A beginner’s guide to buying Craft Beer
South Africans are a nation of beer drinkers. It’s embedded in our DNA and up until recently, that DNA was firmly in the grasp of the big beer companies. But as the wise Mr Dylan once said, ‘the times they are a changin’. We’re currently living the craft beer revolution and the average South African beer drinker is starting to evolve. Leaping into the craft beer primordial soup can be a little daunting at first, but never fear!
Follow this simple road-map and you will be hopping up the craft beer ladder in no time.
Jack Black’s – Lager
Jack Black’s Lager first popped up in Cape Town’s markets way back in 2007. Today it’s a firm Cape Town favourite and a great place to start your craft beer journey. Expect a good balance of malty sweetness and a clean snap of hoppy bitterness.
Savage Brewing – Un-lager
Dip your toes into the world of ales with Savage’s Un-lager. This balance between ale and lager is more complex than a straight up lager. It offers floral, spice, mint and woody flavours with a crisp finish. A great stepping stone into the world of ales.
Apollo Brewing Company – Blonde Ale
Much like your first blonde crush, Apollo’s Blonde Ale is light, carefree and loves summer days. Expect a light golden honey colour with citrus and fruity notes complemented by biscuit flavours. It’s the perfect introduction to the vast and deep world of ales.
Cape Brewing Company – Krystal Weiss
Crafted by German brewmaster, Wolfgang Koedel, Krystal Weiss is a clear-filtered weissbier. Expect notes of lemon and grapefruit as well as the traditional weiss notes of banana, clove and bubblegum. It’s considered breakfast beer in Germany so no waiting for that pesky plane to fly over.
Boston Breweries – Van Hunks Pumpkin Ale
So far we’ve eased you into the world of craft beer but here’s where things start to accelerate. Van Hunks Pumpkin Ale is unlike anything you’ve ever tasted. It’s big, rich and spicy and has everything in it that you never expected to taste in a beer – pumpkin, butternut, coriander, nutmeg and cinnamon. Confused? Good now fasten your seatbelts, we’ve only just begun.
Darling – Bone Crusher Witbier
As the name suggests, Bone Crusher is a big beer with bold flavours. It’s a Belgian-style witbier with coriander, citrus and herbal notes. It has a unique orange peel nose and spicy flavour. Yes Bone Crusher is not for the faint at heart but lucky for you, you’re on your way to being a hardened craft drinker.
Devil’s Peak – Woodhead Amber Ale
Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moon light? Neither have we but we’ve drunk enough Woodheads to know it’s one of our firm favourites. Expect a dark amber colour with citrus aromas, rich caramel flavours and a balance of malt sweetness and hop bitterness.
Big City Brewing Company – City Street India Pale Ale
Inspired by the streets of Cape Town, City Street IPA is the easy-in to the somewhat intimidating realm of IPAs. It’s very definitely hop-forward in flavour with pine, lemon, grapefruit and grass on the nose. It’s backed by citrus flavours and malty sweetness.
Red Sky – Vampire Robust Porter
Do you vant a Vampire? So do we. Chocolate and coffee flavours make this porter rich and smooth. It’s an entry level porter and even if you’re not a fan of the dark stuff, it’s worth a try. It’s a slow drinking beer so take your time and savour those sips.
Devil’s Peak – Black India Pale Ale
Congratulations! If you’ve reached it to this point in your craft beer drinking career, then you’re well on your way to greatness. For our finale beer we’ve picked one that is probably our favourite at the moment. It’s big, bold, black, bitter and only for the brave. Dive in face first, you’ll never regret it.
Written by: Beer Country, two of the thirstiest guys on the planet – Greg and Karl. Follow their fire-side journey as they crack open the brew culture of South Africa, discovering awesome beers and cooking great food along the way.