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These are officially the best beers in South Africa right now

A whopping 189 beers were analysed by a panel of Beer Judge Certification Program qualified judges.

by: Karl Tessendorf | 26 Aug 2019
friends drinking beer

The fifth annual South African National Beer Trophy is done and dusted and I have to say, I’m both surprised by and happy with the results. Why, you ask? Because the results are proof that the standard around the country, especially amongst the smaller breweries, is on the rise.


As well as the usual suspects winning medals, there was a collection of surprising beers in the mix, and not just in the silver category. In fact, to my knowledge, this is the first year that the smaller guys have outshone the big guys in the gold medals.The competition is tough and the beers are judged according to the international Beer Judge Certification Programme (BJCP) rules over several weeks.

The judges include BJCP judges, wine sommeliers, celebrity chefs and cicerones (another beer judge certification programme). The prizegiving took place once again at Cape Town’s Beerhouse on Long, with brewers attending from far and wide.

The story of the night for me was The Beer of the Year and The Best Hoppy Beer winner. Both went to Afro Caribbean Brewing Co. for Jungle Paradise IPA, which is brewed by Rochelle Dunlop. She’s an incredible woman who got into brewing after starting out as a waitress at Banana Jam Café, which is downstairs from Afro Caribbean. She’s made massive strides in such a short amount of time and is now their full-time brewer.

The gold medal results were a close second for story of the night, due to the complete shake-up of the usual pecking order. Cederberg, Hoghouse, Old Potter’s, Sabie, Shields Indie and Kennel are all tiny breweries that went up against the best and took home gold. This is why competition is so important to the craft industry: It pushes brewers to be better, and I couldn’t be happier, because if the beers are better then we’re all winning. 

A massive congrats to all the winners, and let’s keep pushing!


Beer of the Year – Afro Caribbean Jungle Paradise

The Best Hoppy Beer – Afro Caribbean Jungle Paradise

Best Light Beer – Zwakala Limpopo Lager Trophy 

Best Dark Beer – Cape Brewing Co Doppelbock

Best Wheat Beer – Darling Brew Pixie Dust Trophy   

Gold Medals

ABlnBev Castle Milk Stout

Cederberg Brewery Voetsek

Devil's Peak Lager

Hoghouse Brewing Co. Roadhog Porter

Mad Giant Urban Legend

Old Potter's Brewhouse Cityslicker

Old Potter's Brewhouse My China

Sabie Brewery Company Shangaan Stout

Shields Indie Brewing Co; White Falcon American Wheat Beer

Stellenbosch Brewing Co. Born Free Pale Ale

The Franschhoek Beer Co. The Stout

The Italian Job Brewery IPA Forza

The Kennel Brewery Alesatian

Silver Medals

ABlnBev Lion Lager

Brauhaus am Damm Brauhaus Marzen

Brewhaha Jbay Stormy Seas

Brewhaha Jbay Endless Summer

Cape Brewing Co Amber Weiss

Cape Brewing Co Pilsner

Cederberg Brewery Boggom Blonder Ale

Cederberg Brewery Original Lager

Hazeldean Frontier Beer Co. The Haymaker- Round 2

Devil's Peak Kings Blockhouse IPA

Devil's Peak Good Hope Pale Ale

Drifter Brewing Company Scallywag IPA

Drifter Brewing Company El Capitan Mexican Lager

Frasers Folly Craft Beer Brandy Cask Finished Ale 2018

Hermanus Micro Brewery Hermanus Pale Ale

Hey Joe Brewery Company Saison

Hey Joe Brewery Company Belgian Lager

Hey Joe Brewery Company Witbier

Hey Joe Brewery Company Blonde

Hoghouse Brewing Co. Worthog Indian Pale Ale

Hoghouse Brewing Co. Haybale Saison

Hoghouse Brewing Co. Hogtale African Pale Ale

Jack Black Brewing Company Skeleton coast IPA

Jack Black Brewing Company Atlantic weiss

Jack Black Brewing Company Lumberjack Amber Ale

Jack Black Brewing Company Butcher Block Pale Ale

Kings Craft Brewing Co. Monks Brew

Mad Giant Super Session

Mad Giant Killer Hop

Newlands Spring Brewing Jacobs Pale Ale

Poison City Brewing Durban Poison Cannabis Lager

Pot & Scot Craft Brewing Spice of Life Belgian Pale Ale

Riot Beer Valve IPA

Riot Beer Vintage 005

Sabie Brewery Co Long Tom Lager (Dunkel)

St Francis Brewing Co St Francis Wildside IPA

Table 58 Brewing No 5 IPA

The Franschhoek Beer Co. Three Oaks

The Franschhoek Beer Co. La Saison

The Franschhoek Beer Co. The Stout - Barrel aged 750ml

The Italian Job Brewery Amber Ale Amore

The Italian Job Brewery Dark Lager Gioia

The Italian Job Brewery Weiss Amicizia

Triggerfish Brewery (Pty) Ltd MonsterfishValley Breweries (Pty) Ltd 783 Pale Ale

Zwakala Moringa Ale   

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