The finalists in the South African National Craft Brewer Championship were selected at the official judging session held at the SAB World of Beer in Johannesburg last weekend.
The SAB World of Beer upped the ante of its annual craft brewing championship by opening up the beer styles as well as introducing a cider category. This, coupled with rigorous auditing by Grant Thornton, makes the competition, now in its second year, one of the most credible beer awards in the country.
“Brewers could enter any beer they regularly brew, as long as it fitted in the first 23 categories as laid out in the Beer Judge Certification Programme (BJCP) style guidelines, ” said Sean Watts, Convenor of Judges.
“We had a great response this year with a 33% increase in the number of beers entered.”
Watts was also impressed with the calibre of beer entries and said they reflected a maturing industry.
“We saw and tasted a good level of consistency across the beer category this year with some of the brewers experimenting into new areas - something we encourage and hope to see more innovation in the years to come, ” said Watts.
With the new cider entry, Watts said it was great to experience new and different flavours. “We saw a varied selection of ciders competing, ranging from easy drinking to those which were more flavoursome.”
The 2014 SAB World of Beer South African National Craft Brewer Championship finalists are:
Beer Category (top 10 Finalists):
- Brauhaus am Damm, with its Brauhaus Weizen
- Bridge Street Brewery, with its Celtic Cross Premium Pilsener
- Ceder Brew, with its The Chubbyhead Stout
- Devil's Peak Brewing Company, with its King's Blockhouse IPA
- Gallows Hill Brewing Co, with its IPA Columbus
- Keghouse Brewery, with its Keghouse APA
- Mad Giant, with its Punk Hop
- Mainstream Brewing Company (Swagga Breweries), with its Mainstream Altbier
- Shongweni Brewery, with its Robsons Hammer Of Thor
- The Dog and Fig Brewery, with its Sturdy Stout
Cider Category Finalists:
- Bridge Street Brewery, with its Bowman Cider
- Everson’s, with its Everson’s Apple Cider
- Everson’s, with its Everson's Reserve Brandy Cask Cider
- Everson’s, with its Everson's Pear Cider
- Garagista Beer Co, with its Double Barrel
- Garagista Beer Co, with its NSA Cider
- Garagista Beer Co, with its POM Cider
- Windermere Cider, with its Windermere Apple Cider
The 20-strong panel of judge were drawn from across the country. All are BJCP Certified Beer Judges and were supported by a couple of SAB master brewers.
- Alastair Gillespie
- Andy Tasker
- Apiwe Nxusani
- Chris Roth
- Dion van Huyssteen
- Ian Jones
- Jean-Pierre Meijer
- Kyle Moskowitz
- Lee Carpenter
- Louis Steyn
- Lucy Corne
- Ruanne Sandrock
- Shawn Duthie
- Travis Boast
- Troye May
- Danie Odendaal
- Kate Jones
The winners will be announced at the World of Beer on 3 October 2014.