Discovering the Best Beer in South Africa

Beer of the Year — Afro Caribbean Jungle Paradise — was recently crowned in the African Beer Cup. This week, we asked our Twitter followers to tell us what their favorite beer is and Castle won with more than 40% of the votes. But what is the best beer in South Africa? South Africa has a long history of beer production, with corporate brewing dating back to the beginning of the 20th century. There are several well-known, widely produced and popular beers in South Africa.

To answer the question of which is the best beer in South Africa, we need to look at the African Beer Cup. This year, Drifter Brewing Company, based in Cape Town, won with their Stormy Smoked Porter. Soul Barrel Brewing, a small craft brewery in Cape Winelands, produced this winning beer using 100% South African ingredients. South Africa accounts for 34% of Africa's formal beer market and is expected to grow by 8-10% annually over the next five years.

For a unique South African combination, a good pairing is ostrich steak with Jack Black Brewers Lager beer. Bantu beer has a long history in South Africa and is brewed with kaffircorn malt. In recent years, commercially produced bantu beer powders have replaced kaffircorn malt in homebrewing and smaller industrial breweries. During the 17th century, Dutch settlers arrived in South Africa and introduced the classic type of lager brewed with barley and hops.

On October 4, 1658, Jan van Riebeeck noted in his diary that the first beer was brewed on the Cape that day. Coming from the same microbrewery, The Space Llama double IPA recently won the Best Beer in Africa award. My colleague Gabi is a little more beer savvy and prefers CBC Amber Weiss while I like a Black Label when I drink a strange beer. Hansa Pilsner is one of the largest beers in South Africa and is a medium-bodied beer with a mild carbonation and traditional malty flavor. Excited about this feat, the founder and brewer of Soul Barrel Brewing, Nick Smith, says that winning “The best beer in Africa is one of the most important achievements a brewery can achieve in Africa”.