What you might not know about me, is that I’m a very keen beer-drinker. Not the “four-pints-a-night” kinda girl, but more the “I-really-love-a-good-craft-beer” girl. Entice me with the promises of a dark stout or a moody ale; a hoppy lager or a fruity IPA, and I’m like a kid in a candy-store. That is why I jumped for joy at the invitation to brew my own brew with, well, Darling Brew.
In operation since 2010, Darling Brew is one of South Africa’s first well established and award-winning microbreweries. They brew a wide range of premium specialty beers – including traditional lagers, ales, oat ales, pale ales, IPA’s, wheat beers and exotic darks – that are loved for their flavour, quality ingredients and brewing process. Each beer in their range has unique characteristics and is dedicated in honour of an endangered species. Visit the Darling Brewery & Tasteroom for a great craft beer tasting experience (https://www.darlingbrew.co.za/).
Darling Brew Woodstock opened their doors to the public on Saturday, 2 March 2019, bringing the extensive range of Darling Brew craft beers closer to craft beer lovers in Cape Town. Hailing from Germany, General Manager Lars Pflanz blends his successful recipe for operating bars and restaurants in Europe with a South African flavour, to offer a truly unique dining experience featuring bratwurst and boerewors, German-style pretzels and gourmet burgers as well as traditional flammkuchen, exceptional cocktails and fine malt whiskies.
What a great concept. Brew and review. That’s what the invite promised me when it crossed my desk a few weeks ago. The Tall Hedonist and I were given the opportunity to attend and participate in Darling Brew’s first Cape Town-based Master Brew Class at their brand new premises in Woodstock.
Proudly situated at the foot of the new uber-modern WEX1 building, Darling Brew has made a move into Woodstock. And rightly so, as Woodstock has recently gained popularity as being foodie HQ for Capetownians and visitors alike. Wrapped in top-to-bottom glass windows, Darling Brew beckons you to come inside for a bite and a beer.
I fell in love with the venue the moment I stepped inside. Smooth wood and black and brown leather furnishings give this taproom an industrial-chic feel. An impressive bar with countless taps occupies the length of the room, whilst the large dining room is minimally furnished without losing the comfy factor. We made our way to a reserved section towards the back of the dining room where our feasting table has been prepared. Filled with beer brewing equipment and some impressive pieces of machinery, I was already excited about what the night might hold.
The Master Class
Our experience swiftly kicked off with an introduction to Hennie Blom, the talented Darling brewer and our host for the evening. He introduced the basics of brewing to a group of media and invited guests, guiding us through the craft beer making process as the night continued. After a few welcoming words, we moved into a Darling Brew ‘Big Daddy’ beer tasting. Beautiful individual wooden tasting caddies containing eight of Darling Brew’s darlings were carried to the table for our sheer indulgent pleasure. The flight included Slow Beer, Rogue Pony, Thunder Bird, Bone Crusher, Pearl Rose, Gypsy Mask, Blood Serpent and Rooibok.
Between the tastings, Hennie continued to tell us more about the different types of hops used in their brews and walked us through the brewing process. There were plenty chances to interact with the raw ingredients, ask questions and engage with the brewer himself. We watched as Hennie demonstrated (using smaller scale, McGyver-style equipment!) how the hops is ground down and we got involved in the first few steps of the brewing process.
Brewing beer is a hungry job, but luckily Darling Brew had our backs. To compliment our beery awesome experience, Darling treated us to a three course meal straight off their mouthwatering menu. Prepared by Chef Nalene and her team, I was in my element when the food started rolling in. Starters included chicken wings and a creamy coleslaw followed by a juicy Sirloin steak with chips and a spicy butter, and to round it off – the Beeramisu, a decadent Italian classic dessert made with Silver Back beer, sponge fingers, espresso mascarpone and cocoa.
What I enjoyed most about this experience, was that there were no rules. Through the expansive selection of tasters offered during dinner, you could mix and match your food and beer (literally!) to your palate. You like Rogue Pony with your chicken wings? Great stuff. Thunder bird and Sirloin hits the spot? Awesome pairing! There were no right or wrong pairings, which also speaks to the incredible versatility of the Darling range.
Darling Brew Woodstock will be hosting regular brew classes at R899 per person, which includes a three-course meal, eight-beer tasting, a 1L growler of any Darling Brew beer on tap and a 5L mini keg of the brew created on the day.
Embark on a night filled with the magic of craft beer. A lovely experience for the avid beer aficionado and the newbie on the craft beer scene, too. The bumper Big Daddy tasting, coupled with a delicious three course meal, calls for a great night. Plus the chance to learn more about your favourite brew and engage the brewer in a casual chat or two, makes this Master Class worth every cent. A lovely gift for a friend or group activity, make sure you attend one of Darling’s Master Classes at some point.
And if brewing is not your thing, be sure to still pop in for a bite and a beer. It’s simply legendary, brew!
Second photographer and photo credit: Timothy P. Gibson
The Little Hedonist has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, I do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, menu changes, opening times, and contact details.
Disclaimer: I was invited to this event in my capacity as a representative of InstaEats. There was no expectation for platform coverage in the form of a blog, or social media posts. This is my honest and truthful opinion and review thereof. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are solely those of The Little Hedonist, given in good faith and in no way influenced by the company or its affiliates. All images, unless otherwise stated/credited, are also my own.