Six South African breweries every tourist should visit

The sun sets over Clarens

The sun sets over Clarens

Breweries are great, those situated in pretty locations are even better.

With craft beer booming around the country and getting more popular by the minute, visitors to South Africa have never had more options when it comes to enjoying a pint of their favourite tipple. As an added advantage many of the brewers of these beers live in some of the country’s most pristine places. Combining beautiful surroundings with an ice-cold beer is a great way to guarantee a good afternoon, and these six establishments have all of this in spades.  If you are planning a tour of South Africa and love a beer, these are the breweries you simply can’t miss.

Nottingham Road Brewery – Midlands

Set in the park-like grounds of the venerable Rawdons Hotel, in the heart of the Midlands Meander, the Nottingham road brewery has been making beers since 1996 and is as such one of the elder statesmen of SA independent brewing. With a wide range of beers served at a quaint wooden bar, the brewery alone would be worth a visit.

The Meander is known for vastly more than just the brewery though as some of the finest restaurants are from this area, and visitors can also expect to find art galleries, workshops, and farmer’s markets aplenty to keep them entertained.  When the weather is good here you can see all the way the Drakensberg as you slowly wend your way through the various attractions, and when the weather is bad and the cold mist descends there are plenty of roaring fireplaces around which you can enjoy a meal.

Black Horse Brewery – Magaliesburg, Gauteng

The Black Horse Brewery is one of the star attractions of the Magaliesburg. Take a table under the towering trees or in the timeless brewery itself, and indulge in a range of beers and a menu that includes burgers, pizzas and beer’s favourite partner, Eisbein.

Nearby you will find an elephant sanctuary, hot-air balloon safaris, and an abundance of antique furniture stores, candle shops and market stalls. Just an hour outside of Johannesburg, this is one of the easier trips to do if you want to get away from the bustle of the city.

Anvil Ale House brewery – Dullstroom

A small brewery on the edge of the town of Dullstroom, Anvil Alehouse has a little garden and an even smaller brewery that offers visitors the chance to taste beers and eat from the simple, and mostly locally sourced, food menu. With Dullstroom being a haven for fly fisherman we can only recommend the trout though the German sausage with homemade relishes and mustard is also a strong choice.

With plenty of golf, fishing and scenic drives in the area you might be forgiven for not noticing the plethora of small coffee shops, antique stores, and art galleries. For those who are a little more adventurous, the Bird of Prey rehabilitation centre is worth a stop, while Wild About Whisky does educational whisky tastings for beginners and connoisseurs.

Clarens Brewery – Clarens

A shiny new brewery in the heart of this quintessentially South African small town, the Clarens brewery is a great place to while away a few hours and watch the passersby in the town square. The host brewery for the nationally famous Clarens Beer Festival (which next takes place on the 21st and 22nd of February 2020) you know the beers and ciders are top quality, and the food is always the perfect accompaniment.

Given Clarens’ distant and quiet location it’s the ideal place for hiking and river rafting though for those who are used to a slower pace the numerous art galleries, and restaurants also make for the perfect place to enjoy a weekend of nothing but relaxation.

Tuk Tuk Microbrewery  – Franschhoek

Franschhoek has long been known for its wines but is fast becoming the home to some of SA’s best beers too. One of our favourites is the Tuk Tuk Microbrewery on the main street. Developed in partnership with the award-winning Cape Brewing Company (CBC) Tuk Tuk serves a range of excellent beers and some of the finest Mexican-inspired food in the country – try the Burrito, you won’t regret it.

Of course, as this is wine country there is plenty to do on that front as well. Take a trip to any of the fantastic estates in the region for picnics, or gaze at art at the numerous galleries and fashion stores in town. This town is also the home to some of the country’s most award-winning restaurants, including Chefs Warehouse at Maison, Foliage and La Petite Colombe.

Cockpit brewhouse – Cullinan

Without a doubt, the beers at Cockpit Brewhouse can stand alongside the finest in the world. This is a brewery curated by a brewmaster with a real passion for his craft and the regular seasonal ales, the one-off concoctions and rare treat beers attest to that. Established in 2013, this is one of the newest breweries on the list, but such is its character that it has quickly established a reputation for quality making it a real attraction in this former mining town, just east of Pretoria.

In terms of entertainment, there isn’t as much variety in Cullinan as there may be for some of the other towns, but the nearby mine tours and the and the Lion and cheetah sanctuary are worth a stop. There is also a small chocolatier, horse riding, and the Cockpit Brewery is next door to chef Lientjie Wessel’s well respected Albizia restaurant, so meals are sorted.

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