Tag Archives: craft beer

Beer Tasting at Darling Brew in Darling (2019-05-11) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 15 NOV 2019

For nearly 10 years now, Darling Brew has been one of the biggest names on the local craft brew scene, an award winning staple of the Cape Town craft beer scene and surprisingly, holder of the title of being Africa’s first ever carbon neutral brewery. (They’ve been quite fond of the environment right from the start).

In addition to their many animal-inspired brews, Darling Brew also operates two restaurants/tasterooms in the Western Cape, the newest being their taproom in Woodstock, touted as being an effort to bring the Darling Brew experience from their home on the West Coast to the Mother City.

Talking about that Darling Brew experience, the home tasteroom really has become a major tourist attraction in the small West Coast town of Darling, bringing in a wealth of new younger tourists to what is already quite the charming place.

So naturally, this beer-soaked attraction overlooking the slick brewing operation was too strong a siren call to ignore forever, which then is exactly why I made point of paying a visit when Chantelle and I spent a night in Darling in celebration of my 39th birthday.

Nachos and a double tasting flight of all manner and style of beer? Perfect!

Craft Beer, Pizza and Art at The Makers Brew in Barrydale (2019-07-03) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 30 OCT 2019

So craft breweries really are popping up everywhere. Of course the village of Barrydale hasn’t been spared, but pleasingly the one that they got is a pretty good one. Say hello to the The Maker’s Brew.

Started by a Capetonian looking for a change of pace, the Maker’s Brew stands out on restaurant-lined main thoroughfare of Barrydale thanks to its strikingly modern look. Its compact, sparse, contemporary space is eye-catching and the perfect complement to the pretty good beers that owner Ryno Reyneke has managed to concoct.

The Amber, Porter, Blonde and Saison styles are all represented, and you would do well to do a tasting while nibbling on a pizza, playing with wooden blocks, and watching the tourist traffic go on by.

(Oh, and if the beer itself isn’t beautiful enough, there is always next door’s Helen Vaughan Handmade ceramics gallery to admire!)

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Craft Beer at Triggerfish Brewing in Paardevlei, Somerset West (2019-04-09) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 21 OCT 2019

The guys at Triggerfish Brewing started brewing commercially in 2010, making them the second oldest craft brewery still brewing in the greater Cape Town area. That said, they are also so tucked away that unless you know about it, you’ll probably never stumble into them either!

Situated in an old factory building deep at the back of Paardevlei (an old forgotten industrial area which is currently undergoing a massive revitalization with a hospital, houses, apartment blocks, and office space all popping up at a rapid pace (the sculptures and vlei are my favourite bits), the brewing operation is also home to a tap room, restaurant, and small live-music/event space. (Plus a small pottery studio of all things).

Popular with locals in search of a removed from the city bustle Friday night beer, Triggerfish also makes for a quirky lunch spot, with the particularly nice bonus of being able to phone in your order beforehand (if your lunch hour is say a bit on the short side), allowing you to stroll in and sit down to food that has just been made – which then is exactly what Chantelle and I took advantage of one afternoon in April.

Surprisingly, the food is actually really good, well presented, and much better than what the scribbled walls, dimly lit, and slightly falling apart building would indicate! So very much like another favourite of ours Im Eimer, where first impressions really do mask a particularly nice food experience!

Also, the craft beer is fantastic.

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Tweety Bird Amber Ale at Rojaal in Grabouw (2018-11-10) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 19 FEB 2019

If you are looking for a hidden gem, then take a side road off the N2 and seek out Rojaal, the wonderfully eclectic Grabouw restaurant housed in an old flower-packing shed. Meaning ‘Abundance’ in Afrikaans, Rojaal overlooks one of the many valleys in the fruit laden Elgin Valley area.

Launched in 2016 by enterprising apple farmer Arno Reuvers, Rojaal is defined by its heritage style decor – as Chantelle would put it, boere chic to the max.

The quirky visual appeal is then complemented by a fine, generous menu and the whole experience is just one of laid back family charm. The views, the food, the hospitality, Rojaal just doesn’t seem to let you down.

On the day of our visit, I tucked into an absolutely delightful monster of a burger, washed down with the surprisingly good Tweety Bird Amber Ale, a product of our very own Gordon’s Bay micro brewery, Red Sky Brew.

Outside of that? Well I just relaxed to the max.

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Birthday Explorations at the Spice Route in Paarl (2018-05-11) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 23 JAN 2019

I’m really fond of the Spice Route as an idea. Take a whole heap of talented artisan producers, house them all in one gorgeous old Cape Dutch farmstead, and then open the doors to the public. With so much refined deliciousness (and one Craft Brew operation at the top of its game), it is no wonder then that The Spice Route is as big a tourist attraction in Paarl as what it is.

I’ve written about the Spice Route before, and last year in May Chantelle and I got to visit without the distraction of having the kids with us. After having started out by browsing at the delightful Brenda’s Deli, we next moved up to the main complex and started exploring the rest of the producers. Wine, cured meats, glass, decor, craft beer, ice cream, chocolate, gin – what more could you ask for?

Chocolate tasting at De Villiers, lunch at Bertus Basson’s Barley & Beer Emporium, and a long stroll around grounds that were so much quieter thanks to it not being a weekend day. Perfect.

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(And because if was my birthday, a special Helderberg Cake Company rainbow cake back home!)

Related Link: Spice Route | Paarl

Beer, Fries and Play at Deer Park Cafe in Vredehoek, Cape Town (2017-08-20) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 18 AUG 2018

If you are out and about exploring in Cape Town with the kids, and now find yourself in need of something to eat but don’t necessarily really feel like being in the more bustling, touristy parts of the city, then take note – Deer Park Cafe in Vredehoek is an absolute gem.

Situated on the upper slopes of Vredehoek, overlooking the city whilst guarded by the mountain above, Deer Park Cafe is a wonderfully relaxed city bowl eatery that is super popular with families thanks to it bordering on the fenced, welcoming Rocklands Road Park, a well maintained public park lined with trees and filled with loads of swings, jungle gyms and plenty of picnic worthy grass.

The food is artisan, delicious and well priced, the craft beer and wine selection good (I thought the Kings Craft Brewing Co’s LionHeart Lager particularly excellent) – so basically the perfect combination for a great casual dining experience then. The view, the relaxed ambiance, the public park – no wonder our girls (following a day out at the Company’s Garden, the Iziko South African Museum, and the Iziko Planetarium) enjoyed this unplanned stop as much as what they did.

Pro-tip: Go early on a weekend – these guys get pretty busy, pretty fast.

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Oh, and apparently the cakes are pretty damn good as well.

Related Link: Deer Park Cafe | Vredehoek | Cape Town

Pedal Carts and Craft Beer at Dirtopia on Delvera Farm in Stellenbosch (2017-08-27) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 01 JUL 2018

Delvera (out on the R44 in the Stellenbosch winelands) has now for a long time billed itself as an “agri-village”, a farm estate hosting a lot of little shops focused on arts & crafts, food and kids activities.

Over the years a lot of these businesses have come and gone, but by far the biggest player still left standing in the complex is Dirtopia, the outdoor, off-road event & trail construction company that bases itself out of the Dirtopia Trail Centre at Delvera – which itself was established to provide active travelers with mountain biking, hiking and trail running information (and equipment), as well as serve as a base for permit sales for a range of trails in the Klapmutskop Conservancy.

Dirtopia has also absorbed what used to be known as the Simonsberg Cafe into its operations, renaming the restaurant to Dirtopia Cafe in keeping with the brand. Not that this was the last of their expansions mind you: the team also took over the operation of Oakleaf Lodge, rebranding the lodge to Dirtopia Trail Lodge – so basically affordable country accommodation option for anyone wanting to sleep over while tackling the trails for a weekend then.

Apart from all the Dirtopia operations, there is also Chrisna’s Olives (boutique olive company), the Simonsberg Environmental Education Centre (conservancy), The Vineyard Connection (wine and freight specialist company), Johan Swart Ceramics (ceramics manufacturer), and Polka Dot Party Pants (birthday parties company).

My favourite of the lot though has to be Zebonkey, the cheekily named, family owned micro brewery that produces interesting beers according to the German Reinheitsgebot ( “German Beer Purity Law”) – but always with a twist, like using sea salt water or Buchu smoked wheat!

Anyway, the point is that Delvera is currently super popular with mountain bikers, hikers and trail runners, but if like us you are none of the above, there is still just enough reason to pay a visit – even if it is just to have lunch in Dirtopia Cafe’s wonderfully leafy garden setting while sipping on a Zebonkey craft brew and taking in the stunning Stellenbosch winelands view.

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As for the girls, there was only really one thing that they were dead set on tackling during our visit – the pedal carts! (But be warned – there is a LOT of competition to grab hold of one…)

Tip: According to their website, please note that some businesses at Delvera (not any of the Dirtopia ones mind you) are open by prior arrangement only, so it is advisable to call in advance to avoid disappointment.

Related Link: Dirtopia Trail Centre | Zebonkey Brewery | Delvera | Stellenbosch

Snoek Pizza at the Franschhoek Station Pub & Grill (2017-08-13) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 26 APR 2018

Franschhoek is a fantastic town to visit, beautiful surroundings, incredible wine estates, brilliant restaurants, a grand monument – but in truth isn’t really all that geared for visiting families, given the general upmarket offerings of the area. That said, there is one restaurant that does actual cater for those needing a more casual experience – the Franschhoek Station Pub.

Situated in the historic, but now disused, town train station, the Franschhoek Station Pub & Craft Bar is one of those dining spots that gets a whole lot right when it comes to entertaining families (and men who want a place to watch sport). The menu is nice and cosy, the beer selection wide (and yes, this includes a lot of the local craft brews), the pub’s decorations interesting, and most important of all, they have a small kids play area behind the pub, right next to the big stretch tent that covers the outdoor eating area.

Oh, and they offer a biltong tasting too.

Our particular visit saw myself tucking into a particularly good hamburger and downing a surprisingly good Stellenbrau Craven Craft Lager, while Chantelle opted for something far less conventional – a snoek covered pizza! A weird combination for sure, but nevertheless a taste which wasn’t half bad in the end.

Chantelle and I had a good time, the kids had a good time, and so all in all a pretty easy spot to recommend to visitors looking for something a little more casual in among the rest of Franschhoek’s more sophisticated offerings.

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The station pub is on the main road and pretty much impossible to miss (the building is unique, the old steam engine stands out, and then there are the large tin buffalo, elephant and rhino statues to catch your eye), though here is a map for just in case you did somehow manage to ride on right past it!

Related Link: Franschhoek Station Pub & Grill | Franschhoek

Bikes and Burgers at The Cafe Racer in Somerset West (2017-10-20) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 04 FEB 2018

The Beehive building in Somerset West is old, pretty rundown and has been home to a little family run shop for years. It now also happens to be home to a particularly interesting newcomer to the Somerset West restaurant/bar scene – The Cafe Racer.

As you might guess from either the name, the logo, or the shiny hunk of polished chrome standing on two wheels outside the front door, The Cafe Racer is a restaurant that marries biking culture with beer and gourmet burgers – and rather successfully at that mind you.

The staff (and chef) are all relaxed and super friendly, the atmosphere super chill, the balcony space surprisingly nice, and most important of all, the menu mind boggling interesting.

Apart from a seriously good selection of craft beers on offer, The Cafe Racer specializes in some rather unique (and well made) gourmet burgers.

For example, my Mikachu burger (named after one of the waitresses) consists of a beef brisket patty topped with grilled pineapple, bacon, sliced banana – and then drenched in condensed milk of all things!

Chantelle on the other hand had a burger which forgoes standard hamburger buns in favour of chocolate doughnuts. Chocolate doughnuts!?! Who even thought of that!

The place is quirky, the younger crowd seems to like it, and as you might imagine, guys into bikes get a kick out of it.

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So certainly a very unusual, but pleasantly enjoyable, addition to the Somerset West food scene.

Related Link: The Cafe Racer | Somerset West