South Africa`s Best Craft Brewers revealed at the 2015 Craft Brewers Championship

It was cheers for Hopping Frog Brewwork’s Rambunctious Rye, which beat the competition from some of the country’s bigger craft brewing siblings to take the title of Best Beer in the third annual South African National Craft Brewers Championship.

Second and third spots in the beer category of the competition, hosted by The South African Breweries (SAB) and Craft Beer South Africa (CBSA), went to Riot Beer for their Valve IPA, and the Cape Brewing Company for their CBC Pilsener.

In the Cider Category, Everson Pear Cider took top honours. Garagista Beer Co with their Brut Pom Cider and Little Wolf Brewery with their Hibiscus Cider took second and third place respectively.

For the first time this year, a Journalist’s Choice Award was introduced. A panel of judges representing various media houses declared Hopping Frog Brewwork’s Rambunctious Rye as their number one beer and Windermere Cider’s Rooibos Wooded Cider as their favourite cider.

“All of our winners this year hail from the Western Cape. You could draw a conclusion about the state of craft beer in this country from this, but we will leave it up to the beer-loving public to try these and well as the finalists, and make up their own minds,” said Craft Beer South Africa chairman Brian Stewart.

A panel of 25 judges, including SAB tasters, Beer Judge Certification Programme-qualified tasters, industry players and beer enthusiasts met in Johannesburg recently to judge 136 beers and ciders – up from 75 in 2014.

“The growth in quantity and quality of South African craft beer has been exceptional. These brewers are experimenting with verified recipes and together with the innovation coming out of SAB, it is all helping to grow the beer category,” said SAB Chief Brewer Petr Vesely.

CAPTION: The beer and cider winners at last night’s 2015 National Craft Brewers Championships awards ceremony.

Back row (left to right): Cosmas Pamhigwa from Garagista Beer Co; Michael Howes from Hopping Frog Brewworks; Marc Fourie from Riot Beer; and William Everson from Everson’s Cider.
Front row (left to right): Petr Vesely, SAB’s Chief Brewer; a representative who received the award on behalf of Little Wolf Brewery; Tamsin Mullins and her father Richard Stephens from Windermere Cider; and Brian Stewart, Craft Beer South Africa chairman.