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TThe KwaZulu-Natal brew route is akin to a treasure hunt, as beer lovers meander across the province through the Midlands and north-east into Zululand, then to the seaside, seeking to uncover the province’s finest beers.
The KwaZulu-Natal brew route is an epicurean adventure. Though unofficial, beer buffs can trust the brew route (designed by local beer-lovers) to guide them to the best regional boutique and garagiste beers KwaZulu-Natal has to offer.
A passion for micro-brewing has taken root in the province, resulting in the KwaZulu-Natal beer-tasting route, which isn’t a conventional signposted A-to-B route.
Instead it’s a quest through some of the province’s loveliest landscapes to discover malts, ales, and lagers made by passionate local brewmeisters.
Every stop on the beer route in KwaZulu-Natal is deliciously different.
Begin your ale-ramble at 1000 Hills Brewing Company at Botha's Hill and get schooled in craft beer. Most of their brews – The Graduate, The Cheerleader, The Dean, The Quarterback and The Foreign Exchange Student – follow a pale ale style and are perfect to quaff with the farm's handcrafted cheese and charcuterie.
Thereafter, meander on to the Midlands and the Nottingham Road Brewery. Feast on very fine eisbein at their Bierfassl restaurant and if, after too many pints of Tiddly Toad Lager, you’re as pie-eyed as a possum, spend the night at the adjacent Rawdons Hotel.
Next morning, heft yourself from the horizontal and, armed with a fortifying truckle of beer cheese, make your way to Eshowe and the Zululand Brewery where you can taste their all-natural Battlefields-inspired brews and tour the brewery.
In South Africa, traditional sorghum beer is a religious, ceremonial and social drink. On request, Zululand Brewery conducts guided tours to rural Thothotho where you can sample some of this highly nutritious, unfiltered alcoholic brew and observe a brewing tradition that dates back centuries.
End your KwaZulu-Natal brew route adventure by visiting Robsons Real Beer on the Point in Durban. Be sure to book your brewery tour in advance and allow time to enjoy some fabulous fare in their pub afterwards.
TTravel tips & planning info
Who to contact
Zululand Brewery at The George Hotel
Tel: +27 (0)35 474 4919
Robsons Real Beer
Tel: +27 (0)31 035 0827
1000 Hills Brewing Company
Tel: +27 (0)31 777 1566
Nottingham Road Brewery
Tel: +27 (0)33 266 6728
How to get here
KwaZulu-Natal is accessible by road. King Shaka International Airport at La Mercy, north of Durban, services the province.
Best time to visit
Breweries on the KwaZulu-Natal brew route are generally open all year round. Check opening hours before arriving.
The best way to do the beer route is to drive yourself, but it’s possible (if somewhat pricey) to hire a metered taxi or Uber. You could also hire a tour operator, who will ensure you can tipple and travel safely.
What will it cost?
Because the brew route is made up of craft brewers, you’ll rarely be charged to tour the brewery or to taste the beer but call ahead to be certain.
Length of stay
A week is sufficient if you plan to tour the whole route. Otherwise, an afternoon at an individual brewery, or a weekend if you’re visiting an area, will suffice.
What to pack
KwaZulu-Natal’s climate is warm to hot and generally humid. Inland, temperatures tend to be cooler, so a warm jacket won’t go amiss in the Midlands or Eshowe.
Where to stay
Accommodation abounds in this province, from 5-star hotels to Zulu huts and backpackers' lodges. There are many fine guest houses and boutique hotels in the Midlands.
What to eat
Make a point of sampling the regional specialities as you go, from free-range farm dinners to burgers, curries and seafood.
Beer tankards, t-shirts, beer kegs and even beer cheese are available at most of the breweries. Complete your beer route experience by picking up a bottle of iJuba Special, a traditional sorghum beer commercially brewed according to Zulu preference.