Jack Black’s limited release beer for summer is a low-ABV grapefruit radler – a lager infused with citrus that promises to be “not too bitter and not too sweet”. Available in 330ml bottles or on tap at the brewery.
Meanwhile, Zambia’s second microbrewery, Rebel Brewery, launched in May 2021. Overseen by brewing consultant and former SAB brewer Brad Dinner, the brewery serves a pilsner, premium lager and a dark lager with an oatmeal stout, session IPA and light lager in the works. The brewery is based at Marriot’s Ciela Resort in Lusaka, which also has a hotel, spa and golf course. cielaresort.com
Something to celebrate amidst all the turmoil the industry has been going through – two new breweries have opened in South Africa and another in Zambia. In Cape Town, Local Brewery & Co fi nally pulled their fi rst pint in mid-October. Or more accurately, their fi rst pint glass was fi lled, for the Woodstock based brewery is the fi rst in SA to install a Bottoms Up system, which fi lls glasses from, well, the bottom up. Run by biochemist Euan Johnstone and digital strategist Lee Geldenhuys, the brewery has launched with their fl agship lager, which will be joined by a pilsner, IPA and pale ale, as well as experimental and sesasonal brews. The brewery also offers contract brewing facilities. The taproom is currently open on Friday afternoons only, but keep an eye on their social media for extended summer opening hours.
Almost 200km southeast, the Overberg coast also has a new brewery. Whale Coast Brewing Co. opened quietly in Pearly Beach earlier this year. A family-run brewpub, the area’s first brewery serves a lager, dark lager, summer ale, honey blonde, weiss and oatmeal stout. Wood-fi red pizzas, burgers, ribs and eisbein are on the food menu. Check them out on facebook.com/ whalecoastbrewing.
Agar’s first ever seasonal release is a bone dry Brut IPA hopped with Nelson Sauvin, Citra and Galaxy, developed with local homebrewer Crighton Goodwill. Grab some cans from their online store or from Best Craft Beer. Also look out for Agar’s imperial stout duo – one aged in kegs, the other aged for five months in port barrels.
This first time collab from the two Western Cape breweries is a hazy IPA showcasing a hop neither brewer had used before. But to find out what it is, you’ll just have to grab a can…
The Durban based brewery has released a limited edition single hop IPA series, each showcasing a different hop – Citra, Simcoe, Centennial and Columbus. There are just 1000 cans of each although the plan is to re-brew the fan favourite.
Anja van Zyl, former head brewer at Hey Joe Brewing Co. in Franschhoek, has launched her own brand, Nova Beer Project. “A nova is a bright star that shines brightly only for a certain amount of time,” Anja says. “We’re only here for a short time so we need to really make the most of it. Going solo is something I’ve been thinking about for quite a while so I’m excited to take the leap.” Nova, which will operate as a gypsy brewery, launches with a pale ale called Breakaway. “In cycling a breakaway is one cyclist that moves away from the peloton,” explains Anja, “and this is me moving away and branching out by myself.” The beers will all be inspired by Anja’s passions – cycling, hiking and camping. “The beers aren’t necessarily US-inspired or Belgium-inspired,” she explains. “I don’t want to limit myself that way. The beers are inspired by my adventures, kicking off with the Velo series, which will feature four beers all linked to my cycling journey.” Breakaway is available in cans from novabeerproject.co.za and Best Craft Beer, or on tap at Karoo Craft Brewery in Paarl. Read our review of the debut beer on page 64.
Johannesburg’s OC Brewery has teamed up with ex-SAB brewer turned industry consultant Danie Odendaal to create the Yeti Underground Movement – or YUM for short. The collab series seeks to inject innovation and break boundaries in the local craft beer market. “We will be trying to use new technology and different products within the beers to showcase selected ingredients, but the main focus is on pushing the boundaries and being as progressive as we can be,” says OC Brewery’s founder Gavin Marais. YUM will release a new beer each month with a small launch event at the brewery and can sales available online. The debut beer, Pear-a-Normal was released in early August and will be followed by launches on 4 September and 2 October.
Sedgeﬁeld Craft Brewery is under new ownership. Started in 2015 by Tony Hunter, the nano-brewery is located next to the long-running and well-loved Wild Oats market on the N2. Garden Route local Ross Elion actually took over the brewery late last year and has spent the various lockdowns working on recipes, expanding output and refurbishing the taproom. “We have taken the brewery from a 150-litre per day to a 300-litre per day ﬁnal output,” says Ross. “We are busy with a big rebrand and taking the beer to market.” The taproom will serve up to 13 beers on tap and Ross will also be offering small-scale contract brewing.
Much-loved brewery and training venue Brewsters Craft has closed down due to the pandemic and associated lockdowns. The Johannesburg based brewery, which specialised in contract brewing and was also the home of Tolokazi Beer, ofﬁcially closed doors in July of this year. Founded in 2015 by brewmaster Apiwe Nxusani-Mawela, Brewsters Craft served as an important launch pad for a number of black-owned brands, including Township Brew, Mohope, 1632Crafts and Newcastle Brewing. Happily, those brands, as well as Apiwe’s own Tolokazi range will continue and are currently being contract brewed at various Johannesburg breweries. “The decision to close down Brewsters Craft was a very difﬁcult one,” says Apiwe. “But the ongoing lockdowns made things impossible for us, no matter what we tried to do to keep aﬂ oat. I will be continuing with the Tolokazi Beer range through contract brewing and will also be focusing on Brewsters Academy, offering training and consulting.”
Savour a can of ACBC’s latest creation – a pastry stout with a “bucket load” of Mexican cocoa. Also on limited release is Marshmallow Bourbon Darkness – a barrel-aged stout with added marshmallow and vanilla.
An imperial pastry porter with cacao nibs, vanilla beans, coconut and cinnamon, Bark Side forms part of Kennel’s latest batch of special releases, each with their own wonderfully puntastic names and striking labels.
South African Breweries has added a third beer to the Castle range. Castle Double Malt joins the 126-year-old Castle Lager and its lighter counterpart, Castle Lite, which launched in 1994. Unlike Castle Lager and Castle Lite, Double Malt is an all malt beer, not utilising adjuncts in the brewing process. The “double malt” in the beer’s name refers to the malts sourced from two separate SAB maltings plants: Alrode in Johannesburg and Caledon in the Overberg. Available in 340ml bottles and slim-line 410ml cans, the new beer has been quietly rolled out nationwide.
The Famous Brew and Still in Bloemfontein has moved to new premises on General Dan Pienaar Drive in Westdene. The new brewpub has 20 taps pouring beers and spirits from the onsite brewery and distillery, as well as a couple of guest taps for other craft brewers. Members of the local home brewing club will also see their beers on tap, with competition winners getting the chance to brew a batch at the Brew and Still.
Despite some obvious negative name associations, Corona has retained the title of the world’s most valuable beer brand over the past year. Unsurprisingly, the 2020 to 2021 was not a great year for beer. According to Brand Finance , the total value of the world’s top 50 most valuable beer brands declined by 16%, from US$94.9 billion in 2020 to US$80.2 billion in 2021 thanks largely to the intermittent closures in the hospitality industry.
Entries to the Brussels Beer Challenge, one of the world’s most prestigious beer competitions, are now open. This year marks the 10th birthday of the Belgium-based competition, which is open to commercial breweries around the globe. The contest attracts some of the world’s most qualiﬁ ed and experienced judges and garners entries from renowned breweries on every continent. Entries are €175 per beer and close on 4 October. For more info see brusselsbeerchallenge.com.
The Simondium Guild, home to Soul Barrel Brewing Co., will ofﬁcially launch in mid-September. The complex, based in a century-old wine cellar, will include Papi’s Restaurant, Painted Wolf Winery and Stillman Cocktail Bar, alongside the already well-established brewery. As well as the food and drink offerings, the Guild is home to Fanglasstic, an art studio and glass shop where kids (and grown ups) can paint their own glassware.