Proudly South African craft beers to sip on

With the craft beer boom that South Africa has experienced in the past couple of years, it's probably a good idea to become acquainted with some of the best brews on the market

With more and more beer-lovers looking for a different taste experience, the consumption of craft beers has seen a significant increase over the past couple of years.

This increase in demand has seen an exponential increase in the number of local craft breweries being established around the country. Working with all the information they could gather, beer blog Brew Mistress estimated that in 2006 there were less than 20 craft breweries in the country, yet only 10 years later, in December 2016, the number had risen to more than 180.

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“We now have breweries in every province, with the bulk still found in the Western Cape (72 of the 156),” according to Brew Mistress. “In the past two years, we’ve seen immense growth nationwide – about 50% from 2014 to 2015, and again from 2015 to 2016.

“There are 22 contract breweries across the country (although not all responded – this figure is from other research), and there’s fairly rapid growth in the contract brewing sector.”

Our country’s craft beers have also captured the attention of the global market. Recently, Stellenbrau, a Stellenbosch-based craft beer company, signed a landmark deal with Heineken International to become part of the multinational.

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“Stellenbrau was a natural fit with us from day one,” said Ruud van den Eijnden, Heineken South Africa’s managing director. “To us, Stellenbrau is what Heineken was 150 years ago, because they share the same essential values: a love of and pride in producing great beer and a courageous entrepreneurial spirit. We are excited to welcome the entire team to the Heineken family.”

While there are myriad craft beers to try out there, it’s important to support local. Here are five craft beers we recommend:

Stimela Brewing Co.

Stimela Brewing was established in 2014 and caters to a wide range of palettes. Their range includes an IPA, a lager, saison, amber ale and chocolate stout.

Ekhaya Breweries

Ekhaya, known for its rich, earthy taste and African aesthetic, offers two types of beers: Jwarha Lager and Dlamini Royal Ale.

Swagga Brewery

Swagga was established in 2013 and offers a wide range of premium beers including Swagga Blonde, Swagga Red, Swagga IPA, Swagga Porter, Swagga Weiss, Swagga Country Ale and Swagga Apple Cider.

Devil’s Peak

Devil’s Peak was launched at the height of the craft beer revolution in South Africa, in 2012. They offer a lager, pale ale, golden ale and an IPA.

Citizen beer

Launched in the same year as Devil’s Peak, in 2012, Citizen makes an amber ale, a pale ale, lager, an English IPA, a Pilsner and a Winter Porter.