Capital Craft Pretoria: Beer and Food Pairing and Tasting

Capital Craft is Craft Beer Pub?

Running and gunning within the craft beer industry in South Africa means that we get to try a whole lot of new beers and brewery experiments or testers throughout the year. Sometimes, we are asked to check out new and up-and-coming craft beer pubs!

Craft Beer Pubs, for South Africa, means a pub or bar that sells either exclusively or to a large majority: locally produced craft beer to their patrons. This is a distinction to normal pubs or bars that sell more commercially produced beer or spirits. Theres Craft Beer Pubs like Capital Craft Pretoria, were founded on selling only craft beer, and making the entire culture work for them.

Craft Beer Pubs though, can also sometimes be Brewpubs, which are similar with one difference: Brew Pubs are generally considered to be the pub or retail arm of the on-site brewery. Similar to Gilroy’s Brewery or Mad Giant Brewery in Johannesburg. According to wikipedia: “A brewpub is a pub that brews its own beer for sale on the premises”.

Because of the popularity of Craft Beer Pubs throughout Gauteng with the likes of Capital Craft, Beer House or African Beer Emporium, each pub has begun to offer high quality pub food and entertainment to distinguish themselves among the flock.

Capital Craft Pretoria, Beer and Food:

Among those who are growing into a national brand name: Capital Craft is a powerhouse, offering a massive range of locally produced and Cape Town craft beers, (which change constantly, keeping things fresh), and a delectable selection of pub food.

Normally, it’s tough to choose from the selection of over one hundred beers that Capital Craft offers, but fortunately, I had a plan, choose the beers that no one knows about! On this occasion, I indulged into the pubs selection of Hazeldean Brewing Company and an odd ball: Crackerjack, by Drayman’s Distillery. Both of these unique and new brews I paired with their house favourite Smoked Pork Ribs, which was accompanied by chips and veg.

Hazeldean Brewery Pale Pilsner:

I tried the Hazeldean Pale Pilsner with the smoky ribs and then on it’s own. The initial first taste of the so called Pale Pilsner was smooth, and crispy, which is a typical sign of a well brewed pilsner as it should be. It’s a simple beer with nothing too complex, though you do get the sense that the brewer made an attempt at an ale when you consider the bitter aftertaste, I wouldn’t push it all the way to an ale for the reason the flavour doesn’t last too long, which again is very light pilsner or lager.

By definition, a Pilsner should be light and blond, you could say, it’s a light or white lager. In the case of a Pale Pilsner, the flavour and texture should be light and bubbly, with the bitterness of an ale, when considering the hops in the case of the bitterness, they should only just add to the after taste and not over power the entire brew. The Hazeldean Pale Pilsner does this well and makes a good season and pairing beer with stronger foods.

Pairing this Pale Pilsner with food helps clean your palette for stronger foods. In the case of the smokey ribs and creamy vegetables, the pilsner did a great job at refreshing and adding a clean fresh taste to the food, you almost get the sense that you’re able to enjoy the food without anything holding back the flavour. I do however think you shouldn’t be including this brew with garlic or spicy food, because of the bubbly texture of the pils, you may regret the flavours later in the day.

Crackerjack by Drayman’s Distillery:

The simple answer to this choice is that the name shocked me, it sounded crazy and creative, I imagined The Joker drinking something like this (If The Joker was a craft beer drinking hipster).

The Crackerjack Smoked IPA, like the name, is weird, but at the same time, smoother than any IPA I’ve had in a while. Lot’s of breweries in the middle part of 2016 have tried to create IPAs and Pale Ales that are out of the universe hoppy and filled with as much alcohol as possible without killing the drinker.

As much as this trend was fun for a short time, it’s difficult to taste or even drink anything after that, what with your tastebuds being destroyed by the first sip.

The Smoked IPA on the other hand is unique in that you don’t get much of a first taste, a smooth and almost creamy hop mid taste and a very short after taste which doesn’t last too long, the short yet strong bitterness let’s you know you’ve had an IPA, but in the case of the Crackerjack, without leaving you with the heavy bitter that so many craft beer tasters have endured at the hands of craft’s like Thor’s Hammer!

A few of these 5% Smoked IPAs would be welcome at any craft drinker’s table for something new and unique to the Crackerjack.

When pairing with the smokey ribs, I found that the taste of the barbecue was the only thing that came through. Yes, I could enjoy the texture of the meat and smoke of the meat, but at the same time, the IPA tends to over power and wash out any flavour you once had prior.

To enjoy these and many many more craft beers accompanied by some of the most tender and high quality food in town, get to Capital Craft Pretoria and tell them Joburgbrew sent you for their best!

Originally published at Joburgbrew.