‘I’m the kind of person who likes to do things myself,’ declares Ivan Beukes, brewer-owner at Mtunzini Brewery. So when the idea of making beer occurred, he quickly launched himself into the hobby.
‘I always liked beer and I starting doing a bit of homework into how to do it myself,’ says Ivan. He didn’t mess around – after two kit beers (‘it was horrible’) Ivan leapt straight into a 100-litre all-grain system. Two years down the line, he decided the system – three or four times the batch size of the average homebrew setup – was too small and upgraded to a 200-litre brewhouse.
‘It’s an odd size,’ he admits. ‘It’s too big for a homebrewer and too small for a commercial brewery.’ But he has been brewing on it for the best part of a decade and when asked how he managed to get through all the beer he brewed, Ivan’s answer is simple: ‘I suddenly found myself with a lot of friends!’
Ivan has also got plenty of fans, and his stand is hotly awaited each year at the Clarens Craft Beer Festival. Hot is the operative word here, since the brew that beer fans are eager to taste each year is Ivan’s Chilli Beer. Ivan made his debut at Clarens in 2011, back when the event featured homebrewers as well as commercial breweries.
In fact, it was the response at the inaugural festival that started Ivan thinking about taking his Chilli Beer – and the others in his repertoire – to market. Now he’s upgrading his system and hoping to one day leave his metallurgist background behind in favour of brewing full-time. Seasonal brews are definitely going to feature and Ivan has been experimenting with other additions, including honeybush, but for beer – and chilli – enthusiasts, there’s one thing that Ivan will always be associated with and that’s a nice cold, hot blonde.
- Chilli Beer (4%)
- Red Irish (4%)
- Blonde (4%)
- Grozne Stout (5.5%)
Big 5 Pint
Mtunzini Chilli Beer
‘It’s not to everyone’s taste,’ says Ivan of his most talked-about beer, but if you’re a fan of chilli (and beer), you’ll love it. The base beer is a blonde, with chillies added in the boil – just the right amount, leaving a beer that has quite a kick, but that is still very much in touch with its blonde roots.
‘I suddenly found myself with a lot of friends!’
Fourwinds Farm, Mtunzini; 082 444 7690
Open by appointment only
Extracted from Beer Safari by Lucy Corne (Struik Lifestyle)