I lived in Newlands for many years, and sometimes when the wind was blowing just right you could smell the malty taste of the boiling beer, but I have never actually visited the brewery.
The fermentors – 5 stories high, and 2 tons of yeast added per fermentor – my fermentor at home is just 20L
This week they kindly took myself, my wife and a few friends on a tour of the brewery, and it was the most fantastic evening. We thought it would be a quick tour & tasting, but we asked so many questions and were enjoying the tasting so much that we ended up spending most of the evening at the brewery.
The plant is a very slick operation and almost runs itself. The automation is staggering. Just one person overseas the brewhouse, and about 10 people look after the entire bottling line.
They told us that some of the bottles that leave the brewery have a turnaround time of 3 days. Yes in just 3 days some of the empties are returned – ready to be filled for the next batch.
They have a small onsite microbrewery which can make about 2000l of beer at a time. Compare this to my little brewery which can just make about 20l at a time! Personally I think that the beer from the microbrewery is the most interesting, they do an ale, a blond ale and a weiss (wheat) beer. All of which are fantastic.
Post-tour beer tasting
If you want to visit the brewery you can book yourself on a tour. It just costs R80, and that includes a beer tasting and 2 beers in the pub afterwards. Highly recommended!
If you weren’t at the burger festival this weekend you lost out. They should have more correctly called it the burger and beer festival, because there was plenty of amazing craft beer.
It’s great to see how many small scale breweries there are now in Cape Town, and tasting how good some of the beers are! There was plenty to taste, and the beer community has such amazing people in it – so passionate about their beer, and so willing to share.
Of course beer goes hand in hand with burgers, and it was difficult to choose which stand to buy a burger from. I eventually settled on a 3-cheese burger – mozzarella and cheddar mixed into the patty, topped with blue cheese from Fat Harry’s. I don’t normally eat chips, but after a 30k run this morning I was hungry, and I am glad I ate the chips. Without a doubt they are the best chips I have ever eaten.
It turns out that Fat Harry’s is a restaurant in Harfield Village; I will be taking a turn there to try their other burgers. Here is their website. http://www.fatharrys.co.za
Here’s a pic of my burger; you can decide for yourself how good it looks.
In March it was the annual Southyeasters home-brew festival, and as usual they had a fantastic selection of beer to try (my favourite was a beer made with smoked grain – something I will be trying soon).
I was there to take a few photos, and of course to try the beer.
It amazes me how big the home-brew and craft beer has become in Cape Town. When I started brewing a few years ago I knew of only 1 other homebrewer, and now there are so many people making their own beer. I think it’s fantastic and is only going to result in better beer all around.
So, what to make for my next brew…?
On Sunday I visited the Southyeasters home-brew festival. It was (somewhat strangely) hosted at SAB in Newlands (SAB is the second biggest commercial brewery in the world). But back to the home-brew, there were some amazing beers to try. Many of the stands had a simple “help yourself” policy, and the rest were generous with their tastings.
Being a home-brewer myself I was amazed at how big the local home-brew scene is, and also at the quality. Of all the beers I tried there was only 1 that I did not enjoy. The rest were fantastic.
You will be seeing me there next year, maybe even at my own stand. Find out more about home-brewing in Cape Town.
The South Yeasters Beer Club (of which I am a member) are hosting a beer festival this Sunday, at the SAB brewery in Newlands. There will be over 40 home-made beers available to sample. So if you want to check out the home-brew scene, or just try some amazing beers pop over for an hour or two. Tickets are R100 (that’s about what you will pay retail for 3 craft beers – you will get to try over 40).
To get you in the mood, here are a few pics from my brewery.