I was invited to go on the South African Breweries (SAB) beer heritage tour last week and what and amazing three days we had.
It was an opportunity to get up close and personal with the entire beer production process from the hop farms, through the barley malting part and finally onto the brewing and bottling stage.
On each of these stages we met the expert SAB men behind the process.
We flew to George to visit the only area on the African continent that has the suitable climate to grow hops. We saw the crop being harvested on the farm and processed through the picking machines and the kiln. It was fascinating for me to see and smell for the first time, the plant that gives beer its flavour.
After our morning on the hops farm we checked into our hotel, the Hyatt Regency Oubaai Golf Resort and Spa and had a relaxing afternoon before heading to Knysna for dinner.
In Knysna we experienced Castle Milk Stout (draft) with Oysters. As an oysters with bubbly kind of girl, I was blown away by this perfect and delicious pairing.
On our second day we were up bright and early to catch a plane back to Cape Town and then get on a bus to Caledon, the barley growing region and to visit the Malting facility.
Our tour conincided with the SAB sponsored Eat in Night market and awards ceremony, so we were whisked off to that.
On our last day we visited Newlands brewery to meet Denis da Silva and do a tour of the heritage centre, the brewery and the packaging plant.
I was super impressed that 80% of all SAB beer produced is sold in recycled material.
What a fantastic opportunity it was to be exposed to the making of beer by one of South Africa’s largest and most influential companies.