Cape Town, the city of sea, mountain, wine farms and - new(ish) on the block - craft beer! There's a 'Beer Revolution' happening in the city with new and exciting micro-breweries popping up like mushrooms. There are numerous breweries you can visit in and around the city and many restaurants now offer local brews on their menus. Here we list just ten of our favourites.
Engruna, Sea Point
In this age of food and beer/wine pairings, I am a true believer in the traditional beer and burger or beer and pizza combination. I mean, pairing. With a craft beer menu that could keep you busy tasting different craft beers for a couple of days, Engruna in Sea Point is a winner. Add to their craft beer menu, fantastic burgers and pizzas, and you have a triple winner.
Located on Sea Point’s busy Main Road, the restaurant incorporates a covered outside verandah and inside seating. It’s a great spot to spend an afternoon watching the world go by, sipping on cold beer and nibbling on delicious, thin-based, pizza – they’re generous with their toppings, these are some tasty pizzas!
Sea Point at night buzzes, so be sure to book.
Engruna is open from Monday to Saturday, 12:00pm to 10:30pm.
Rafiki's has become a Cape Town institution since it opened in 2000. Loud, busy and colourful, they have a large, ever-changing menu of craft beers. With it's 35-metre balcony perched above Kloofnek Road, it's the perfect spot to sit and watch the cars pass by with a cold beer and Signal Hill and Lion's Head as a backdrop.
Their menu consists of pub-type food - pizzas, burgers, sticky ribs and the like. It's reasonably priced and there are often food specials on specific days. Wednesdays are Mexican Day when Mexican food (and margaritas) are half-price.
It's the kind of place where a 'quick pop in for a beer' easily turns into an all-nighter.
Rafiki's is open from Monday to Sunday, 11:00am to 2:00am.
Weinhaus + Biergarten, CBD
This tiny bar is in the basement of one of the oldest buildings in Cape Town, on Riebeeck Square. Built in 1801 as The African Theatre - often attended by Lady Anne Barnard - it is now St Stephens NGK, which still functions as a church. The cellar, which houses the Weinhaus + Biergarten, is rumoured to have had many functions through the years, some a little shadier than others. Think red lights. Whether these are rumour or fact, the place has history and its stone walls whisper and watch still, as crowds of people move within it, coming in from the large street-side courtyard with big companionable tables under the trees to order their drinks and food from the bar.
The craft beers are their own, Brewer's Union, and are brewed in Germany and Belgium and brought into SA. These are the people who were one of the first to start the craft beer 'revolution' in the city. They are big on their branding, so be sure to check out their different labels while tasting one (or three) of their craft beers.
Food is ordered from the bar where you get a sticker with a number which you stick somewhere visible and the food comes to you. Very efficient. It’s bar food. And includes sausages. Delicious, German sausages served with little bowls of fresh chilli, gherkins and, of course, mustard. Other, well-priced items on the menu include burgers, sandwiches and pregos.
They have live music on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays and do great laid-back wine-tastings on Tuesdays and Thursdays (if craft beer isn't your thing). Booking is essential for the wine tasting.
Weinhaus + Biergarten is open Tuesday to Saturday, 3:00pm to 12:00pm and Fridays 12:00am to 12:00 pm.
Beerhouse on Long, CBD
We've all sung it, now experience it. 99 bottles of beer on a wall. And they're all craft beer, both local and international. Add to that sixteen beers on tap and you're basically in craft beer heaven at Beerhouse on Long.
They have a (vast) beer menu that explains all the different types of beer and helps you make the right choice for your tastebuds. Even better, they have a beer tasting and snack pairing with interesting combinations like Turkish Mulberries served with a taster of Lakeside Hefeweizen or Chilli Biltong with Devil's Peak Amber.
Situated on vibrant Long Street with seating on the balcony overlooking the action, the Beerhouse is noisy and fun. They have daily lunch specials and a pub-food menu which includes bitterballen, Bunny Chow and Flammkuchen - very crispy beer-bread dough-type pizzas with a creme fraiche base and toppings like ham hock feta cheese and onion marmalade. There's plenty with which to line your stomach here, in preparation for a good attempt at trying as many of the 99 as you can manage!
Beerhouse on Long is open Monday to Sunday, 11:00am until late (this is Long Steet, remember!)
The Dog's Bollocks, Gardens
The Dog’s Bollocks, in a side street between Buitenkant Street and Hope Street in Gardens, is a hole-in-the-wall gem. It is, basically, a roofed in passageway between two garages: long, narrow and furnished with wire garden furniture. At the back is a coffee bar. During daytime opening hours, it’s known as The Bitch’s Tits. Collectively, it’s known as Yard.
For craft beer drinking, though, the night-time version is the time to go because then you get to sample the incredible burgers. They make only fifty a night. The premise is simple: put your name on the board, sit back and watch the hipsters be hip while you enjoy a beer until your name is called. Then choose which version of burger you want and eat. A lot. They’re huge.
They have their own craft beer, surprisingly called… The Dog’s Bollocks. It’s good. Very good.
The Dog's Bollocks is open Monday to Saturday, 5:00pm to 10:00/10:30pm
Garagista Beer Co., Woodstock
This little hole-in-the-wall brewery, a relatively new addition to the Cape Town beer fraternity is well worth a visit. Garagista, as their slogan 'All beer. No bullshit.' states, is pretty much just about the beer. And cider. They do cider that tastes like champagne. And the beer’s good. And there’s the added bonus of tasting their experimental brews. And looking at some great art while you’re tasting – there’s a gallery upstairs, and the bar is also hung with fabulous pieces. And, and...
It’s a small bar, with windows onto the brewery, so this is the real deal. Learn how it’s made, taste how it tastes, chat to the brewer, Stefan, and Bill the barman (who, incidentally, is a Laughologist, I kid you not. See inhappiness.org if you don’t believe me), who’s fascinating. There's no food here, it really is all about the beer. Did I say the beer is good already? It really is.
Garagista makes boutique beer while poking a bit of fun at the hipsters who worship the craft beer scene in their oh-so-ironic way. Check their promo out:
Garagista Beer Co. is open for tastings, sales and take-outs from 2:00pm to 6:00pm Wednesday to Friday and Saturday 11:00am to 3:00pm.
Devil's Peak Brewery and The Taproom, Salt River
There's something really cool about drinking beer on the premises on which it is brewed. At The Taproom (Devil's Peak Brewery's on-site restaurant) in Salt River, you can do just that. It’s comfortably decorated with mismatched tables, a couple of lounge-type chairs and an eclectic array of paintings and bric-a-brac. Located in a newly renovated Woodstock building that used to house a textile factory, it’s big and airy. There is an incredible view of - yip - Devil's Peak out of the floor-to-ceiling windows.
The beers are divided into a founder range, the four which are bottled and freely available; and an explorer range, more experimental, only available on tap, at the brewery. All are named with Devil’s Peak (the mountain) in mind and have gorgeous, intricately designed labels. The menu is simple, but good, with a great beer and food pairing option. Try the beer-tasting platter, too, to get a taste of each of the craft beers in their range.
The Taproom is open Tuesday to Saturday, 12:00pm to 10:00pm (kitchen) and 11:00pm (bar)
Hello Sailor Bistro, Observatory
This little spot in buzzing Lower Main Road, Observatory, has the added bonus of playing fantastic tunes while you drink your craft beer. If you have eclectic taste in music, get yourself down to there.
Hello Sailor is - surprise surprise! - nautically-themed. We're not talking white-washed boats and Meditteranean-style blue-and-white-striped porcelian, though. Think more dingy bar down at the docks filled with tattooed sailors drinking rum. It isn't dingy, though, with the original wooden shop front windows opening on to the street - perfect for people watching. Replace the tattoed sailors with friendly (tattooed) staff, a daily changing menu written on a blackboard, and an ever-expanding craft beer menu and you'll get Hello Sailor.
Hello Sailor is open Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 11:00pm and Saturday and Sunday, 9:00am to 11:00pm.
Jerry's Burger Bar, Observatory
Lower Main Road, Obz is busy, so there's plenty of space for two craft beer spots within 50-metres of each other. Across the road from Hello Sailor is American-styled Jerry's Burger Bar. With booths, long wooden tables, seating at the bar and a cosy little section at the back, there's a nook to suit everyone. There are also twelve taps behind the bar and, as we all know, beer on tap is just, well, the berries (the hops?), ahem.
Their marketing blurb claims 'Not your all 'American diner' vibe, a more sophisticated, New York styled venue', and it is. It feels kind of industrial, with the pipes carrying the nectar of the gods, I mean beer, exposed along the brick walls.
The menu has bar-type snacks and then burgers of every description. It includes a section called Lucy's - The Seven Deadly Sins. These are stuffed burger patties. Yip, stuffed. Delights like the Lust Burger - stuffed with blue cheese and mushrooms, topped with Emmenthaler cheese and homemade peach mustard!
If you're a sports fan who drinks craft beer, this is a good spot. There are TVs in every corner, so no matter where you sit, if the conversation's boring you, there's something to look at.
Jerry's Burger Bar is open Monday to Sunday, 12:00pm to 2:00am.
Banana Jam Cafe, Kenilworth
If you think that craft beer is exclusive to the city side of the mountain, think again. Deep in the Southern Suburbs lurks the fabulously colourful, Caribbean-styled, Banana Jam Cafe. Known as the headquarters of the Cape Town Craft Beer Revolution the owner, Greg Casey, is passionate about craft beer. He's also one of the masterminds behind the Craft Beer Project, whose aim is to 'find Beervana.'
They have thirty craft beers on tap. Impressive and delicious. And those are only the ones on tap. The menu is Carribean-inspired and includes delights like bacon-wrapped chilli poppers and Jamaican Jerk Chicken. Need I say more?
With inside seating and a shaded courtyard, this spot is definitely worth a visit. It's close to Kenilworth station, too, so no driving needed!
Banana Jam Cafe is open Monday to Saturday, 11:00am to 11:30pm and Sunday 5:00pm to 11:30pm.