The State of the South African Craft Beer Address

If you asked ten people planning a trip to South Africa why they had chosen it, it’s highly unlikely even one of them would say craft beer.  Number one is surely a safari. Now, I’ll tell you this much. You can do a safari and drink craft beer while doing it but it takes some planning.

a safari speaks for itself and is an experience of a lifetime

You’d imagine some go to South Africa for the beaches. Unless you like cold water, you should probably pick another country but I will have to say, if you like to look at and walk on beaches, they have some stunning ones.

some of the stunning beaches of South Africa

You certainly might find some people going to hike. If it weren’t for the possibility of being eaten by a lion, it would probably be a more popular choice. Well, that’s what my safari guide said when I asked him why hiking wasn’t more popular. Obviously, the more popular hiking areas aren’t where lions tend to congregate.

some amazing hiking opportunities in South Africa

While we didn’t get to all the great hiking areas in the country, the following were our favorites.

Top 5 Hiking Areas in South Africa:

1 Cape Town
2 Tsitsikama National Park
3 The Cape of Good Hope
4 West Coast National Park
5 Franschoek Wine Region

Still, there are those of us who are going to seek out the best beer they can find. Even I knew that wine was the tipple most renowned in the country but I had also read that beer was still the number one tipple. Of course, most of that beer is of the mass-produced variety but in a country where people take their tipple seriously and trust in their taste buds, it’s only a matter of time before craft beer makes a play for the top.  In fact, there are already tons of craft breweries popping up all the time here.

I was only in the country for three weeks and spent more than a third of that on safari and that’s not the best place to find craft beer. I also was trying to appease my wife a bit who wanted to check out the renowned wine scene. She does more of her share appeasing me and actually is a big craft beer fan, too.  So, my lists below reflect a lack of time to thoroughly explore all South African craft beer has to offer. That said, I did some research prior to going and followed my instincts and suggestions of locals as we traveled.  Without any further adieu.

Click on links for photos/reviews of beers/breweries.

Top 5 Dark Beers in South Africa:

1 Woodstock African Pride India Porter
2 Sedgefield Porter
3 Dungeons Stout
4 Arrowhead
5 Tuk Tuk Dunkel

Top 5 Non-Dark Beers in South Africa:

1 Karoo The Jackal
2 Californicator
3 Sedgefield India Pale Ale
4 Karoo The Impala
5 Tuk Tuk IPA

Top 5 Craft Breweries in South Africa:

1 Woodstock Brewery (best combo of food/beer)
2 Karoo Brewing (great beer but no food)
3 Urban Brewing (best staff and atmosphere)
4 Sedgefield Craft Brewery
5 Tuk Tuk Brew (narrowly edging out Darling Brew)

It was an amazing three weeks in South Africa. There were things we didn’t like, such as being a bit on edge about crime but overall you couldn’t argue with the sheer beauty of the place, from rugged coastline to one mountain range after another. We had fine wine and food. We hiked some incredible trails and found great beer to reward ourselves with afterwards. Still, I guess when we look back at it all, we’ll most fondly remember driving around in our car and seeing a family of giraffes waltzing along the plain. We, after all, went to South Africa to go on safari, too.





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