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Cheers to creative craft beers at 1000 Hills Brewing Company

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Cheers to creative craft beers at 1000 Hills Brewing Company

For those uninitiated into the rich and vibrant South African craft beer world that has been flourishing in popularity over the years, you're in for a treat. 1000 Hills Brewing Company (part of the 1000 Hills Chef School campus) located in Bothas Hill, Hillcrest, is a prime example of the growth in this industry. With an award-winning all-female brewing team of Clockwork Brewhouse run by accredited beer judge Megan Gemmel, 1000 Hills Brewing Company offers five distinctive craft beers (among others) that are available bottled or on tap. 

A legend is brewing in craft beer circles
Many aficionados believe craft beer is always better than settling for large-scale commercially produced varieties. They come in a dazzling range of hues, from honey golds to dark chocolate browns. While the tastes are equally as diverse and nuanced with hints of coffee, chocolate, or maybe a fruity pop - taste is the centre around which these artisanal brews are created. Small batch manufacturing also ensures the ingredients and the process is thoughtful and carefully selected as opposed to the more impersonal mass production. 

And then, of course, there's the consumption. Drinking craft beer becomes an experience in and of itself. The sampling of different varieties, the experimentation, the socialising with the brewers, and the enjoyment of the process as a whole becomes the point of the event. And in this case, local is undoubtedly lekker.

With our love of a good brew, our passion for braaing and a warm and welcoming outdoor environment, it's no wonder South Africa and craft beer are a match meant to be. And the surge of popularity in the South African craft beer scene is a clear indication from the nation that artisanal beer has a firm nod of approval. Gaining popularity in the early 80s in South Africa, the craft beer industry saw a steady rise until it experienced a surge of popularity in the 2000s. Since then, it has found a welcome home in the landscape of South Africa's brewing industry. One of its leading lights is KZN's 1000 Hills Brewing Company.

Be top of the class with 1000 Hills Brewing Company
This local brewing legend began life in 2009 as the Porcupine Quill Brewing Company. From there, it became part of the 1000 Hills Chef School and transformed into the 1000 Hills Brewing Company with a mandate to teach the advanced art of craft beer brewing with a focus on flavour and food pairings as well as experimenting with their style to produce quality craft beers. They rate their beers according to colour with a system called SRM (from light with low numbers to dark with higher numbers on the scale). There's also a rating for the percentage of alcohol (ABV) and a more subjective rating for flavour and bitterness. 

The result? Five flavoursome craft beers they dub "the class of 1000 Hills Brewing Company". These include The Cheerleader - a malty amber ale; The Graduate - a fruity, spicy Indian Pale Ale; The Foreign Exchange Student - a strong, dark Belgium ale with hints of toffee and caramel; The Dean - the crisp and golden pilsner and finally, The Quarterback - the light and fruity American Pale Ale.

Where, when and how to get in on the action
You can enjoy this top-class beer bonanza at their Classroom Café and Mirco Brewery (open Friday - Sunday) at 2 Wootten Avenue in Bothas Hill. Here, the 1000 Hills Chef School serves a range of delicious dishes from handmade artisanal bread, wood-fired pizza and deli meats to light lunches, pasta and kiddie meals.

If a beer-tasting experience is more your style, head over to the Classroom Café on Fridays between 11:30 am and 4 pm or weekends from 8:30 am to 4 pm and for R85 per tasting tray, you'll get 6 x 100ml craft beers per tray to savour with mates at your leisure. 

As for fine dining, keep an eye on their socials, where they advertise their regular evening gourmet dining experiences showcasing their students' burgeoning skills. The menu changes monthly, and booking is essential for this tastebud tempting treat!

You can expect a lot more of the 1000 Hills Brewery on KZN's craft beer scene. Keep an eye out for them at the much anticipated and upcoming Clarens Craft Beer Festival later this month (24 - 25 February 2023). If you can't make it to the café but have a strong thirst for their exceptional beer, don't panic! You can buy their offerings from local stockists, including Hillcrest Tops, Lillies Quarters Tops, Village Vineyard Tops, Maytime Tops and Richdens Tops. Cheers to that!

Author Shelley Residential
Published 16 Feb 2023 / Views -
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