Craft brewing at its finest

Private Property South Africa
Jackie Gray-Parker

The 8th of August dawned bright and clear and smacked of spring. It also played host to the first ever ‘Consol Craft Revolution’ which took place at Montecasino in Fourways.

The brainchild of Taste Festival South Africa, the show acted as a platform for South African craft micro-breweries who showcased their wares alongside gourmet street food vendors and live entertainers. Microbrewery vendors included Smack Republic Brewing Co, Mitchell’s, Soweto, Two Okes Brewery, Mad Giant, The Bushvine Trading Company, Copperlake Breweries, Brothers Brewery, Mainstream Brewing Company, Swagga, Brewhogs, Robson’s and Windermere.

Windermere was the first stall to catch my eye, partly because of the long queue snaking in front of its stand and because I enjoy a good cider. Windermere’s cider flavours included rooibos, elderflower, apple and pear. I chose the apple which was crisp and refreshing yet not overpowering.

Copperlake Breweries which has a pub at Broadacres Shopping Centre offered a light lager, a Premium lager, a citrus cooler, a Weiss beer, an English ale and India Pale Ale. According to brew master David Wilson, Copperlake’s English ale was the brewery’s flagship product when Copperlake first began brewing in 2009. Elaborating on the brewery’s offering, Wilson explained that the Premium has a great malty taste all of its own, the Weiss (which is a hoppy beer) is appreciated by many, including Germans “who know what a Weiss beer is” and the India Pale Ale is the “crowd-pleaser”. My personal favourite was the citrus cooler – a delicious ‘pink drink’ incorporating lemonade, citrus fruits and ginger.

Black Horse Craft Brewery which is a family run business offered ‘Harry Porter’, an Irish Red Ale, Golden Lager, India Pale Ale and the delicious, gingery Ginger Berry. According to Black Horse’s Nuschka Botha who also happens to be one of South Africa’s youngest female brewers, Black Horse’s Golden Lager is the most popular with patrons which she says is due to the fact that South Africans “love their lager.” Black Horse brews its craft beer on site at its venue in Magaliesburg which also doubles as a delightful restaurant, conference centre and wedding venue. Black Horse prides itself in using natural spring water and the finest hops to craft its products.

Smack Republic Brewing Co.’s products were more offbeat. Drinks on offer at their stand included Bree Street Belle (a light, smooth, easy drinking ale), Maboneng Maverick (infused with naartjie peel and black pepper), Hillbrow Honey (infused with litchi blossom honey and rooibos), Braamfontein Brawler ( a full flavoured hoppy ale with citrus and pine notes and Newtown Nemesis (a vanilla and bourbon infused milk stout).

Mad Giant Beer kept things simple with its True Grit (an amber ale) and Punk Hop (a pale ale). Mad Giant’s brew master Eben Uys explained that Punk Hop (Mad Giant’s best seller) is “hoppy, light and crisp” and True Grit is “malty with caramel and toffee tones.” Uys added that Punk Hop is also making waves as evidenced by being placed third at the 2014 SAB Craft Brewers Championship.

Of course there were many other drinks worth trying at the show but only if you wanted to get into trouble with the authorities. Luckily, breathalyser tests were available at the show so those who thought they might have overindulged could check their limit. For those who didn’t fancy alcoholic beverages there was ice tea, coffee and water on sale.

Food options were also plentiful. Hogs Head sold mouth-watering burgers, BRM’s ribs pulled the crowds, Amexicano had fusion fare on sale, Soul Souvlaki’s chicken and haloumi wraps were scrumptious and Long Tom Foods, Vetkoek Café and Kraal Brewery all had their share of people lining up at their stalls. Once people had bought their food or drinks, many gravitated to a collection of plastic wrapped hay bales which had been set up in front of a stage which featured numerous great performers throughout the day.

Overall the show made for a great day out. The atmosphere was lively and fun, visitors could eat, drink and chill in safety and South Africa’s microbreweries had their day in the sun.

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