There are a few home-brewing stores nearby, Beerguevera, Brewmart, Black Kilt, etc. Google should help you find a good one near you. We were in the middle of South Africa's wine region, but there weren't any vineyards in sight. Surrounded by miles of fallow fields and factories in the industrial area of Somerset West, outside Cape Town, we were at a tasting bar in a modest and dilapidated building that houses Triggerfish Brewing, one of the most recent and brilliant developments in the South African craft beer scene.
Firmly established among oenophiles as one of the world's leading wine producers, until recently South Africa was not appreciated by beer enthusiasts either. It's not that the country didn't produce beer, but that South Africa is home to South African Breweries Limited, a subsidiary of SABMiller, the second largest beer producer in the world, but that experts considered that mass-produced beer had as much in common with quality beer as boxed wine with Bordeaux. While the country's first microbrewery, which is still extremely popular, began operating in the early 1980s, the South African craft beer scene was relatively stagnant over the next two decades, largely thanks to the strong market share and the affordability of SAB. But brewmasters are now doing everything they can to make up for lost time.
In recent years, microbreweries across the country Boston, Napier, Jack Black, Clarens, Triggerfish, Darling, Brewers & Union, Birkenhead, Saggy Stone, Robson's and Drayman's have established themselves as one of the main suppliers in South Africa. Even SAB's greats have started trying their luck with the microbrewery, producing special, limited-edition craft beers for local beer festivals. In fact, beer has long roots in the region, even before wine. The first commercial beer in what is now South Africa was brewed in Newlands, outside Cape Town, on the banks of the Liesbeek River, in 1658 (wine production did not begin until a year later); one of SAB's breweries is still in this auspicious location.
What many breweries have in common with South African wineries is a landscape like no other. While some microbreweries are based in or near Cape Town and Johannesburg, many are located in idyllic small cities within hours of any urban center, which provides a good excuse for beer-loving travelers to discover beautiful parts of the country that tourists don't usually see. My personal tour of craft breweries took me to the small town of Napier (where the brewery that bears the name of the city is located), about two hours southeast of Cape Town, where I saw fields dotted with the rare blue crane; I stopped near Cape Agulhas, on the southern tip of Africa, to dip my feet in the ocean. A trip to the town of Darling (where Darling Brew is located), an hour north of Cape Town, was rewarded with the sighting of a geometric turtle, one of the most threatened turtles in the world and found only in this area, as well as fields of spectacularly colored wildflowers.
I survived a foggy journey through the steep Long Tom Pass, in the province of Mpumalanga, to reach the Hops Hollow Brew pub, located at an impressive height. Clarens Brewery (store 1, Rosemary Center, 326 Main Street, Clarens; 27-82-901-4700; clarensbrewery, co, za). Tours are available for free. Saggy Stone (Amandalia Farm, Agtervinkrivier, Cape Winelands, Western Cape; 27-83-453-3526; saggystone, Colorado, za).
Free brewery tours available by appointment only. South African Breweries, Newlands Brewery (3 Main Road, Newlands, Cape Town; 27-21-658-7511; newlandsbrewery, co, za). Reservations required for the tour; 30 rands, including two drinks. Banana Jam Cafe (157 Second Avenue, Cape Town; 27-21-674-0186; bananajamcafe, co, za) offers the best selection of craft beers in Cape Town.
The Craft Beer Project (thecraftbeerproject, co, za) website contains information on beer festivals in the country and other beer-related news. South African breweries, Newlands Brewery (3 Main Road, Newlands, Cape Town); 27-21-658-7511; newlandsbrewery. Judging by the enthusiasm of some of my fellow tasters, a similar injection of vitality is just what the South African beer industry has recently been receiving from these specialized brewers. .