What do we want? Craft beers! When do we want it? Now! Even though the weather in Cape Town is still a bit confused about it being Spring already, at 9Lives we are definitely ready to trade our red-wine-by-the-fire evenings for ice cold beers and a braai in the sun. It was for a recent office braai where Elené and I went on a witch hunt for some of the coolest, prettiest and most interesting looking beers we could find.
Because we judged the beer by its covers, we were very keen to hear what everyone at the office, especially the guys, thought of our selections.
Darling Brewery Bone Crusher
R259.00 for 12, darlingbrew.co.za
The Darling Brew Bone Crusher is a more well-known beer and a favourite among many! This bold beer with hints of coriander and citrus have won quite a few awards over the last few years, and it’s easy to see why.
At first taste this beer is just the right amount of spicy, but somehow they managed to not give it the bitter aftertaste that most bold beers usually leave behind. It has a light texture and leaves a silky feeling on the tongue, making this an easy-drinking, everyday beer. I can definitely see myself starting a late-afternoon braai with one or two of these.
Fraser’s Folly Pale Ale
R360 for 12, blackoystercatcher.co.za
The proudly South African Fraser’s Folly Pale Ale Modern Bitter states on their bottle: “We craft small batch beers with serious personality” and it’s safe to say this ‘flagship’ beer does not disappoint. It sports a strong hoppy flavour with a distinct bitter taste, but does not come close to the IPA level of bitter. This could easily be called a gateway IPA, to ease the more bitter-servatives among us.
Paternoster Honey Porter
R320 for 12, capecollective.co.za
I’m an avid beer-drinker and a fan of the more robust, full-bodied beers; which is why I was eager to try this one. When I saw the word “Honey” on the label, I immediately thought the beer was going to be a bit too sweet for me. This just shows that one can’t even judge a beer by its cover.
This beer wasn’t that sweet at all, and turned out to be quite a pleasant surprise. The flavours are well balanced, robust and the perfect amount of sweet tones.
Darling Brew Pixie Dust Golden Weiss
R255 for 12, darlingbrew.co.za
Everything about Darling Brew’s Pixie Dust screams summer and I can smell the memories that’ll be made already. From the bright and colourful label design, to the name reminding me of a playfulness which only summer inspires, and a smooth weiss taste with notes of banana, citrus and floral undertones.
As weiss beers go, this one is mild in bitterness but still packs a punch in flavour. Darling Brew’s design in bottle style is also admirable for its unique approach to packaging a fairly masculine drink into a playful, approachable bottle. For a boutique beer, Pixie Dust has everything I would expect of it: unique in taste and concept and absolutely delicious in its execution. Its price point is also very favourable so a bonus in my books.
I am savouring this one on a Saturday afternoon, next to the braai while camping along the Breërivier, with the smell of summer in the air and Cape Honeys bees out to play.
The Boer and Butcher Cape Rebel Craft Lager
Available in store at The Boer and Butcher
I am a self-proclaimed beer-drinking girl who doesn’t mind cracking a cold one every once in a while, I am however very picky. Not in a snobbish way, more like a kindergartener who refuses to eat anything but dinosaur crackers and in my case, that means I have one brand of beer that I stick to religiously. I admit that when I was given the Cape Rebel Craft Lager, I was a bit skeptical, but the label convinced me to give it a try.
The label, which had won a silver price at WineMag’s 2020 Label Design Awards, accurately depicts the contents of the can. At first glance, the sepia tones and crafted patterns entice the viewer and as you start to explore its details, you realise that it tells a whole story about the origin of the name and the strong sense of identity that goes with the beverage.
As I mentioned before, I am a picky beer-drinker. I enjoy an ice-cold soft lager, but I have not yet acquired the peculiar taste of darker stouts and ales. That places me in the lightweight corner amongst the real craft-beer enthusiasts at 9Lives. If you are like me and you enjoy the crisp and slightly bitter yet refreshing taste of beer, but you are not ready to dip your toes into something heavier – the Cape Rebel Craft Lager is the beer for you. This creamy handcrafted Lager is made solely from natural ingredients and the freshest selected hops.
“As it is in life… you will be remembered by what you stood for, so with every swig of this bottle we salute those who paid the ultimate price for the freedom they sought.” May I be remembered as one of the girls who enjoyed a good beer.
Don’t be shy, send your craft beer recommendations our way!