South African Craft Beer Experiences In A Fast-Growing Craft Beer Scene

Craft beer is growing rapidly and in exciting ways in South Africa. There are two must-visit breweries in Cape Town: Devil’s Peak Brewing Company (95 Durham Avenue, Salt River, Cape Town 7925) and Jack Black’s (10 Brigid Road, Diep River, Cape Town 7945). Devil’s Peak basically started craft beer in South Africa and Jack Black’s are the cool, progressive new guys grabbing all the brewing awards— they’re the leaders in a growing number of great South African brewers and their taproom is a great place to drink.

South African Craft Beer Experiences In A Fast-Growing Craft Beer Scene Photo Gallery

Also go to The SAB World of Beer in Johannesburg (15 Helen Joseph

Street, Newtown, Johannesburg). It’s owned by SABMiller and has a fun look at the history of beer, both locally and globally. On the tour, you can get a traditional taste of umqombothi (see post 210) from a communal clay pot and also learn about shebeens.

You should try and visit a shebeen. In the 1800s enterprising women opened illegal speakeasy-style drinking dens in their homes. When an apartheid licensing law from 1927 stated that non-white Africans couldn’t enter a licensed venue or sell alcohol, these shebeens grew in popularity and became a unifying environment for black Africans, places where they could drink umqombothi brewed by the Shebeen Queens. As rules and society changed, their significance shifted, but today they are returning to fashion and celebrating those famous old bars in a new way.

And here’s one you might have missed. In Limpopo, there was once a pub inside the trunk of a huge, old baobab tree—the largest (154ft/47m in circumference) and oldest (at least 1,700 years old) tree trunk in Africa. In early 2017, the Big Baobab collapsed and, while parts of it have reopened and you can still drink next to the tree, it’s not quite what it used to be (www.facemy

Also near Limpopo is Zwakala (Glendennis Farm, Cheerio Road L 10, Haenertsburg), a craft brewery and taproom in a picturesque setting surrounded by the Magoebaskloof Mountains. Try the Limpopo lager, winner of a gold award at the 2016 South African National Beer Trophy.

A worker at Zwakala Brewery, packing up their popular Naked Ale.

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