Old and traditional is fading out. New and edgy is taking over. 2012 has so far been the year of the craft beer revolution with new breweries sprouting up across the country. There is a definite paradigm shift from older, more traditional looking brands, to those that are youthful, funky and sexy.
A handful of the newer breweries (and a few contract brewers) are driving the revolution by combining their range of solid beers with a slick delivery.
The Beer Bru’s current top 5 sexiest beers are:
Raw and outlaw-ish.
Jack Black’s recent foray into bottles has resulted in an edgy product that has caught the attention of not just craft drinkers, but anyone with a bit of adventure. The brand is becoming a hit in Jozi.
Seductive and simple.
Probably the only SA craft beer in a clear bottle, making it stand out from the crowd. This beer is “pure and naked with nothing to hide”. Amen.
Edgy and definitive.
Although not produced in SA, &Union has become a regular feature on the liquor store shelves. The classy packaging makes you feel like a million bucks when quaffing an Unfiltered Lager.
Mysterious and dark.
Darling Brew’s eagle-inspired black ale draws in you seductively. All those who have drunk a Black Mist would testify to examining the bottle for a few minutes to unravel the enigmatic raptor on the label.
Complex and crafted.
DPBC’s most recent addition to the family has yielded a visual offering that is not as hard-edged as their Blockhouse or First Light, but perfectly balanced, just like the beer itself. Full of detail as usual with a refreshing golden-yellow hue across the label, this beer is going to see in summer just perfectly.
Most craft beer drinkers are hopheads. This is one of the main distinguishing factors between those who drink craft and those who do not. The bitterness and fruitiness provide a range of flavour and a kick that cannot be matched.
Indian Pale Ales (IPAs) are craft beers on a hop steroid binge. A high IBU count together with a medium to low maltiness, results in a beer where the hops to the talking. IPAs are one of the stock standard beers that any craft beer lover will enjoy, as the alpha acids and aroma oils provide a sensory explosion on the nose and in the mouth.
Over the last few weeks Jozi has had two fantastic craft beer festivals with a whole range of beers on offer. Both festivals showcased the best of South African craft beer, however there has been a noticeable lack of a key ingredient that most people in the craft community have picked up on…… HOPS!!!
While most of the beers have been of high quality and very drinkable, they have mostly been amber ales, weiss beers, and porter and stouts. While all very nice, they have not catered for our hop thirst (…craving actually!). There has been very little in the way of a good IPA, with the exception of the Devil’s Peak Blockhouse IPA which hails from the Cape.
While discussing such issues over the twittersphere, the following question was raised: Does Jozi have a single establishment that serves an IPA on tap? After a bit of debate we all came to a rather chilling resolution…..NO!!! We could not think of any pub / bar / restaurant that serves kegged IPA in Jozi. This rather frightening discovery has resulted in a call to arms in twitterland…
Myself, together with fellow craft blogger and enthusiast, Brewers Beast, have come up with a challenge for all these fine Jozi establishments: Be the first to install a tap to serve good local kegged IPA. And we are not fussy, so it can be any one of an American / English / Imperial IPA. The first establishment to do this wins the challenge, as well as the respect and adoration of the Jozi craft beer community, not mentioning the ZARs that will come your way from the many hop starved craft drinkers!
There, the challenge had been laid and now Jozi (as well as the South African microbreweries) it is over to you to join the movement. Don’t disappoint us, we can get grumpy!
The challenge starts now. Quite frankly, I want to get hopf*cked.
As most people in the Jozi beer fraternity know, we are entering into a couple of weekends of unparalleled beer bliss! The Jozi Craft Beer Fest and the Solstice Festival are featuring on the 26 May and 2 June respectively.
Visit the websites, grab your tickets, clear the diary, and harden those livers, because this is what we are in for:
2 Beer Festivals
2 Consecutive Weekends
25 Breweries (and counting…)
This, together with an assortment of top bands and some great food, is sure to be rather epic. A summary of the micro breweries that will serving their craft brews are as follows:
Real beer drinkers want a taste of different. The problem is getting opportunities to do this, particularly in Jozi. Just like connoisseurs of whisky and wine, craft beer drinkers want this to taste different variations of the craft. We want a trip to a restaurant, or a normal trip to the local pub, to have a range of stocked beverages that deserve our consumption. The opportunities to do this are unfortunately a bit thin on the ground.
Only a very select few establishments (at this stage anyway) offer bottled and kegged craft beer. These establishments must be applauded, as the typical safe route of serving only SAB beers and so-called ‘imported’ beers is by far easier, and logistically less complicated.
Restaurant patrons are always offered a wine list when they are seated…where is the craft beer list goddamit!?!
So next time you consider going out for a meal or a drink, get creative and choose an establishment that serves craft! Here is the list so far Jozi, named and famed:
The locations of the above establishments are google-mapped below. The address and list of beers served is listed in the map info:
*If there are any establishments that need to be added to the list, drop me a line
I have been meaning to post these pics for a while from the Clarens Craft Beer Festival, held on the 25th February 2012. As a craft beer enthusiast this was a proverbial Garden of Eden. So many good beers, and so much enthusiasm being generated for the South African craft beer scene. There were approximately 90 different beers on offer from about 23 or so micro-breweries.
My only regret: Getting to taste less than half of the beers on offer! My advice to the organisers for next year would be to spread the festival over 2 days.
PS: Thanks to Grant York for the pics (Twitter @GrantYork77)