Food24 eats at Oakes Brew
The first all-girl brewery in South Africa offering great tasting, home brewed, hand crafted beer.
Thea Blom has been in the restaurant business most of her life; she’s owned restaurants in Mozambique and Pretoria and is now reveling in her latest success: 33 on High street – a trendy, Portuguese/Mediterranean restaurant in Modderfontein, now with it’s own micro brewery.
Thea is just one of 4 women in this story, and it is a great story.
The idea to start a micro brewery came about during a boozy lunch under the Oaks at 33 on High street – Joanne, our second lass, lives in the area and frequented the restaurant. She and Thea got talking, and after a bottle or three, thought it would be a great idea to throw caution to the wind and start an all-girl brewery (They don’t have anything against men, that’s just how it worked out). And while the next day the effects of wine had subsided, the effects of the idea had not.
These ladies are full of passion and personality, but they’re also full of brains and business savvy. They opened the brewery eight months ago but two weeks before opening, decided to buy some coffee roasteries and make their own coffee to boot, roasting and serving six single-origin varietals. The micro brewery opened to massive success but the success was actually too massive for the space, so they decided to move the coffee roastery down the way and open a separate, but related ‘Oakes Coffee Roastery’, which is now run by Helen – the third ‘Oake’ in this equation. The roastery is a bustling hive where you can drink and purchase the original six single origins as well as three new single origins and three new home-made blends. They roast all the beans on site and Helen is abundant in her knowledge. It’s a favourite hangout amongst the locals and the coffee sure makes it worth a visit.
But let’s get back to the Micro brewery.
It’s run by Happy, the final piece in this all-lady puzzle. She worked with Thea in her Pretoria restaurant and now heads up the brewery, she knows everything there is to know about their home brew and will talk you through each of their 4 craft beers:
‘The Easy Blonde’ – a light lager, very smooth and my personal favourite
‘The Wise Beer’ – a Weiss beer, light and fruity – Happy’s favourite
‘The Pale Ale’ – medium bodied, traditional ale
‘The Stout’ – dark, rich and full bodied
The beer is completely natural; they don’t filter it and they don’t use any preservatives. Tastings are free, and encouraged, and they will get in a brew master on request to do larger craft beer tastings where 10 – 12 craft beers are featured and examined.
The restaurant-come-micro brewery is the perfect destination for lovers of delectable food, the great outdoors and authentic craft beer. The menu, like the venue, is sizeable and very accommodating (as long as you like garlic); everything from light lunches to traditional Portuguese-style prawns, kingklip, calamari, livers and of course, peri peri chicken. Thea recently had a wood-fired oven built and now also serves ‘bubblebread’, her take on a traditional pizza: thin-based with a ‘bubbled’ crust and some seriously punchy flavour-combinations. I haven’t had a pizza this good in ages.
You can choose to sit indoors in the beautiful heritage house, outside on the sprawling veranda, under the newly added stoep or under the two magnificent Oak trees. The flavours are robust, the portions are generous, the ambiance is great and the women are out of this world!