If you go down to the Woodstock today,You’re sure of a big surprise. If you go down to the Woodstock today, You’d better go to the Brewers Co-op.
Why? Great beer that’s why. The Brewers Co-Op opened this year in Albert Road Woodstock. So what is a Co-Op? It is ‘An association of persons who voluntarily cooperate for their mutual, social, economic, and cultural benefit’. Fourteen guys have clubbed together to created this association to cooperate for the mutual benefit of making great beer. The brewers backgrounds vary and all have day jobs but have all dabbled to different levels in the fine art of home brewing.
The Beerhouse team visited the co-op and were shown around by Rob Ambler-Smith one of the ‘Co-Opers’ . We got a look at the small but impressive Brewery that is fully automated and controlled through software on a lap top, something usually reserved for the big boys with the mega bucks. Such ingenuity goes along way in the micro-brewing world.
So a society without a democratically elected leader or dictator despot? How does that work? Is it not chaos, who brews when? These were some of the questions from the team. Rob is under no illusion that it has not always been easy but the co-operation has been maintained and nurtured through committees that take responsibility for admin (uuurgh), brewing schedules and looking after there show room. The bar is a small but impressive set up with each of the Co-Opers installing their choice of tap handle. From dinosaurs to bugles it makes for an impressive back bar. However what is most impressive about this place is the beer. These guys are making excellent small batch beer and the variety of styles is outstanding. “For me personally, the best thing as a brewer is the ability to brew new beers and continue to be experimental. As a customer, I also love the fact that you can come in every week, and there will be something new on tap”, Rob enthuses.
The beers are of such quality that they are being recognized nationally. The latest finalist were announced for the SAB Craft Brewers Championship and two beers from the Co-Op have been shortlisted. Hopping Frog Brewworks, Rambunctious Rye and Ukhamba Beerworx & HopHazard Brewing collaboration, The Red Brick Shit House barley Wine.
Beerhouse on Long will introduce a special new tap for the Co-op that we will be rotating their variety of beers. Starting with Rob’s Damnation Brewing Lone Wolf American Pale Ale.
Stay Thirsty Stay Curious
Collaborations between big breweries have become a common trend and often result in some really special combinations of talent as the best from each is brought forward to produce exceptional quality beer. The Black Tokyo Horizon is no exception. This beer is the result of a collaboration between three breweries and their signature stouts: BrewDog’s Tokyo, Nøgne Ø’s Dark Horizon and Mikkeller’s Black. The result is an imperial stout below none. The Black Tokyo Horizon pours the way a stout should: pitch black. There is an extremely thin, tan head that is almost non-existent due to the rather high ABV of 15.2%. A swirl of the glass leads to whiffs of sweet, rich fruits like plums, dates and raisins coupled with a distinctive warming alcohol nose. The taste follows suit with a variety of dark fruit flavours popping out coupled with an amalgamation of flavours such as vanilla and liquorice which are carried by the impressive body and strong alcohol into more bitter roasted coffee and cocoa flavours. This is a beer to sit back sip slowly from a snifter, hands cupped around the glass to let it warm slightly as you enjoy a stout made to make you feel like royalty.
Check out the BrewDog/Nøgne Ø/Mikkeller’s Black Tokyo Horizon on RateBeer here.
A relatively new style to South Africa, a braggot is a class of mead that contains malt which is fermented along with honey as opposed to traditional mead which contains no malt. Mead is considered to be the ancestor of all fermented drinks with traces of honey on fermentation vessels dating back to ancient times. What Rogue achieves in their Marionberry Braggot is a refreshing culmination of style in what would technically be classed according to the BJCP as an Open Category Mead rather than a braggot due to the introduction of the marionberries grown on Rogue Farms. However, I’ll leave the classification to the judges and move onwards to the tasting! This braggot has a dark, purple-brown pour that carries a thin, tan head, leaving strong lacing down the side of the glass. The nose is that of rich, sweet berries and a touch smokiness. The initial taste immediately hits you with sweet, honey and berry flavours carried by strong alcohol (11.4% ABV) and big body. The finish is interesting as it smoothens out towards the roasted malt side with some dry, earthy, dark coffee notes to wrap it up. Overall, another interesting option from Rogue and well worth the experience for the sake of adventures in beer!
Check out the Rogue Marionberry Braggot on RateBeer here.
There comes a time, particularly in the South African beer market, when the pool of available international beers begins to dwindle as you slowly start tasting some of the best the world has to offer in nearly every style available. That’s when beers like the Rogue Chipotle Ale start to shine as they fill the role of being something truly different. Spiced with smoked chipotle chile peppers, this beer has a malty and sweet aroma with a sharp touch of spice. It pours a deep, amber colour with a rich, off-white head. On sip, a relatively medium-high carbonation does the job of carrying the malty sweetness of the initial flavours into a crisp finish with a very mild burning sensation that increases with each sip. The burning of the chipotle makes for a beer that makes you constantly want to sip from to douse the flames, albeit it being on the tamer side of chilli beers. This makes for a beer that is a pleasure to drink for the sake of drinking as well for the experience of something new.
Check out the Rogue Chipotle Ale on RateBeer here.
The next beer on our Rare & Limited selection comes from another South African brewery by the name of Mad Giant and they are starting to make a splash in the local market with beers such as the bold Punk Hop. Audacious branding brings some real attitude to a brand that has the beer quality to back it. The Punk Hop pale ale is the perfect summer ale for the South African summer. A healthy, white head sits upon beer of a rich, golden colour which reels you in with a beautiful nose that releases an explosion of tropical fruit such as mango, litchi and pineapple. The use of a healthy dose of hops in combination with a low malt content create a very light mouthfeel despite the high carbonation. On taste, light biscuit and honey notes give way to fruit flavours resembling a fruit salad from a tropical island. A crisp finish leaves you wanting another sip as this summer ale is both refreshing and thirst quenching. This is another fantastic effort from the next big name on the South African beer market.
Check out the Mad Giant Punk Hop on RateBeer here.