Franschhoek has always been synonymous with fine wine and high class MCCs, but these days it looks like the beer revolution has finally infiltrated. Tucked between the wineries, you’ll now find The Franschhoek Beer Co, a recent addition that boldly brings brews to the valley.
It comes as no surprise that this venture was dreamt up on a golf course. Chef Reuben Riffel and businessman Alex McCormack had a vision of producing a range of world-class craft beers that would reflect the valley’s reputation as a top culinary destination.
Alex McCormack, original founder of The Franschhoek Beer Co, together with the other founding partner, American businessman Frank Rodriguez (a Franschhoek resident for more than a decade) and brewmaster Olaf Morgenroth, have spent the past two years travelling the world for inspiration, experimenting with different recipes and ingredients, all coming together in their range.
Currently they offer 5 styles of beer, with a few limited editions available at the brewery, all made using pure Franschhoek mountain spring water and the best quality imported hops and malt. Personally I loved La Saison most, a fruity beer with plenty of character and a slight hint of bitterness that keeps things fresh.
If you aren’t a fan of beer in general, have a go at their Beer Cocktails (yes, I know, I was skeptical too), which amplify the flavours of the beers with sophisticated trimmings. Try the Belgian Sunshine, it’s particularly delicious.
While the beer is good, I’m most excited about Tap|Eat, the new tasting room and restaurant where Chef Nick Oosthuizen is creating seriously creative dishes. Previously Sous Chef at Foliage under Nick Erasmus, Nick has the same heart for beautiful, local produce – most of which comes straight from their own garden.
When asked how he preps his tomato salad, Oosthuizen launched into a complicated process that involves burying the tomatoes in the ground for three days. However he creates his dishes, the results are fantastic, with bold, clean, simple flavours and techniques that let the produce shine.
A great way to experience the beers and restaurant is with their tasting platter, which gives you a taster of 5 along with gourmet delicacies to match each beer.
Their menu changes frequently, so you might not find what we tasted, but I can highly recommend the Tomato Tartare, made with macerated heirloom tomatoes, coriander and basil yogurt served on flatbread, or the La Saison Steamed Mussels.
Being Franschhoek, you’re probably expecting sky high prices, so I’m happy to announce that you can get seriously good grub without mortgaging your house. Dishes range between R65 and R95, making it cheaper than a sandwich on Bree Street!
So the next time you visit the valley, park under the trees or in the tasting room, let the kids play outside on the jungle gym, and taste your way through their offering. It’s well worth the visit.
For more info
The Franschhoek Beer Co is located on the R45 just before the village.