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Cape Town, South Africa

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roboscot

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Mrs Robo and I went to Cape Town last month. We left BNE on the 5th with 6 hrs in SIN, a 1hr stop in JHB where we were not allowed off the plane and then a final hour and a half to CPT. I had a $20 Erdinger at Changi, that's an expensive hefe.

I drank a couple of beers while I was there and thought I'd share my experiences.

I found &Union long before we flew. The back story is that 2 young fellas sold off their hugely successful cafe chain, http://www.vidaecaffe.com/ and spent the next few years developing a concept for a beer bar. I was very keen to get to this joint and it didn't disappoint, we made quite a few visits.

So, they get the beer brewed in Bavaria by a secret brewery/ies and it is very good. They have a basic range of 5, Steph Weiss, Unfilterd Lager, BERNE(unfiltered amber lager), Dark Lager all in 500ml and Versus Goliath which is 330ml all 5%. They also have a couple of 10% Belgian Tripels, a blonde and an amber (I brought 3 back with me) and did a special strong lager, Kreechr, in 330mls brewed for the launch of the Puma Team in the Volvo Ocean Race.



I loved the Steph, heaps of banana and very drinkable. The lagers were all very subtle but the dark was my fav, malty with a nice hoppy (hersbrucker?) aroma and flavour. I only had one 6.5% Kreechr and it was excellent. They are very much into promoting craft beer and wine and if you are a Twitter user you can check out #idrinkcraft. A HomeBrewing club is planned and one of the owners was very excited when I explained BIAB. The food is pretty awesome too, they are big on charcuterie, sausages and anything that can be braai'd (afrikaans for BBQ). The Manwich was my go-to!



What I really loved about this place apart from the beer and food, was the way that they communicate with their clientele. There are daily updates on Facebook and Twitter with posts about bands in the courtyard, the small batches of wine at the free Tues and Thurs WineGems tastings with Gemma the sommelier and random food-porn shots. The guys behind it are "brand entrepreneurs" not brewers and I totally get what they are doing here. They have experts make the beer and they then make that beer cool. They are selling their range in every trendy cafe/bar in the city and are also getting into bottleshops nationwide.

Another great beer thing was Craft Beer Stalls at local produce markets.


I had a Bonecrusher Wit from Darling Brewing at the Groot Constantia markets and a Napier ale at the Hout Bay Markets where the above photo was taken. There was also a cider stall at Hout Bay, a crisp, dry apple cider for around AU$3 a pint, nice.

Groot Constantia was one of the first wineries established back in the Dutch colonial days and was stunning. The wit came in at 6% in a 550ml (noticing a theme?) and went down well although was a bit overcarbed. I had it with 6 of the biggest oysters I have ever seen, delicious.

I found some more from Darling at a little bottle-o in the city. The have a Slow Lager, Pale Ale and a Dark Ale. The lager and pale were very drinkable without being exciting but I felt the roasted malt in the dark ale had been taken a bit too far and tasted "burnt". I had planned to get up to Darling and visit the tasting room but we never made it.

The Paulaner Brauhaus at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront was big, empty and character free. Had a taster of their Hefe, Dunkelweiss and Lager, all were OK but the joint was as boring as bat-shit so we didn't hang around. I had a few pints of the Dunkel a few days later at a wee pub at Kalk Bay and decided it was a good drop.

I'd had a couple of Mitchells beers at the cricket on the 2nd day of the first test. I was just getting into it but SWMBO decided that cricket was boring and we should go catch a train into the city and "see" things just after the lunch break.

What I didn't see was the biggest batting collapse in Aus test history but did get ripped off for entry to the 2 Oceans Aquarium, don't bother unless you have kids who are Finding Nemo fans! Mitchells also have a brew-bar at the V&A which was pumping, lots of young 'uns and loud music with a woodfired pizza oven upstairs. I had an 80/- which was nicely hopped and had a fruity aroma. It was getting late so we headed home.

Skip to our last day, and we walked the 800m from our cottage to the SAB Newlands behemoth. The tour was quick and informative, the numbers escape me now but they make a shit-load of beer. The main brands are Castle Lager, Carling Black Label, Hansa Pils and Castle Milk Stout. There were only 6 of us on the tour, Mrs R and I, a minister and his wife and father and son Jean Baptiste and Gerard Mbond. JB is an operations manager with SAB Cameroon and G is at Uni in CPT where he lives with his wife and baby daughter. At the end of the tour we had 2 free drinks at the bar, Mrs R doesn't drink so I had 4 ;-) Started with a Hansa Pils, all saaz pilsener. SAB import Urquell to SA so I had a pint of that and then rounded off with a couple of Milk Stouts.

The Milk Stout was awesome, poured on nitrogen and comes in at a bold 6%. Here's Jean Baptiste being a cool muthafuka!



I had a Windhoek Lager, from Namibia, where I'm told the German community have a thriving brewing scene. There's also Saggy Stone Brewing an hour from CPT and another micro at Hermanus, on the coast, which we didn't manage to get to.

We had an awesome time, I've got heaps more pics but don't want to bore you! I would highly recommend a couple of weeks in Cape Town, a beautiful city with a healthy beer scene.
 

hhouken

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Hmmm - makes me feel homesick. Still brew better beer here in Aus though. Must be the water :rolleyes:
 

kelbygreen

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sounds like you had a great time would love to go there, Might take my mum as she was born in SA and has not returned so a happy trip for her would be good. It great you found some craft beers there and good to know where you can get them :p . Hope you had a good time (apart from missing the cricket) :D
 

eviljesus

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Great read!

Thanks to the other bloke looking for it for bringing it to my attention.
 

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