2011 is coming to an end and for me, like many other Capetonians, it has been a year full of great beer. What Rouvanne affectionately calls the “Real Beer Revolution” has seen more and more South Africans being exposed to and enjoying craft and micro brew beers. One of the more popular brands and a fore-runner in my opinion at the moment is Darling Brew. They were the first Micro Brewed beer that I tried in April 2010 at the Olive Fest and awakened my palate to the possibility of beer with flavour. Back then, they only had their Darling Slow Beer, but were well on their way to creating more varieties to entice us with.
As we all know, Kevin and Philippa Wood have come a long way since then and until very recently, already had four varieties of Darling’s local brews. After the Darling Slow Beer, I was introduced to their Darling Native Ale in December 2010 at a market in Big Bay, then their distinctive Darling Bone Crusher Witbier which I purchased at The Hout Bay Harbour Market from Keg King in July 2011. That was followed by the Darling Black Mist Stout that was available at Blauwklippen Vineyard’s October Market this year. The latest addition to the Darling Brew stable is their Limited Edition Darling Christmas Brew which Kevin introduced me to at the Cape Town Festival of Beer this year.
Breaking from their tradition of labelling beers using inspiration from local wildlife, Darling brought out a striking red labelled brew for the festive season. I managed to get my hands onto a few bottles thanks to Manie at Roeland Liquors and sat down for the re-introduction. After noticing this beer’s crystal clear burnt honey colouring, the first thing that hits you is the aroma. You recognise the smell. And as you sip it, you realise what it is. Images of pancakes and “pampoen koekies” come to mind. It’s cinnamon! But more than that, there’s nutmeg in there too. This beer is slightly sweet, but pleasant and palatable. Could I drink more than one of these 550ml beauties? Probably not, but I guess that’s a good thing as Darling only released 4000 litres.
This brew isn’t going to be around for very long, so if you can, get your hands on one. Darling has a great stockist’s page on their website to assist you in finding one of their robustly flavoured beers.
It’s on this note that we at The Beer Garden SA take a sip and wish you and your families a fantastic Christmas and New Year. Remember to stay safe on the roads, buckle up and if you’re going to enjoy a cold one, please hand over your keys to the nearest teetotaller.