[interview] Clarens Brewery – Catch them at Capital Craft Beer Festival in Pretoria

[interview] Clarens Brewery - Catch them at Capital Craft Beer Festival in Pretoria

For all the news on Clarens Brewery, the only micro-brewery in the Free State, South Africa. Fans of hand-crafted, fine beers and cider can get first-hand updates. Lets get to know them a bit better, ahead of the Capital Craft Beer Festival 2018

WHO WE ARE:

Clarens Brewery is one of the country’s first Brew-Pub, Cidery and Distillery set in the foot-hills of the magnificent Maluti Mountains where our fun-loving team has the thrill of brewing, talking, serving and enjoying great beers, ciders and distillate, all whilst being part of the fantastic craft revolution that is sweeping our country.

Our brewer, Stephan Meyer, is a true beer lover and was blown away by the variety of beers during a trip to the UK in the early 90’s and could not wait to start brewing his own. Our pure fruit ciders were born of a need to use all the fruits of our apple and cherry orchards and making cider is so much more fun than making jam!

The love of brewing and distilling drives us to innovate and develop new products all the time. Our passion for this fledgling industry motivates us to talk to, educate, challenge and transform the novice or traditional consumer into a craft aficionado and to engage with fellow-brewers to constantly learn, share and brew!

WHAT WE DO:

We brew 8000 litres a month on a 800 litre stainless steel system. We hand craft full-grain ales with the finest malts and hops sourced both locally and internationally with no compromise on quality and have been doing so since 2006.

We have 8 ales in our standard range complimented by various seasonal ales and festival specials. Winter in our neck of the woods can be severe but love it since we brew Trappist style Ales to bolster us through.

Stephan built the majority of the brewery himself from reclaimed vessels from the dairy and chemical industries – a fact that he is very proud of.

We brew close to 200,000 litres of cider under our Red Stone Cider label each year on a belt press imported from Austria in 2005 with apples, berries and cherries sourced from the local farmers. We have a range of fruit juices as well; Apple, Cherry & Pineapple.

We distil both whiskey and apple brandy in a 1000l column distil affectionately called The Hunkeler. (It’s a long story)
And finally (for now) our Red Stone range of fruit liqueurs are all made from local fruit.

We offer free tasters and brewery tours and have a delicious lunch menu focusing on German style sausages, local organic cheeses, local breads, relishes and pickles. And our own cherry or apple juice is free for the little ones.

[interview] Clarens Brewery - Catch them at Capital Craft Beer Festival in Pretoria

WHY WE DO IT:

Besides a great love enjoying fine beers we’re on a mission to provide the best quality beers and ciders that we possibly can and to sway a commercial beer or cider drinker into starting the journey of discovery into the delicious world of craft beer and cider.
For us the kicker is seeing the faces of our visitors as they go through the taster panel and finding a favourite. We love explaining the nuances, flavours, styles, techniques and more.

It’s important to us to support and grow the industry and we work hard, every day, at building its image, creating a demand and preaching the craft-gospel.

Most of all we love our brewery, our team, our little village and of course, beer!

For more information, check their website: http://www.clarensbrewery.co.za/

Interview: Clarens Brewery

[interview] Clarens Brewery - Catch them at Capital Craft Beer Festival in Pretoria

MA: Hello Guys, it’s a pleasure to be chatting to you. Everyone doing well? 

We’re all good here thanks!  The autumn colours in Clarens are beautiful, winter is on it’s way and we’re planning our winter beer range.

MA: Would you mind giving us a quick introduction to Clarens Brewery, tell us where in SA are you from and how the brewery got started?

We are based in Clarens, one of the most beautiful villages in the country. Our brewer, Stephan Meyer, is a true beer lover and was blown away by the variety of beers during a trip to the UK in the early 90’s and could not wait to start brewing his own. We initially joined the PTA Worthogs, brewing at home before we decided to give it a go commercially. Our pure fruit ciders were born of a need to use all the fruits of our apple and cherry orchards and making cider is so much more fun than making jam!

MA: How many years has Clarens Brewery been around for?  

We celebrated our 11th birthday as a commercial brewery this past December

MA: What are the beers that you offer at your brewery? 

We have 7 standard beers and a couple seasonal offerings.  The standards are Blonde, English Ale, Red, Stout, Weiss, IPA, APA and White APA.  Our seasonal offerings depend on the season (obviously!) and ingredients we get our hands on. We brew a SMaSH in the summer, Porter and Trappist-Style Ales in the winter, and have once-off brewer’s special on tap most of the time.

MA: What have been some of the major challenges for your brewery over the years? 

Initially it was access to equipment and ingredients as the industry was growing. Currently we challenge ourselves to brew beers that are on par with the excellent, innovative beers being brewed in SA at the moment whilst still having a range available for people new to the craft beer experience that will hook them at the first sip.

MA: Micro-Breweries and locally made beer is fast becoming in demand and highly attractive. How have you seen the change in mind-set of our local beer drinking South Africans over the past few years? 

Absolutely!  Where 10 years ago people stuck to beers that resembled commercially available lagers, they now come in and ask how many IPAs we have in our stable.

MA: You will have a stand at the Capital Craft Beer Festival this year, are you excited for the festival?

[competition] CAPITAL CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL 2018

Of course!  This festival is a high light in our year.  We call Capital Craft our second home, so this is like visiting family.  Pretoria peeps know their beer and are a lot of fun to hang out with.

MA: Let’s make a prediction… which of your beers would be the best seller on the day?  

Our Clarens Goes Nuts Hazelnut Ale is always a winner, and we have something special for this festival…. Watch this space.

MA: Thank you for your time.

Thank you!  We can’t wait for the festival!

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