South Africa’s craft revolution finally came to the Kruger Lowveld when Sabie Brewing Company opened its doors on 28 November 2014, an establishment that has since become a main attraction in the mountainous mining town.
Sabie is located in the centre of the popular Panorama Route, a winding road that provides access to some of the Lowveld’s top scenic attractions and towns. It’s an outdoor adventurer’s dream, and people from far and wide flock there to cycle, hike, run, toboggan, bird watch and much more. And how better to finish off a day’s adventuring than with some great, locally-produced craft beer?
“My mates and I were irritated that we could not get craft beer locally,” explains founder and head brewer Shaun McCartney. “Any craft beer would invariably originate from Cape Town, and we wanted something truly local that could be associated with this exceptionally beautiful part of South Africa.
“The water that feeds the town originates from a pristine tributary of the Sabie River, and is of an extremely high quality. It’s the lifeblood of the Lowveld, flowing all the way into the Kruger National Park.”
It’s also the lifeblood of Sabie Brewing Company’s finely crafted ales, each telling a different story of the region’s rich history.
The Long Tom Lager, a flavourful Dunkel, refers to the two Creusot cannons that were set up in 1900 along the Long Tom Pass, used to fire on the advancing English regiment during the Anglo-Boer War.
Their Dravidian Draught IPA, a deliciously complex ale using Centennial, Citra and Summit hops for bittering; Cascade, Hallertau and Citra for aroma, tells of the trade that took place between Africa and India long before the discovery of gold in these hills during the late 1800s.
The refreshing Wheelbarrow Weiss shares the story of Alec Patterson, a gold prospector who made the trip to Sabie from Cape Town to find his fortune.
The brewery itself was once a trading post thought to be set up by Henry Thomas Glynn, one of Sabie’s original landowners who discovered gold while entertaining his friends on the banks of the Sabie River in 1895. This inspired Glynn’s Gold, an easy drinking, crisp London ale and easily one of their most popular beers.
There’s also the rich Shangaan Stout, and Cockney Liz, their wild card beer that changes every few brewing cycles (now a hemp-infused pale ale).
I was hugely impressed. Expect delicious, fresh beer served with a complimentary menu that will certainly have you coming back for more. And what really struck me was the fair pricing of their “take-away” beers – a 440ml Glynn’s Gold will set you back R19, while any other beer is a very reasonable R21. Great value for money.
If you’re feeling curious, you can also take a guided tour of the brewery, where Shaun and assistant brewer Brian Dube will show you what goes into making their great ales.
Shaun tells me he’s looking forward to many more years at the helm of Sabie Brewing Co. He and his team recently installed two additional 2000 litre fermentation tanks, upgrading their brewing capacity to produce 8000 litres a month, so it’s safe to say they’re not going anywhere just yet.
For more information, call +27(0) 13 764 1005 or email firstname.lastname@example.org