These are the best beers in the country according to the SA National Beer Trophy judges

( Image: provided)

It’s been one week since the 4th annual National Beer Trophy Awards and the hangovers have finally subsided. What’s the National Beer Trophy, you say? It’s only South Africa’s premier beer competition and it’s a driving force behind the rise in beer quality and consistency. It’s judged according to the international Beer Judge Certification Programme (BJCP) rules, and with a record 212 entries this year, the standards were higher than ever. 

Beers are judged out of 50 according to the BJCP guide which outlines every beer style in great detail. In order to win a silver medal, the pass mark is 39/50, and for gold, it’s 41/50. Judging took place over several weeks by 25 judges including BJCP judges, wine sommeliers, celebrity chefs and Cicerones (another beer judge certification programme). The prize giving took place at Cape Town’s Beerhouse on Long and brewers from around the country descended.   

The success of the South African National Beer Trophy is a testament to the progress of our craft industry. It’s not just another awards show but a proving ground for breweries to be judged by their peers. Matthew Hurst is one of the partners behind the show and he had this to say, "I've been involved since the first edition of the National Beer Trophy, first as a judge and now as a partner and I'm extremely impressed by how far the industry has come in such a short time. Every year the number of entries, as well as the variety and quality of beers goes up. This is a great sign that the beer industry in South Africa will go from strength to strength in the coming years and we look forward to helping to move the industry in the right direction, by educating consumers and rewarding brewers who brew fantastic beer that they can be proud of."


Best in Show:

Beer of the Year: Amundsen Brewery South Africa – Ink & Dagger IPA

Best Light Beer: Cape Brewing Company – Lager

Best Dark Beer: Darling Brew – Black Mist

Best Amber Beer: Darling Brew – Gypsy Mask

Best Speciality Beer: Fraser’s Folly – Brandy Cask Finished Ale

Best Wheat Beer: St. Francis Brewing Co. – Kromme Rivier Witbier

Gold Medals:

Atlantic Storm Brewery – Black Tempest

Brauhaus Am Damm – Dunkel

Brewhaha Jbay – Stormy Seas

Cape Brewing Company – Dunkel

Devil’s Peak Brewing Company – Lager

Drifter Brewing Co. – Stormy Black Porter

Hermanus Brewery – Old Harbour Lager

Impi Brewing Co. – Homestead Lager

Kings Craft Brewing Co. – Madking Pilsner

Lakeside Brewing Co. – Summit Red Ipa

Mitchell’s Brewery – Forester’s

Mountain Brewing Company – Klipbock

SAB – Castle Light

Spillhaus Brewery - Marzen Lager

Striped Horse - Pale Ale

The Italian Job - Famiglia Pilsner

Silver Medals:

Boet Beer – Pale Ale

Brauhaus am Damm – Märzen

Brewhaha Jbay – Moonlit Beach

Brewhaha Jbay – Endless Summer

Cape Brewing Company – Pilsner

Clockwork Brewhouse – Schwarzbier

Darling Brew – Arrowhead RIS

Darling Brew – Long Claw

Drifter Brewing Co. – Scallywag IPA

Drifter Brewing Co. – Off The Dock Doppelbock

Fierce Beer South Africa – Day Shift

Frontier Beer/Stimela – Brett Saison

Frontier Beer/Hazeldean – The Cuban

Hazeldean Brewing Co. – Fruit Lambic

Hazeldean Brewing Co. – Vienna Lager

Hazeldean Brewing Co. – Milk Stout

Hoghouse Brewing Co. – Warthog IPA

Hoghouse Brewing Co. – Haybale Saison

Hoogeberg Brewery – Lager

Impi Brewing Co. – Warrior Pilsner

Karoo Craft Breweries – The Kudu Lager

Karoo Craft Breweries – The Jackal IPA

Karoo Craft Breweries – Passion Smash Pale Ale

Kas Bier – Weiss

Kings Craft Brewing Co. – Lionheart Lager

Lakeside Brewing Co. – Festival Oktoberfest Lager

Lakeside Brewing Co. – Supernova Porter

Mad Giant – Urban Legend

Metal Lane Brewery – Pale Ale

Mitchell’s Brewery – Milk & Honey

Mitchell’s Brewery – Old Wobbly

Mitchell’s Brewery – Bosun’s Pale Ale

Mountain Brewing Company – Templar IPA

Mountain Brewing Company – Loadshed Lager

Mountain Brewing Company – Stamina Potion

Mountain Brewing Company – Copper Dawn

Newlands Spring Brewing Co. – Jacobs Pale Ale

Newlands Spring Brewing Co. – Tribute Lager

Noon Gun Brewery – Gunslinger Pilsner

Noon Gun Brewery – Muzzle Loader Weiss

Noon Gun Brewery – Smooth Bore Lager

Old Potter’s Brewhouse – Rooinek

Old Potter’s Brewhouse – City Slicker Rice Lager

Old Potter’s Brewhouse – City Slicker Pale Ale

SAB – Castle Lager

SAB – Castle Free

St. Francis Brewing Co. – Storm Warning Stout

Striped Horse – Lager

The Franschoek Beer Company – La Saison

The Franschoek Beer Company – Three Oaks Craft Lager

The Franschoek Beer Company – Liberty APA

The Italian Job Brewery – Amore Amber Ale

The Kennel Brewery – Bierboel

The Redrock Brewing Co. – Painted Black

The Redrock Brewing Co. – Rusty Trigger

Toast Ale – South Africa Pale Ale

Urban Brewing Co. – Monkey’s Paw Pilsner

Zebonkey – Weissbier

Zwakala Brewery – Mountain Weiss 

Beerhouse People’s Choice:

SAB - Black Label (for the second year in a row much to the annoyance of the craft community). 

Karl Tessendorf is one part of the duo that hosts 'Beer Country', South Africa's first TV show dedicated to beer, braai and the open road.

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