SA’s Top Craft Brewers Winners Announced In Inaugural Competition

08 Nov 13

SAB’s World of Beer has announced the winners of the inaugural South African National Craft Brewers Championship.

Top honours went to The Dog and Fig Brewery for their Stewige Stout – American Stout brew.  Second place was awarded to Brauhaus Am Damm for their Brauhaus Weizen – Weizen/Weissbier brew, and Shongweni Brewery took third place for their Robson’d West Coast Ale – California Common brew.

A total of 41 entries were entered and judged.  Special awards were presented to Draymans Brewery for the most Noteworthy Beer and SMACK! Republic for the Best Beer from a New Brewery.

The championship, the first of its kind in the country, called on all professional craft brewers to submit entries with only beers brewed within the borders of South Africa being eligible for entry.  Participating beers also needed to have been available in stores or been showcased at a recognised craft beer festival, and had to adhere to the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) guidelines and competition rules.

Judges from across South Africa were selected for the judging panel, and put their taste buds to the test to determine which South African craft brewer had the best beer in the land.  Twenty entries were received from some of South Africa’s most experienced brewers as well as some new up-start brewers.  A total of 41 beers were entered and judged.

Event organiser Sean Watts said: “The judging process carefully evaluated beers by what could be perceived through the senses.  A total score out of 50 was awarded for aroma, appearance, flavour, mouth feel and overall impression of the beer.  Beers that scored between 38-44 were considered excellent beers and only require a small amount of fine-turning.  Beers that score higher than 45 exemplify an excellent beer and usually stick out in one’s memory.”

The World of Beer awarded cash prizes of R30 000 to the winner, R10 000 to the second winner and R5 000 to the third winner.  Draymans Brewery and SMACK! Republic Two breweries were each awarded a cash prize of R2 000 for their special recognition awards.  SAB Alrode Brewery sponsored barley for the winners.

Leon van der Westhuizen from The Brew Master played an integral role in securing the substantial sponsored products being awarded to the winners.  “Sponsored product prizes include Wyermann Specaility Malts, Charles Faram Hops and Fermentis Dried Yeast.  First prize is valued at more than R9 000; second prize more than R6 000 and third prize more than R3 000, ” said van der Westhuizen.

“I expect the championship will grow rapidly as customers become more ‘craft beer aware’ and more sponsors become involved.  The structure and rules will mature over time, making it more appealing to professional craft breweries wanting to enter in future, ” said Watts.

The winners were announced at a gala dinner held at the World of Beer on Friday 8 November 2013.