The Western Cape region is renowned for its various wine routes, but it’s worth setting aside time to explore its craft breweries and cidery, says Ann Gadd.
The craft cider and beer industry has been growing in South Africa and its estimated that there are over 150 at present; with most of them based in the Western Cape. Unfortunately, just as some spring up, so do many close, but here are some favourites that are standing the test of time and deserve your attention.
1. Darling Brew
Darling Brew is the largest on this list and with good reason. It’s beer making operation is not hidden in another room, but open for all its restaurant diners and beer tasting aficionados to enjoy, so you can see what goes into making your lager. You can taste the beers individually or opt for one of the five beer tasting options or “flights” that come in four to eight beers to suit your tastes. As well as crowd favourites, there are also seasonal options to choose from. The full range of beers is available to purchase so that you can enjoy the taste at home. Darling Brews is a great outing for friends and family. To eat, there’s a great selection of tapas, as well as several tasting boards. For the parents, there’s a special kids’ menu and a large family-friendly outdoor seating area that has an inviting lawn with a huge jungle gym to keep the children entertained. Good news for dog lovers, you are welcome to bring along Fido, but because of restaurant restrictions, you’ll need to sit outdoors.
48 Caledon Street, Darling
+27 (0) 21 286 1099; [email protected]
Not a big beer drinker? Then take a look out our list of top wine tasting spots in Darling.
2. Loxtonia Cider
Just outside of Ceres is the Loxtonia Cidery where the Whitfield family greet you as you enter. Take a seat in their taste room that overlooks the magnificent orchards where the apples are grown for the cider you’ll be tasting. Currently the Whitfield’s make six cider variations including a cherry flavoured cider. It’s a great feeling being able to sit amongst the apples quaffing the cider made from them, whilst enjoying a delicious snack.
Ezelfontein Road, Ceres
+27 (0) 23 004 0930; [email protected]
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3. Charlie’s Brewhouse
You’ll find Charlie’s Brewhouse at Port Owen Marina where you can indulge in some delicious tea treats, meals and beer tasting whilst watching the yachts at play. The menu includes cakes, good wholesome food such as eisbein, salads, burgers and seafood, homemade ice-cream and deserts. The four beers available include a blonde ale, lager, bourbon stout and APA. The outside area has a giant chess board, or you can just kick back, beer in hand and watch the world go by.
1 Marina Centre, Port Owen Drive, Velddrif
+27 (0) 22 783 0448; [email protected]
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4. Black Eagle Brewing Co.
In the heart of Langebaan, in an old fishing cottage, you’ll find the Black Eagle Brewing Company. Started by Hugo Roux and Elmien Gotsell, Black Eagle makes 14 beers that are based on classic beer styles with unique twists. Their beers include a stout named Moedermelk, an IPA called Baas van die Plaas and a Belgian witbier dubbed Weskus Brekfis. It’s a laid-back vibe in this West Coast town.
Shop 7, Queens Cottage, Suffren Street, Langebaan.
+27 (0) 72 884 8299; [email protected]
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5. Indie Ale Craft Brewery
Just outside Porterville on the Klein Liefde Farm, you’ll find Indie Ale Brewery where you can sit outdoors and from time to time enjoy some live music. The venue is child-friendly and well-behaved dogs are welcome. There’s loads of space for the kids to run free and a few farm animals to keep them busy. The food menu is simple: thin crust wood-fired pizzas, pita bread and nachos. There are currently four different beers to try, but they love experimenting, so do visit again soon to see what’s new on the menu.
R44 Halfmanshof, Porterville
+27 (0) 76 599 5995; [email protected]
Hop on the Magaliesberg Ale Trail
Words Ann Gadd
Capetonian author, artist and photo-journalist, Ann Gadd loves exploring people, places and the creatures (both marine and land), that she loves. Having travelled widely, and been chased by a sprightly great white shark, a raging elephant, and having come close to being lion lunch, she is no stranger to adventure. Ex SA Nat. Boardsailing Champion, the sea is her second home, (though now she SUP’s and body boards). Her 22 published books include: Life’s a Beach, The A-Z of South African Place Names and Things ewe never kn’ewe about South African Place Names.