The month of October is commonly associated with Oktoberfest and that is a direct association with BEER! For everyone who loves beer it’s a fantastic time of year. Whilst almost every bar and restaurant serves beer, there is a growing trend towards craft and microbrew beers in the last couple of years.
The Cape is known for its wine but what is less well known is that the region is also Africa’s largest beer hub! (not least because South African Breweries has its headquarters in Cape Town and they are the 2nd-largest brewing company in the world!). The Mother City is home to a host of microbrewers and beer connoisseurs have a choice of many varieties of the amber ale to sample, taste and drink!
What is Craft Beer?
There are many definitions but essentially it is a small, independent, traditional & hand brewed beer. You’ll also hear speciality beer, artisan beer, gourmet beer, boutique beer, microbrews and dark beers.
Some people claim craft beer has no chemicals (I think they mean uses the finest natural ingredients possible!) , some claim it doesn’t give you a hang-over (if you drink too much of anything alcoholic it will give you a hangover) but whatever the reality is – a craft beer is pretty much hand brewed and has a complexity, a uniqueness and variety from the general yellow fizzy stuff from the industrial breweries and it has flavour.. Enough said! (See description by Jaco de Beer of LongBeach Brewery here)
The Question is where you can find and enjoy these beers. We’ve collated the hot spots for drinking these fabulous craft beers in the south peninsula. As always the list is not exclusive but is our choice of some of the restaurants and bars on the Cape Point Route that sell these beers and also have a great vibe, good service and come with our stamp of approval! See also some local brewers here
The Toad in the Village: Noordhoek Farm Village
The Toad has a saying “We think you’ll like it” and we agree – especially when they have their very own beer – Toad Lager!!! It’s a fine brew and a fine establishment with a good atmosphere and regular crowd. It’s location at Noordhoek Farm Village makes it an easy stop en route to Cape Point or for an afternoon with mates watching live sport on one of the big screens. This is good beer and a good country pub!
Cafe Roux: Noordhoek Farm Village
The Toad’s next door neighbour at Noordhoek Farm Village has a great little bar with craft beers on tap. One of the most popular is Jack Black – from a small microbrewery in the Western Cape. They also stock CBC Pilsener from the Cape Brewing Company who are based in Paarl – it’s a blonde beer with a bitter finish but brewed in traditional lager style! Boston Breweries “Naked Mexican” Beer is a sparkling golden lager with nothing to hide and is a very popular choice at Cafe Roux! I do love some of the craft beer names- don’t you?
Noordhoek Farm Village is without doubt a good stop in the peninsula as the Foodbarn Deli sells craft beers off their shelves so you could also stock up and take some home! Jack Black and the Naked Mexican from Boston Breweries can be found alongside a large collection of &Union beers. Their brewing process takes up to 16 weeks and it’s all small batches! The Foodbarn stocks unfiltered Lager, Dark Lager, Berne and Steph Weiss. From the small town of Darling comes Darling Brew – their slow brewed lager, the Native and Bonecrusher are gracing the south peninsula with their esteemed presence. Beers Brewed a little closer to Cape Town include the Devil’s Peak First Light golden Ale and the Devils’ Peak Kings Blockhouse and the local Kommetjie brew Lakeside American Pale Ale & Lakeside Hefeweizen. Spoilt for choice??? Definitely!
The Red Herring: Noordhoek
Another fabulous drinking hole and restaurant in Noordhoek – the Red Herring has a fabulous sundowner deck and it is simply delightful to end a summers day with a pint of Jack Black in hand – on tap naturally!
Hout Bay is another good hotspot for enjoying craft beer and Chapman’s Peak Hotel is not only a great sundowner spot with an awesome view but if you are a fan of craft beerone for the occasion, a party, a meal or even the weather! They have bottle of Citizen Amber Ale; &Union and the Darling Brew Range who recommend the following: for long summer days a slow beer or a candy noised BONE CRUSHER. A cold day or evening a native Ale or Black mist slowly savoured will kick off or round off the evening.
Bay Harbour Market: Hout Bay
Markets are traditionally a good place to get craft beers – by the very nature of being hosts to small suppliers. The Keg King sells beer on tap and has Citizen Alliance Amber Ale, Darling Breweries slow beer lager as well Devil’s Peak’s First Light Golden Ale. The Beer Merchant sells bottled craft beer. From the Darling Brew Slow Beer Cellar they have Native Ale, Black Mist and the Bone Crusher (Don’t you LOVE craft beer names?!). Also in bottles from the Devil’s Peak Brewing Company: The King’s Blockhouse; Silver Tree Saison and the Woodhead Amber Ale. For those who aren’t inclined towards beer, try the pear or apple Cider from Everson’s. Great vibe, Great Beer and beer geeks will certainly be content!
Sit on the deck on a nice summer day and look over the Hout Bay and Chapman’s Peak sipping an ice cold craft beer is reason to visit. The popular Jack Black on tap is that lager-style beer, brewed in the traditional style with quality hops! Not a bad solution to pop into the Crayclub Bar with that ice cold lager and watch your favourite weekend sport match on the big screen.
Massimos Pizzeria, the Woodcutters Arms & La Cuccina all stock Darling Brew. The Woodcutters Arms and Alpenstubbe both stock CBC craft beer. Massimos’s, Dunes and Wild Woods sell &Union beers and Pakalolo is a purveyor of Boston Breweries Ale.
Special mention needs to be made of Lakeside Beerworks run by Morne and Pierre-Charl who united over an appreciation of craft Beer in 2012. In July of 2013 they bought the well-loved Valley Brewery in Kommetjie. The 2 brewers can be found there most days and love visitors – especially beer enthusiasts. Selections of their beers are on tap so pull in and grab a pint fresh from the tanks! If Kommetjie is not on your route you can also find the American Pale Ale at the Annex in Kalk Bay and the Blue Bird Market in Muizenberg, Teh Stoep & Swing in Glencairn as well as the local Kommetjie pub – the Helmsman.
We have no doubt that the craft beer trend will expand even more rapidly and more and more establishments will be stockists and supporters of these fine lagers and ales. Whilst South Africa has been known as a beer culture, the refined palate of beer drinking is a new-ish development. Cape Town is responding to that as the leaders in producing beer of a quality and a clientele who are asking for beer with character depth. Cheers!
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Cape Point Route offers day tours, packages, accommodation, activities and car hire in Cape Town’s south peninsula in addition to teambuilding events in Cape Town. We will happily arrange group activities, transport and extended programmes.
Call 021 782 9356 or visit www.capepointroute.co.za