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AFRIKAANS ARTIST LAUNCHES NEW BEER

Afrikaans singer Corné Pretorius has launched his own beer, brewed at Saggy Stone. The beer, named Biertjies after his hit of the same name with Die Heuwels Fantasties and Ampie, was lanched on 19 February.

CBC RELEASES FIREFIGHTER LAGER

Cape Brewing Company in Paarl has released a special edition lager in aid of the Volunteer Wildfire Service. The 4.5% lager is available nationwide, with 10% of the proceeds going to VWS.

AFRO CARIBBEAN’S BREWER MAKES A MOVE TO KENYA

Afro Caribbean Brewing Company’s Rochelle Dunlop has left the popular Cape Town brewpub to take up a position as head brewer at Craft Chameleon in Nairobi. Jake Sandenbergh, who has previously brewed at Mad Giant, Drifter and Agar’s, will take over as head brewer at ACBC.

PILSNER URQUELL RETURNS TO SOUTH AFRICA

After a long delay, Pilsner Urquell is once again available in South Africa. You can find the classic Czech pilsner in 330ml bottles via bottlestore.co.za or get it on draught from Real on Tap or at a very select number of venues.

THAT BREWING COMPANY

Single Hop IPA series - The best way to evaluate a hop varietal is in a beer that features just one hop, and preferably quite a lot of it. That Brewing Company recently released four IPAs each brewed with a single hop. The featured hops are some of the classic American IPA heroes - Centennial, Simcoe, Citra, and Columbus. Each beer does a good job of showcasing the characteristics of the single hop in a classic West Coast IPA format.

SAGGY STONE

Sabro Brut IPA - Sabro is relatively a new hop that is making its way into a number of local brews. Featuring some unusual fl avours including coconut and mint along with more typical tropical fruit notes, Sabro works very well in hop-forward beers, on its own or as part of a blend. The Sabro Brut IPA from Saggy Stone shows off the unique fl avours off this hop in a wonderfully approachable and refreshing beer.

AGAR’S BREWERY

Northside Pilsner - The origin of pilsner beer revolves around one hop – Saaz, produced for centuries in the modern day Czech Republic. Saaz is one of the original four noble hops (next to Hallertau, Spalt and Tettnang) and is known for its distinctive earthy, herbal and spicy notes. A good local example showcasing this hop (apart from the one kissed by it) is the Northside Pilsner by Agar’s Brewery – their take on a classic Bohemian pilsner.

AEGIR PROJECT

Single Hop Special Brews - Aegir Project is one of the most respected breweries in the country largely because of their well-considered approach to brewing experimentation. Good examples of this are the single hop beers they have brewed over the past year or so. Each has a style and recipe designed to work best with a particular hop. Their most recent at the time of writing was a milkshake IPA featuring Galaxy, a wonderful Australian hop full of berry fl avours. Aegir Project has brewed a number of single hop beers with this hop, which is becoming quite rare on our shores, so do try it if you can.

WOODSTOCK BREWERY

Slice of Life Session IPA - While Germany is known for its classic noble-type hop varietals they have produced a number of very exciting new hops in recent years. Two of these are Yellow Sub and Hallertau Blanc, both of which feature in Woodstock’s Slice of Life Session IPA. As the name hints, Hallertau Blanc is reminiscent of Sauvignon Blanc wine with gooseberry, grass, and tropical fruit fl avours. Yellow Sub has a profi le which includes apricot, orange and blueberries, complementing the orange and lemon additions to this beer. These hops make this IPA stand out as something quite different, sophisticated, yet highly smashable.

AFRO CARIBBEAN BREWING CO.

Jungle Paradise - If you like your IPAs in the classic West Coast style then look no further than Jungle Paradise by Afro Caribbean Brewing Co. Packed with Columbus and Chinook – two icons of American IPA brewing – this beer is packed with layers of pine and citrus hop aroma and fl avour. A regular award winner in local competitions, this beer is a brilliant example of how American hops revolutionised brewing.

SOUL BARREL BREWING CO.

Cape Cone IPA - South African hops are all the rage internationally, but few local brewers have truly cracked how to get the best out of these varietals. One who certainly has is Soul Barrel Brewing Co. with their Cape Cone IPA. Brewed using all South African hops – including Southern Passion, African Queen and Southern Tropic – if you have any doubt about how great our homegrown hops are then I urge you to try this beer.

CAPE BREWING COMPANY

Mandarina Bavaria IPA - Another single hop IPA which does a great job of showcasing an interesting hop is the Mandarina Bavaria IPA from CBC. As the name suggests, the German-grown Mandarina Bavaria hop contributes pronounced sweet citrus fl avours to beer. As a single hop IPA this beer from CBC delivers bold IPA fl avours with a slightly unusual marmalade-like twist from this special hop.

FRIAR’S HABIT

California Common - California Common as a style is largely defi ned by the use of Northern Brewer hops with their distinctive woody, minty, and resinous profi le. A number of South African breweries make versions of California Common – some more classic than others. The version brewed by Friar’s Habit makes liberal use of Northern Brewer so give it a try if you want to get a feel for this hop.

DEVIL'S PEAK BEER CO.

Juicy Lucy IPA - Juicy Lucy has become a fi rm favourite of the SA craft beer scene and remains one of the best local interpretations of the modern hazy IPA. While not showcasing one particular hop, this beer makes great use of both old and new school American hops to produce a complex hop experience. You get all the tropical and citrus fruit fl avours from Citra and Mosaic, with some classic piney resinous notes from Cascade and Amarillo, all coming together to demonstrate exactly what hops do to a beer when expertly used.

DARLING BREW

Long Claw Saison (Citra Dry Hop) - One of the great innovations in modern craft brewing has been adding interesting hop character to traditionally unhoppy beers. Most of this is done by dry-hopping (adding the hops post-fermentation to maximise aroma and fl avour extraction without bitterness) so as not to overwhelm the base beer. A good local example of this is Long Claw from Darling Brew, a classic saison-style beer dry-hopped with Citra. The bold citrus fruitiness of this hop complements the spicy yeast character and dry crisp fi nish of the beer perfectly.

CLOCKWORK BREWHOUSE

English Best Bitter - Many modern English pale ales or bitters have adopted American hops in their recipes to produce beers more appealing to the modern beer drinker’s palate. However, there is still something very special about classic English hop character in these beers. The English Best Bitter from Clockwork Brewhouse is a good example, using the classic English hop East Kent Goldings. EKG imparts some subtle fruit fl avours but mostly exhibits earthy and herbal notes in this simple yet sophisticated beer.

JACK BLACK SUPER CRUSH (3% ABV)

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.

REBEL 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

LOCAL BREWERY & CO

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.

WHALE COAST BREWING CO.

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 X GOODWILL BREWERY SAVAGE BRUT IPA (6% ABV)

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.

SAGGY STONE X THE KENNEL BREWERY THE MYSTERY HOP (6.4% ABV)

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…

THAT BREWING CO. ALPHA HOPS RANGE (5.8%)

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.

FORMER HEY JOE BREWER LAUNCHES NEW BRAND

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.

WELL-KNOWN JO'BURG BREWERS UNVEIL YETI UNDERGROUND MOVEMENT

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.

NEW OWNERS FOR SEDGEFIELD CRAFT BREWERY

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.

BREWSTERS CRAFT CLOSES DOORS

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.”

AFRO CARIBBEAN CHOC SHAKES AND UNICORNS (8.4% ABV)

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.

THE KENNEL BREWERY COME TO THE BARK SIDE (8.8% ABV)

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.

SAB RELEASES CASTLE DOUBLE MALT

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.

BLOEM'S FAMOUS BREW AND STILL MOVES TO NEW PREMISES

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.

CORONA NAMED WORLD'S MOST VALUABLE BEER BRAND

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.

BRUSSELS BEER CHALLENGE TURNS TEN

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.

SIMONDIUM GUILD LAUNCHES

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.

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