Even though the popular Mitchell’s Brewery opened in Knysna as far back 1983, almost a full decade would pass before the country's legions of hidden craft-beer brewers would emerge from their garages, open brew pubs and microbreweries, and invite the public to taste their artisan brews.

Did you know?

Umqombothi is a popular African traditional beer made from sorghum.

Microbreweries in South Africa have evolved from a hobbyist pursuit into a countrywide trend (albeit with niche appeal) that shows no signs of slowing. At present, there are over 60 microbrewers around the country turning hops, malt, yeast and water into a mind-boggling array of beers.

Traditionally, South Africa has been regarded as a lager-drinking nation, but thanks to the emergence of craft brewing, hop-heads, as aficionados of handcrafted beers are known, now have a wide array of styles to choose from. There are pale ales, alt biers, stouts, Pilsners, double bocks, barrel-aged beers, seasonal beers, smoked malt beers, and beers made using fruit, herbs, spices, honey, wild yeast and more.

Currently, the Western Cape leads the movement championing 'real beer' (real beer being beer that’s naturally brewed using artisan methods and with no chemical or artificial additives), with microbreweries like Jack Black Beer, Triggerfish Brewing, Devil’s Peak Brewing Company and Gallows Hills Brewing Company, to name but a few, producing delicious beers with sometimes idiosyncratic names.

For convenience, and in keeping with the worldwide trend of beer-and-food matching, Cape beer bar &Union offers local and European craft beers on tap, while the Banana Jam Café has 16 local craft beers on tap and offers craft-beer tastings. Both have beer-friendly food menus.

KwaZulu-Natal is so keen on craft beer that it has a self-drive microbrewery beer route. Discover the likes of the Nottingham Road Brewing Company (great pub atmosphere and food) in the Midlands, Quills, the Zululand Brewery and Shongweni Brewery.

Gauteng is another emerging craft-beer destination. Try Gilroy's for British-style ales and pub grub; have a tasty meal and a pint at the Cockpit Brewhouse; or enjoy a beer tasting or a beer-and-food pairing at De Garve Brewery.

Microbreweries can also be found in Mpumalanga, the Free State, the Eastern Cape and the North West. Virtually anywhere you travel in South Africa, rest assured that you’re never far away from the perfect handcrafted pint.

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