Tag Archives: beer

A flat Amstel Lager

A flat Amstel Lager
Although I'm not keen on it, loads of my friends drink Amstel Lager - its generally a pretty well-known beer in South Africa.

When Kerry-Anne and I last visited Paris together we stayed in a little hotel that had a huge Amstel sign outside it's doors. I found it amazing how something familiar, even a sign of a beer that you're not even partial to, helps make one feel a little more settled.

I just hope that some day someone will invent cans with a 1 month half-life. Not because it would encourage us to drink them faster, but rather that we wouldn't end up with cans like this one.

Windhoek Lager

Windhoek Lager
I don't drink a huge amount of beer, but when I do, it's normally Windhoek Light. The bottle in this photo is its big brother Windhoek Lager, both children of Namibia Breweries and named after Namibia's capital city, Windhoek (translated literally as "wind corner").

Oh, and by the way, nope, that wasn't my bottle! :)

Is beer cheap in South Africa?

Beer on tap
We have family visiting from Australia and one of the first things that they commented on is how cheap our beer is in comparison to beer that they purchase back home.

Our average local bottle store sells a fairly good variety of beer that costs about R130 for a case of 24. That obviously excludes expensive beers imported from Belgium or Germany - those easily cost R350 for a case of 24!

I guess it's clear that one can't simply convert AUD, GBP, or EUR to ZAR to compare - but it would be interesting to know how much locally brewed beer costs in various countries. Leave a comment on this post, and let's see if we're as lucky as our Australian family thinks we are. :)

To easily convert your currency to ZAR, try using Google.
For example, do a search for "20 GBP in ZAR".

Den Anker took my shoe!

Den Anker's shoe-beer
Den Anker is a popular upmarket restaurant at the V&A Waterfront that sells a large variety of dishes including super-fresh seafood.

One of the restaurant's most popular traditions is that patrons are required to hand over a shoe as deposit when purchasing one of these beers. This 8.4% Belgian Kwak beer is served in it's traditional round-bottom glass that by accounts is pretty darn expensive to replace, hence the clever shoe-deposit!

Find the Black Label

Empty beer bottles
Part of our tour at SAB in Newlands was a round of beer appreciation whereby each person in our small tour group was presented with three glasses of beer. Based on the criteria that sets it apart from the others the challenge was to identify which of the three was Carling Black Label.

Previously we'd learned that Black Label is super filtered so the beer has a very clear and clean look about it. Many beers are fairly bitter, but we learned that compared to others Black Label isn't very bitter. (If I recall correctly it's because the Black Label recipe uses less hops than other beers). The final thing that I recall is that Black Label has a distinctively fruity smell.

Even though I took careful note of Black Label's signature properties - I regrettably failed correctly identify the beer! I immediately and correctly discarded the first beer, but ultimately failed to identify the correct glass. In my defence though, I still think someone mixed up my glasses! ;)

Click here to find my little album of photos taken while on the tour.

65,600,000 Bottles of beer on the wall

Bottles of beer
Do you remember that song?

"99 bottles of beer on the wall, 99 bottles of beer.
Take one down and pass it around, 98 bottles of beer on the wall....

The cellars at SAB in Newlands are capable of holding over 21 million litres of beer (about 65 million bottles) at any given time! I'm guessing that the writer of that song sure was lucky not to have been standing in front of this conveyor belt!

I've been posting photos with the word yeast in them over the past two days. An interesting thing that I learned while on the tour was that SAB add on average 3 tons of yeast to each fermentation tank and that six day's later they remove three times as much - that's 9 tons of yeast! Isn't that just crazy!? Don't you wish that your bank could do the same with your money? :)

I think this was the last bit of useful information that I remember from the tour. At this point in the factory I (for some strange reason) become so thirsty that all I could think about was the beer tasting at the end. But, hold on there, allow me to keep this short and tell you more about that tomorrow!

Yeast pitching agitator?

Pitching the yeast
One of our readers correctly pointed out that yesterday's photo must have been taken at South African Breweries in Newlands. SAB produce many different beers and other alcoholic beverages in their seven breweries located in six provinces across the country, including Carling Black Label - the first beer I remember taking a liking to!

After visiting the main control room at SAB we headed down to a huge room with a maize of impeccably clean stainless steel pipes that seemed to head in every which way. While the rest of my group was lectured on the process followed in this room, I took the opportunity to capture a few pictures that I'll be sharing with you. This brings me to today's photo - a series of important-looking red buttons that appear to control something called a Yeast Pitching Agitator.

I know precious little about brewing beer (yes, perhaps I should have paid closer attention) but from the little bit of reading that I did it seems as though "pitching the yeast" refers to the process of adding the yeast to the raw and bubble-less beer (known as "wort"). As for the agitator - it appears as though its role in the process is to activate the yeast in the wort by means of physically stirring the mixture.

Do you know how agitators in breweries work? If you do, please leave a comment to explain it more completely! :)

Jack Black Premium Beer – a Cape Town favourite

Jack Black Premium Beer

I first tasted Jack Black one evening, about a year ago, at a bar in Observatory. The only reason I did so was because a friend mentioned that it was brewed locally at a small distillery - hence the word "Premium" in the title. I have to say that it's a great beer - not that I'm a connoisseur or anything, but it's really easy-drinking, which I guess could be a problem. :)

If you read their "Find Us" page you'll discover that this beer is only available at restaurants and stores in Cape Town and the surrounding areas of the Western Cape (or online at Diletto, for delivery anywhere in South Africa). Yet another thing to try when you visit Cape Town. ;-) You can read the story that inspired the name of the beer on the Jack Black website.

& Union for drinks

& Union Beer Salon

We had the chance for the first time to visit & Union (yes, that's And Union) for drinks and a light snack last Friday. We had an awesome evening, not only due to the fun people that we met up with, the exclusive selection of imported beer, and the yummy bratwurst snacks, but also because we were fortunate to be treated to a few dozen songs by photographer and musician, Andy Lund (pictured here, on the right).

As you may have gathered, summer has arrived in Cape Town. Days are getting longer and evenings are getting warmer - which means that restaurants have started spilling over into the open air, creating an awesome party vibe throughout the city. I love this time of year!

If you're looking for directions to & Union, no worries, here's a map. :)

Oktoberfest at Stellenberg High


Oktoberfest, a 16-day (sometimes 17-day) festival held in a (super) large field in Germany is celebrated in many countries, including South Africa, with plenty of beer, all kinds of traditional German food, a traditional-style band and plenty of dancing.

Stellenberg High School (which Kerry-Anne attended for 5 long years) held their first Oktoberfest celebration this year as a fund-raising event. Given that it was the first time they've attempted this, we'll forgive them for the tiny selection of Bavarian food, solitary brew of beer, and lack of beautiful woman dressed in traditional German beer-lady attire (and yes ladies, the lack of handsome young lads in traditional weird long-shorts and braces too). :)

But seriously, the event seemed to have huge support from the community and everyone there seemed to be having an awesome time. I have a feeling that next year's Oktoberfest is going to be a rocking event. Best make sure that you get there!