The 10 Best Craft Breweries in Cape Town and Around to Visit
South Africa is renown for the wines it produces. However, few know that the craft beer scene in the country has seen a boom in the last few years. I visited some of the best craft breweries in Cape Town and the surrounding region a few months before everything went crazy, and I’m here to share them with you.
Fortunately, it appears that they have survived the devastating two-month alcohol ban that the South African government implemented in the face of COVID-19. They are not out of the woods yet, though, so I look forward to supporting them when they export again. Check them out too if you visit Cape Town when we can travel again.
What do I think of the beers? The local brewers tend to make accessible and easy-to-drink brews, but there are also adventurous recipes that use local hops and ingredients like Southern Passion hops, sorghum, fynbos and marula.
Craft breweries in Cape Town
Aegir Project’s main taproom is in Noordhoek but if you’re short on time or visiting on a Monday, there’s another in Constantia that you can combine with the Uitsig winery there. The Giant IPA is the star of the tap list and it’s bold on the hops. Seasonals also feature prominently and the flavours of the sours are fun and punchy (think key lime pie and pina colada). It’s no surprise that it’s one of the best craft breweries in Cape Town, based on UnTappd ratings.
Address: Uitsig Wine Estate, Spaanschemat River Road, Constantia, 7806
Down in Kenilworth, about 30 minutes outside of downtown Cape Town, Banana Jam Cafe has its own microbrewery called Afro-Caribbean. It’s a middle-class neighbourhood so don’t be too apprehensive about visiting. You’ll find a relaxing atmosphere, Jamaican-style food and rum chasers to go with the tropical-style brews.
Address: 157 2nd Ave, Kenilworth, 7708
You don’t have to drive all the way to Darling to sample the beers because the brewery has a restaurant at the Woodstock Exchange. They pride themselves on being carbon-neutral and engage in sustainable practices. As for the beer, it’s easy-going; pale ales and even the double IPA tend to be on the maltier side of things, while the Bonecrusher witbier is refreshing; try the variant brewed with marula fruit if it’s available.
Address: 85 Albert Rd, Woodstock, 7915
Devil’s Peak is named after the formation in Table Mountain of the same name that overlooks the Epping brewery. Their taproom, however, is in Salt River. It’s a bit hard to spot but it’s upstairs of the address. It’s a cosy space and you get to try all the core and seasonal beers, plus some guest taps (St Francis was on the day I went). It’s like the local craft beer scene in miniature: a core range of ales you could knock back repeatedly and the occasional belter like a peanut butter “doughssant” pastry stout.
Address: 150 Cecil Rd, Salt River, 7925
The venue boasts a cellar door on the ground floor and a beer hall upstairs called “Grill and Tap”. It was big enough to host a private event and public guests at the same time before the pandemic. Most of the beers are solid examples of classic styles, though if you enjoy hazelnut, Mr Brownstone is not subtle about it at all.
Address: 252 Albert Rd, Woodstock, 7925
Craft breweries in Franschhoek
Everyone is all about the hop-on=hop-off wine trains in the Cape wine-growing regions. In Franschhoek, however, there’s a craft beer equivalent called the Brew Hopper that I highly recommend. The ticket price includes a flight of three beers at each of the following breweries, three samples of Stillman Distillery’s spirits, and transport between all of them and Franschhoek town.
The outdoor beer garden is a great place to be when the weather if pleasant. The stout is chocolate-roasty, the Orange Pale Ale citrusy-bitter, and the saison is floral and fresh. Happened to have lunch here with my tour mates and the ribs were very tasty.
Address: R45, 5 km before Franschhoek Village, Franschhoek, 7670
A 1961 copper brewhouse from De Halve Maan takes pride of place in the Hey Joe brewery and the staff are happy to show guests around the shop. As befits the equipment, they make only Belgian-style beers like blondes, saisons, strong ales and their core Witbier, topped with a slice of orange. It feels like a piece of Flanders in the Southern Hemisphere.
Address: R45, Franschhoek, 7670
I share this spot rather begrudgingly as I think it’s one of the best craft breweries in Cape Town and around. A small outdoor seating area betrays the tiny brewery’s presence in the Simondium Guild but you’ll find wild ales, barrel-aged stouts and generously hopped pale ales. The flavours are rich, adventurous and worryingly addictive, given that it’s usually the first stop on the Brew Hopper tour!
Address: Simondium Guild, R45, Simondium, 7670
Craft breweries in Western Cape I visited
The Peregrine Farm Stall in Grabouw is a popular pit stop for those heading on the Garden Route. In the garden, you’ll find the Everson’s Cider tasting room. The cider is made from the same Elgin apple juice that the deli sells. You can try any five; the mulled and pomegranate versions were my picks of the lot that was available to me.
Address: Peregrine Farm Stall, N2, Grabouw, 7160
While Fraser’s Folly started in Struusbai, near the southernmost tip of Africa, their operations and taproom are now at the Black Oystercatcher Wine Farm in Elim, near Bredasdorp. It’s a small selection that runs the gamut of styles, from a hoppy lager and a red IPA to a raspberry wild ale and a condensed milk-flavoured stout.
Address: Black Oystercatcher, Moddervlei Farm, Elim
This was a brief lunch stop in Hermanus on the way to Cape Agulhas. If you’re in the area for some whale watching from the shore, great! It’s a homely pub and restaurant with a fireplace, a beer garden and spectacular views of the mountains. The brewery has a few classic styles, with the lager and the pale ale form the core selection, and a wheat beer and a stout popping up seasonally. Woodstock and Dragon Brewing featured at the time of my visit as guest taps.
Address: Unit 5, Village Lane, Hemel en Aarde, Hermanus, 7200
Other notable Cape breweries
Three Cape craft breweries that I didn’t get to visit, but whose beers are available in Singapore, are Drifter Brewing Company, Stellenbosch Brewing Company (“Stellies”) and Little Wolf. If you join one of the several beer tours on the web–which are outnumbered by the wine tours–you will likely visit Jack Black’s Brewing Co. (no relation to the US film star) and Newlands Spring Brewing Co. (owned by the giant AB InBev through South African Breweries), which operates out of the historic Mariendahl brewing facility.
Drifter: 156 Victoria Rd, Woodstock, 7806
Jack Black’s: 10 Brigid Road, Diep River, 7945
Newlands Spring: 3 Main Road, Newlands, 7700
Stellies: Klein Joostenberg Farm, R304 Muldersvlei, Stellenbosch, 7606
Little Wolf currently has no taproom
Tips for visiting
- For your safety, especially in the evenings, get an Uber from one place to the when you’re bar hopping, even if the distance looks walk-able
- I’m also happy to report that flights were available at all the locations I listed, unlike the craft beer bars in South Korea.
- You may not be able to take away beer from a restaurant due to licensing restrictions
- If you can visit only one place but want to try different draft and packaged South African beers, head to Beerhouse at 223 Long Street in the middle of Cape Town