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African Beer Cup 2022: Continent's best beers awarded

Soul Barrel Brewing, a small craft brewery based in the Cape Winelands, came out tops at the recent 2022 African Beer Cup. The brewery's Live Culture Grand Cru beat 250 entries from 14 different African countries to scoop the coveted title of Best Beer in Africa.
Soul Barrel brewer Devin Kendricks. Source: Supplied
Soul Barrel brewer Devin Kendricks. Source: Supplied

“Winning Best Beer in Africa is one of the most significant accomplishments a brewery can achieve in Africa,” says Soul Barrel founder and brewer Nick Smith. “We are so proud to have won with a beer that features our very own malt and hops as well as fynbos from our garden. We believe in South African agriculture and winning best beer in Africa with a beer that’s brewed with 100% local ingredients is a testament to that.”

Live Culture Grand Cru is a barrel-aged farmhouse ale fermented with wild yeast native to the Simondium-based brewery. It was brewed with barley from Caledon alongside citrus fynbos and hops grown in Soul Barrel’s beer garden.

International judges

This was the third year of the competition and the first time that international judges were invited to join. Judges from 16 different countries evaluated the 251 entries over three days last week. The winners were announced in May at an awards evening held at Jack Black’s Brewing Company in Cape Town.

“We want to elevate the competition to be in line with other international competitions,” says African Beer Cup founder Lucy Corne. “And inviting extremely experienced, highly respected beer industry experts from around the world is crucial for our competition. It’s the first time any beer competition in Africa has welcomed such highly esteemed judges.”

The judges awarded 10 gold medals, 29 silver medals and 27 bronze medals across 32 categories. The competition is judged to the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) guidelines, which focus on stylistic accuracy rather than personal preference. Beers must reach a certain score threshold in order to be considered for a medal, with a maximum of one gold, one silver and one bronze per category.

The 10 gold medallists then went head to head in a Best of Show round to determine the Best Beer in Africa. Rather than a trophy, the winner receives a custom painting to celebrate their win. This year’s painting was created by Cape Town artist Ann Gadd.

New and special awards

The competition also includes a special award which goes to a brewery showcasing traditional African ingredients in a beer. The Basa African Celebration Award, sponsored by the Beer Association of South Africa (Basa), was awarded to Botswana’s Okavango Craft Brewery for its Old Bull Stout, which uses locally grown millet alongside malted barley.

The brewery is spearheading a programme that supports local farmers and buys surplus millet, which is then malted at the brewery and used across their beer range. Basa CEO Patricia Pillay presented the award.

The team from Okavango Craft Brewery with Basa CEO Patricia Pillay. Source: Supplied
The team from Okavango Craft Brewery with Basa CEO Patricia Pillay. Source: Supplied

Basa also sponsored the Non-Alcoholic Beer Award – a first for the competition. The silver medal was awarded to Heineken for Heineken 0.0, while the bronze went to Signal Hill Products for Devil's Peak To The Sea Non-Alc IPA.

“Basa believes that non-alcoholic beers are a critical step towards differentiating beer as the drink of choice for all occasions,” says Pillay.

All the winners

Basa African Celebration Award

Okavango Craft Brewery - Old Bull Stout (Botswana)

Best Beer in Africa

Soul Barrel Brewing - Live Culture Grand Cru (South Africa)

Non-Alcoholic Beer

Silver: Heineken South Africa - Heineken 0.0 (South Africa)
Bronze: Signal Hill Products - Devil's Peak To The Sea Non-alc IPA (South Africa)

Standard American Beer

Silver: SAB Ltd - Castle Lager (South Africa)
Bronze: Signal Hill Products - Devil's Peak Lite Lager (South Africa)

International Lager

Gold: Seychelles Breweries - SeyBrew (Seychelles)
Silver: Zambian Breweries Plc - Mosi Premium Lager (Zambia)
Bronze: Nile Breweries Ltd - Club Pilsener (Uganda)

Czech Lager

Silver: Saggy Stone Brewing Co. - Rosebank Red Lager (South Africa)
Bronze: Harper Brewing Co - Harper Brewing - Pils (South Africa)

Pale Malty European Lager

Gold: SAB Ltd - Castle Double Malt (South Africa)
Silver: Saggy Stone Brewing Co. - Rosebank Lager (South Africa)
Bronze: Brauhaus Afrika - Farmer's Lager (South Africa)

Pale Bitter European Beer

Gold: Roof of Africa Craft Brewery - Roof Draught (Namibia)
Silver: Hoghouse Brewing Co - Pumba Pilsner (South Africa)
Bronze: Roof of Africa Craft Brewery - Roof Pilsner (Namibia)

Amber Malty European Lager

Silver: Brauhaus Afrika - Brauhaus Märzen (South Africa)
Bronze: Namibia Breweries Ltd - Camelthorn Urbock (Namibia)

Amber Bitter European Beer

Silver: Hazeldean Brewing Co. - Vienna Lager (South Africa)

Dark European Lager

Silver: Brauhaus Afrika - Brauhaus Dunkel (South Africa)
Bronze: Richmond Hill Brewing Co - Ink In My Drink - Schwarzbier (South Africa)

Strong European Beer

Gold: Mountain Brewing Co - Klipbock Doppelbock (South Africa)

German Wheat Beer

Silver: Darling Brew - Pixie Dust (South Africa)
Bronze: Charlie's Garage - Neiss weiss (South Africa)

British Bitter

Gold: Boet Brewery - Boet Pale Ale (South Africa)
Silver: Okavango Craft Brewery - Panhandle Pale Ale (Botswana)
Bronze: Swagga Breweries (Pty) Ltd - Country Ale (South Africa)

Pale Commonwealth Beer

Bronze: Saggy Stone Brewing Co. - Rocky River (South Africa)

Brown British Beer

Silver: Darling Brew - Gypsy Mask (South Africa)
Bronze: Swagga Breweries (Pty) Ltd - African Porter (South Africa)

Irish Beer

Gold: Richmond Hill Brewing Co - Two Rand Man -Irish Red Ale (South Africa)
Silver: Swagga Breweries (Pty) Ltd - Irish Red Ale (South Africa)
Bronze: Okavango Craft Brewery - Old Bull Stout (Botswana)

Dark British Beer

Silver: Yzer Bru - Black Betty (South Africa)
Bronze: Whale Coast Brewing Co. - WCBC - Oatmeal Stout (South Africa)

Pale American Ale

Gold: Hazeldean Brewing Co. - Ayrshire Pale Ale (South Africa)
Silver: Nova Beer Project - Breakaway Hoppy Pale Ale (South Africa)
Bronze: Birkenhead Brewery - Birkenhead (South Africa)

Amber and Brown American Beer

Bronze: Whale Coast Brewing Co. - WCBC - Summer Ale (South Africa)

American Porter and Stout

Silver: Brewhogs - Brewhogs No.3 (South Africa)
Bronze: That Brewing Co. - That Am-Stout (South Africa)

IPA

Silver: Richmond Hill Brewing Co - Coastal Cult - Hazy Pale Ale (South Africa)
Bronze: Noon Gun Brewery - 18-Pounder Session IPA (South Africa)

Strong American Ale

Silver: Darling Brew - Warlord (South Africa)
Bronze: That Brewing Co. - Lupulin Shift Disorder (South Africa)

European Sour Ale

Silver: Hazeldean Brewing Co. - Lambic Style Kriek (South Africa)
Bronze: Hazeldean Brewing Co. - Lambic Style Framboise (South Africa)

Belgian Ale

Silver: Newlands Spring Brewing Company - Passionate Blond (South Africa)
Bronze: Crafty Dee's - Wheat Beer (Tanzania)

Strong Belgian Ale

Silver: Saggy Stone Brewing Co. - Farmhouse Saison (South Africa)
Bronze: Hoghouse Brewing Co - Haybale Saison (South Africa)

Monastic Ale

Silver: Honingklip Brewery - Honingklip Dubbel (South Africa)

Historical Beer

Silver: Richmond Hill Brewing Co - Twin Fin - Kellerbier (South Africa)

American Wild Ale

Gold: Soul Barrel Brewing - Live Culture Grand Cru (South Africa)
Silver: Soul Barrel Brewing - East India Pale Brett IPA (South Africa)
Bronze: Signal Hill Products - Devil's Peak Fields of Gold (South Africa)

Fruit Beer

Gold: Clockwork Brewhouse - Syrah Berliner Weisse (South Africa)
Silver: YzerBru Craft Brewery - Founding Father (South Africa)
Bronze: Folk & Goode Brewing & Distilling CO - Dr’acula, Berry & Beet Pastry Beer (South Africa)

Spiced Beer

Silver: Hoghouse Brewing Co - Foraged Porter (South Africa)
Bronze: Doctrine Brewing - Will-o'-the-Wisp (South Africa)

Alternative Fermentables Beer

Silver: Bruce Jack & Fraser Crighton X Folk & Goode Brewing Co. - Salute to the Sun (South Africa)
Bronze: Wild Dog Brewery (Tiemann Beer) - Shempa Ale (Zambia)

Wood Beer

Gold: Darling Brew - Arrowhead Vintage 2020 (South Africa)
Silver: Afro Caribbean Brewing Company - Pucker (South Africa)

Specialty Beer

Silver: Mad Giant - 3:00 PM (South Africa)
Bronze: Barrington’s Brewery - Ibhiya Ibuchu (South Africa)

This year’s competition attracted a number of sponsors including global fermentation specialists Fermentis, Cape Town companies Draught Guardian and Frontier Canning, and Austrian based Anton Paar.


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