By Nadim Nyker & Jordan Stier
The craft beer bandwagon has been speeding through South Africa over the last few years, and even industry giants South African Breweries (SAB) have decided to jump on board. Finally we can have quality beer that won’t give you the morning headache, beer that tastes like the barrel it was brewed in. But in the midst of the hype, it’s easy to get your beers wrong, and to drink something badly brewed and over-priced. At the 2015 Craft Beer Festival at Saints Bistro in Grahamstown, some of the best beers from around the world were on display. Artbeat reporters Jordan Stier and Nadim Nyker spoke to the crowd, the brewers and their trusty taste buds and came up with a gallery of their own. It’s time to enjoy our beer and know what we’re drinking.
Our first 5 drinks can be found at Saints Bistro, Grahamstown:
1) Jack Black Premium Lager.
“A very expensive Black Label.”
The crispness of a Heineken, the hopsiness of a Windhoek, and the sweetness of a Black Label, all rolled into one excellent brew.
2) Cape Brewing Co. (CBC) Amber Weiss.
“So damn good”.
Amber Weiss is voted the world’s best beer by arguably the world’s best drinkers, the Germans.
3) Jack Black Pale Ale.
“The best ‘normal beer’ I’ve ever tasted.”
This is ‘normal’ beer in its finest quality, nothing unexpected or any unique flavouring; just well brewed beer. Have a good time, relax that palate, and drink it by the pint.
4) The Naked Mexican by Boston Breweries.
“The beer energy drink.”
As light as pear juice with the divination of barley, you could drink some and go for a run. A great midday drink for work breaks.
5) Van Hunk’s Pumpkin Ale.
“A medieval beer”.
A heavy, unfiltered beer that tastes like the barrel. This is one the Germans are said to have for breakfast.
6) Red Dragon’s Ginger Beer.
“A ginger beer with an STD”
With 5% alcohol in a drink that tastes like a Stoney, this one explains itself.
7) Liefman’s Frutesse Cherry Beer.
“Tastes like cherry Fizz-Pop for adults”.
The perfect one to try if you’re looking for a beer pink drink. This cherry beer is very sweet and fizzy; used to ciders? This one’s for you.
8) Everson’s Pear Cider.
“Is this beer?”
As succulent as freshly squeezed fruit juice, this cider is soft on the tongue.
9) Cape Brewing Co. (CBC) Pilsner.
“Hansa is good, but this is a real Pilsner.”
Crisp and hopsy, this beer is a great first step away from the mundaneness of lagers.
10) Jack Black Lumberjack Amber Ale.
“Now I know what ‘malt’ means.”
The flavour of roasted malt makes this beer rich in biscuit-like flavour.
11) Wild Honey Blonde by Boston Breweries
“Sweet like a Zamalek, but not so sickening.”
This shandy-like beer doesn’t sacrifice refreshment to obtain its sweet flavour.
12) Urthel Belgian Beer.
“I just want to float in it.”
If beer was mined out of the earth, this would be one to dig deepest to find; wholesome and rich, an exhibition of Belgian brewing brilliance.