over to Winemag’s Facebook page.

Charlie’s Garage opens a new taproom in Simon’s Town

When Charlie Murray took over Long Beach Brewery a few years back he turned it from being a little-known production brewery into a proper destination for lovers of music and beer. And now he’s opened a second location in Simon’s Town. Look out for the Hickory Shack sign on the main road, for Charlie has teamed up with Jay Haupt, formerly of the Hickory Shack in Elgin. There’s a mini brewery on site and lots of smoked meaty goodness on the menu. The place will doubtless pump this summer. Be there.

New hemp beer brand launches in Jo’burg

It’s been a while since any new breweries or brands have launched so it’s great to see some new cans on the market. Non Blonde is a contract brand brewing out of Brewhogs in Kyalami. They’ve launched with five beers, all containing hemp (but no CBD or THC content): a Pilsner, Lager, Dunkel, IPA and a Ginger Lager. Look out for a review on the blog soon…

Soul Barrel takes over brewing operations at Tuk Tuk

The team at Soul Barrel has taken over brewing operations at Tuk Tuk Microbrewery in Franschhoek. The beers – Lager, Weiss, Golden Ale and IPA – will all be brewed on-site at Tuk Tuk. Soul Barrel is best known for its experimental beers but owner Nick Smith will be focusing on classic styles at Tuk Tuk.

Valley Brewery under new management

This is kind of a headline with no story attached, for I have no further info than this. Glenn Adams, long-time owner of Valley Brewery in Kommetjie has sold the brewery. I’ve contacted the new owners to find out more…when I know, you’ll know.

Beer Troopy launches nationwide beer passport

Travelling beer lover and writer Holger Meier has launched a beer passport under his Beer Troopy brand. The passport is designed to encourage beer tourism in SA, listing 120 pubs and taprooms around the country. When you visit a spot listed in the passport, you’ll get a stamp and in many cases, a beer on the house. The passport costs R350 and is available from the Beer Troopers website.



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