South Africa - Beer of the Winter 2015By Mike Joubert 9 July 2015 | Categories: feature articles
While this winter might have been slightly milder than before, it still calls for a beer or two to stave off the chills. We asked a number of local brewers to select their South African Beer of the Winter 2015. (Also check out the SA Beer of the Summer)
Frans van Staden
Own brewery: Our Skeleton Coast IPA with its powerful citrus, floral and earthy aromas. The slight bitterness from all the hops used is balanced out by the large amount of fine malts, adding to the taste and mouthfeel of this beer. It’s our highest ABV% beer at 6.6%, which also helps to warm you up from the inside. This is my favourite beer to drink in winter because it pairs so well with hearty winter meals such as roasted lamb or even spicy curry dishes.
Other brewery: Stouts are always a good choice for winter. My favourite local stout is Smack Republic’s Newtown Nemesis. It’s a vanilla and bourbon infused Stout, and is just as delicious as it sounds.
The Cockpit Brewhouse
André de Beer
Own brewery: From our brewery, I'd recommend the Black Widow Stout, a rich and complex American style stout with notes of esspresso coffee and dark bitter chocolate, balanced by a firm bitterness and a pleasant fruity hop note.
Other brewery: From another brewery, I would suggest Crazy Diamond, a collaboration between Triggerfish Brewing in Somerset West and The Cockpit Brewhouse â”€ if you can get hold of it! It’s a fusion between Belgian Quadruple and Double IPA styles, an intensely complex beer with rich dark fruit and lingering bitterness. Only the Triggerfish version is currently available.
Own brewery: From us I would recommend our Saboteur IPA. It's great spicy hoppiness, and rich toffee flavour makes it a fantastic winter beer to slowly sip through and savour.
Other brewery: I'm a big fan of dark beers, so I'd have to recommend the Dog & Fig Stewige Stout. It's a fantastic beer. Rich and flavoursome with great chocolate, and roasted malt flavours. The Black Dog Porter from Wild Clover gets and honourable mention too.
Own brewery: Our ideal beer for kicking winter in the face would be Insurrection Steam Beer. It’s got just the right balance of caramel, toasted malts and spicy hops to chase the cold monsters away. It also pairs extremely well with winter comfort foods like roast beef, pork, and sharp cheeses.
Other brewery: Drayman’s Jolly Monk Rauchbier is a great winter beer. Those smoked malt flavours really do the business on a cold winter’s night.
Own brewery: Our winter beer is undoubtedly our West Coast Ale the beer that has won a number of awards. With its ruby red colour this steam beer goes very well with comfort food, potjies and stews.
Other brewery: I would recommend the stout Stewige Stout from Dog and Fig brewery as another.
Own brewery: True Grit - A beautiful silky malt profile with coffee, white chocolate and vanilla notes, medium bitterness with a light citrus aroma and crispness from the hops. A medium bodied beer to shake of the cold yet refreshing for the midday winter sun.
Other brewery: Smack Republic's Vanilla Bourbon Stout - Strong Vanilla, Bourbon, Coffee, and toast flavours with some residual sweetness for those very cold nights. Really nice balance in flavours and a full bodied beer.
Own brewery: Loxton Lager! And why? It's got a full yet well balanced grain bill, so it's perfectly weighted for SA's mild winters. And its honey and fynbos give an intriguingly edgy complexity, perfect for the balmy middays and swifter sunsets.
Other brewery: John Little's bottle-conditioned wonders from Quills in Botha's Hill. Why? They are quite robust, and the cooler days mean a less hectic experience.
Brauhaus am Damm
Own brewery: Brauhaus Dunkel - a dark coloured Lager with rich coffee and caramel flavours and aromas is a complex yet balanced beer. Absolutely my favourite favourite!
Other brewery: CBC Harvest Lager – a wonderfully golden lager with rich malt aroma and a hint of spicyness. With slightly higher alcohol content it’s the perfect winter warmer.
Just Brewing Company
Own brewery: Chocolate Coffee Stout, nothing better than snuggling up in front of a fire with a delicious stout, throw in chocolate and coffee and it’s a match made in heaven.
Other brewery: Pickled Horse Porter by De Garve. It’s a great full flavoured porter, a perfect winter warmer.
Own brewery: Soweto Gold - Orlando Stout. A medium bodied espresso cinnamon stout.
Other brewery: Brauhaus am Damm’s Dunkel.
The beer I would definitely recommend would be the Copperlake Dark Lager as the perfect winter warmer. Its sweet roasted malt base with notes of coffee goes down beautifully, plus as an easy drinking beer you can come back for more.
Woodstock Brewery’ Pot Belge Belgian Amber Ale – I’m loving all the beers from this brewery, but this one is definitely my winter beer. Sweet toasted caramel, light, spicy, citrus hops and it’s so smooth. Named after an early generation cycling stimulant consumed as an elixir to make tough riding days a little easier and more bearable, this makes winter bearable also.
The Beer Merchant
At the moment, I’m loving the Triggerfish Empowered Stout which has been around for a while, but seems to be tasting better and better as the brewery gets it out there. Rich coffee and dark chocolate, with quite a bit of bitterness and medium body, it’s not as creamy, thick and carbonated as a Guinness or Milk Stout, but goes as well with potjies, beef and gravy and even with Lindt Chocolate.
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