Sedgefield Brewery, a Little Brewing Gem

When I first met Tony Hunter he had a vision, and his vision was to start up a craft beer brewery in Sedgefield and to share his love for beer making with everyone that crossed his path. Tony loves what he does, and he loves it even more if you sit and sip on one of his beers while he chats away about the making of his beer. This is a true craft brewer and everything he does is a process of affection to his beer.  It might be a small brewery, but he is a tentative brewer and a large amount of his time is being spent monitoring the steps of turning barley into a golden liquid that is not only drinkable but truly enjoyable.

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Going through the explanation of the process it occurred to me that even though this is the making of craft beer you definitely have to be an Engineer, Chemist, Chief cook and bottle washer and even an Alchemist. A delicate process of turning barley and hops into the nectar of the gods. The golden brew goes from one large container to the next until it settles in a holding tank where the beer is watched for a few days prior to its final dispensing into glass bottles. The end result is a line of beautifully proportioned bottles in an ice cold fridge patiently waiting to be drunk.  Currently Tony has 3 types of beers that he makes.

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– First a light Golden Ale called a blonde that is crisp, an easy light hearted drinking beer, with a high popularity among the fairer species like me.
– Then the Red Ale with an interesting taste and even more interesting after taste. This beer fascinated me the most, as I experienced the taste in my mouth it felt almost like it needed a sweet pairing.
– Finally the I P A, different to a few others that I have tasted, a heavy, a more bitter beer with a highly rich component; it reminds me of a deep arm chair in front of a fireplace kind of beer.

My pairing of the beers had to be thought through carefully as all of these beers are sold over the counter and not available in restaurants. So my decision was to pair it with the best take out /small cafe style food that are locally found in and around Sedgefield. I had an extensive chat to Tony about pairings and I think we got this one spot on.

The first pairing I did was the Irish Red Ale with the famous Curry wurst from local street food vendor and Food Market operator Wurst Express. I was completely impressed with this pairing and found myself enjoying the feeling of the beer in my mouth , the slight sweetness of the Curry wurst was enhanced by the Ale , a brilliant pairing. This will always be a favourite of mine, I love these flavours
 

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For my second pairing I made my way to Mr Kaai in Sedgefield and for those of you who know Sedgefield’s Mr Kaai will agree that this is the best fish spot in the Garden Route. People literally flock here during season and if you want to get an order in, best you come early.  The order of the day, grilled fish and chips served with a side salad and cold blonde ale. Every mouth full was a delightful treat, the fish cook to perfection and lightness of the beer made it a great light lunch. Do yourselves a favour and head down to Mr Kaai with a couple of local beers in hand for a great experience.

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Lastly I grabbed a pie from the old Sedgefield Station where Louise and Jo have been making there famous station pies for quite a few years and this is also a stopover for many people travelling to the Garden Route. I picked a venison pie with a kudu meat filling and took it home with me alongside an
I P A, my last beer in need of a pairing. Just before sunset I had my beer chilled and I heated up the Pie added some chips, gravy and broccoli side salad topped with feta and cranberries for sweetness. I sat outside and over looked the ocean with my plate of food and beer in hand. This is definitely a beer for venison whether you’re eating biltong or a stew,the bitterness of beer cuts through the meat taste,nd if your pallet requires it I would add in a few raisins or other types of berries for a bit of sweetness. A rich dark beer and I agree with my previous statement of a comfy arm chair in front of a fire place.

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Sedgefield Brewery truly impressed me and I am delighted to say it is an overall winner. There is something for everyone to enjoy. Thank you Tony for showing me your world of beer, it is definitely highly recommended.
Visit them at the Scarab Market in Sedgefield, Western Cape
www.sedgefieldbrewery.co.za

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GardenRoute Craftbeer Route 1 – Glenhoff Lager

I was introduced to craft beer for the first time 4 years ago when arriving in the Garden Route.  Unknown to me craft brewing wasn’t something quite new but not really a familiarity to a city girl like me. One thing I have learned about leaving the city is that people get creative and they still have time for the good things in life.  My first introduction to craft brewing was at a Slow Food convivium luncheon and I was completely captivated by micro brewer Mike.  The way he handled the beer, his passion for creating it, the thought that has gone into it and just the whole idea of making something of your own for people to enjoy.  I have since watched and learnt with great interest as these golden goblets of pure joy appeared more and more around me.  I had to write about beer in the Garden Route and Klein Karoo as it has become part of our culture and I have also discovered that we have the only hops Route in South Africa and the entire hops industry in is situated in the Southern Cape and only a short scenic drive from George. This area, with some of the longest summer days in the country, is the best for growing hops.

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My first trip was to Southern Cape breweries – Glenhoff and is situated in the industrial area of Mosselbay, this innovated little brewery with its highly energetic team create a Glenhoff lager.  I got chatting to Jan about the brewery and it’s beginnings and it soon became very clear to me that this is a brewery that means business.  The thought that has gone into creating this beer is phenomenal from the water, to the usage of water the professional set up and extra care about the end results. Believe me it is not a huge operation but a dynamic one. Listening with great interst as the young brewer Marius explains the process to me and their very  natural approach to brewing beer. The feeling I get after my visit is that there is a purity in what they do, they want the best and to be the best. 

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So off to the Gannet restaurant in Mosselbay I go, to enjoy a luncheon with a Glenhoff beer.  After inundating the Glenhoff crew with questions of taste and comparisons, I decided to take what they said about Glenhoff lager and pair it with a lovely rich and flavourful dish. I ordered a brie cheese wrapped in parmaham and served on a bed of Rocket.  Lots of flavour and lots of strong taste. 

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The lager lived up to its reputation in more than one way.  Light, a crisp sensation in your mouth, it cuts through the richness and leaves you with a beautiful after taste. Drinking it was a great pleasure and you can taste the difference of the natural carbonated beer.  Well done guys, I will be seeing you at the thousand sensation beer festival in Wilderness
Jan, Johan, Marius & Ockie
Southern Cape Breweries

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