All about craft beers

Since moving to the Cape I discovered a love for good wine on beautiful wine farms and Brent developed a palate for craft beers.

Luckily several wine farms now have craft beer on tap which means we can spend a lovely day out as a family and enjoy our beverage of choice at lunch.

But what is a craft beer?

Melvin Brewing is quoted at saying ” If your beer is not madness, it’s not beer.”

Craft beers are produced by microbreweries, also known as craft breweries, that produce small amounts of beer.

These breweries are independently owned and do not supply the large demands like corporate breweries.

A craft brewery will often place a huge emphasis on quality, flavour and brewing technique.

Worldwide there are many great craft beers and we take a look at a few.

Craft Beer styles

Worldwide there are many craft beer styles and as it is up to the individual brewer to decide if they want to brew to a specific style or break away from a traditional mould and forge their own unique path and style.

Because there are so many styles, both traditional and new, it is almost impossible to list each craft beer style, but I found this guide informative.

South Africans can list over 100 different styles of beer from pale ales to stouts and pilsners.

These style groups usually fit under the main categories of ales ( these are heavy beers with intense flavour) and lagers ( these beers are clean and crisp)

Craft beer styles are categories according to characteristics like flavour, colour,aroma, body and location of the beers origin.

How to make craft beer

In order to brew beer you need:

  • Water
  • Malted barley
  • Hops
  • Yeast

The malted barley is responsible for producing the sugars needed to sweeten the beer and that react with the yeast to form the alcohol.

The hops balance the harleys sweetness and add bitterness. Hops gives the beer aroma and flavour and will act as a natural preservative.

The effect of the hops in the beer depends on when you add it in the brewing process. Adding it early in the brewing process will produce a heavier, more bitter beer whilst adding it later in the brewing process will produce a lighter more crisp beer.

Yeast is responsible for the beers alcohol content. The yeast converts the sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The yeast also adds the final flavour to the beer and determines if the beer is fruity or spicy.

You can find a variety of recipes over at Beer and Brewing

Buy a kit or try a beer

If you are looking to start the hobby of brewing your own craft beers there are many online craft beer kits you can purchase to make the process easier and less daunting.

Whilst these will only be available after lockdown in South Africa you can purchase kits.

I’ve also seen many beer subscription boxes and online stores that will deliver these uniquely crafted beers to your doorstep in order for you to taste.

Last word on craft beers

Brewing your own is not for everyone and many people prefer to indulge in the crafts of others.

Whilst I have a son in law who enjoys home brewing, my own husband and adult sons enjoy a good Artisan brew.

I personally do not like the taste of beer but am no stranger to a craft beer in my kitchen to improve my culinary skills. They add an added flavour to many meals from hearty stews to indulgent desserts.

And if you are not sure which craft beer style is for you, or you’ve not yet discovered the cast variety of craft beers avaliable add this to your bucket list, you’ll thank me later.