Lake Umuzi News

South African National Beer Trophy 2023

South African National Beer Trophy 2023

17 November 2023 – Article reposted from

Last night the beer industry gathered in Cape Town for a celebration of the best beers produced in South Africa. The South African National Beer Trophy (SANBT) has been an important event on the beer calendar since it was first awarded in 2015. In partnership with the Beer Association of South Africa (BASA), the awards recognise local excellence in the art of brewing. BASA represents Heineken South Africa, South African Breweries, the Craft Brewers Association of South Africa and United National Breweries.

When the SANBT started in 2015, only 65 beers were entered. This year the judges had to choose from over 180 entries. “The quality of beer in South Africa has been drastically improving,” said JV Ridon, SANBT head organiser.

The overall champion was 1000 Hills Brewing Company’s “The Foreign Exchange Student” (“The FES”), a Belgian ale described by the brewers as “a strong and dark brew, with a hint of caramel and toffee, mildly bittered with Perle and Fuggles hops”.

The SANBT features a list of categories. Each category was evaluated based on the BJCP Style Guidelines, assessing factors such as aroma, appearance, flavour, mouthfeel, and overall impression. The category winner were as follows:

  • Best Light Beer: Jack Black Brewing Company’s “Brewers Lager”
  • Best Dark Beer: The Franschhoek Beer Company’s “The Stout”
  • Best Speciality Beer: 1000 Hills Brewing Company’s “The FES”
  • Best Hoppy Beer: Cape Brewing Company’s “CBC Pale Ale”
  • Best Red and Amber Beer: Richmond Hill Brewing Company’s “Two Rand Man Irish Red Ale”

BASA also sponsored two categories for Best No Alcohol Beer (<0.5% ABV) and for Best Low-Alcohol Beer (< 3.9% ABV). The winners were:

  • Best Low Alcohol Beer: Darling Brew’s “Light Speed”
  • Best No Alcohol Beer: Devil’s Peak Brewing Company’s “Devil’s Peak Hero”

The following beers were awarded gold medals:

  • Hazeldean Brewing Co. – “Rasputin”
  • Afro Caribbean Brewing Co. – “New Zealand 2”
  • SAB – “Castle Milk Stout”
  • Stellenbrau – “Craven Lager”
  • 1000 Hills Brewing Co. – “The FES”
  • The Franschhoek Beer Co – “The Stout”
  • The Franschhoek Beer Co. – “La Saison”
  • Darling Brew – “Light Speed”
  • Cederberg Brewery – “Cederberg Original Lager”
  • Cape Brewing Co. – “CBC Pale Ale”
  • Richmond Hill Brewing Company – “Two Rand Man Irish Red Ale”
  • Jack Black Brewing Co. – “Brewers Lager”
  • Darling Brew – “Black Mist”
  • Doctrine Brewing – “Will-o’-the-Wisp”
South African National Beer Trophy 2023

The following beers were awarded silver medals:

  • Boet Beer – “Boet Lager”
  • Cape Brewing Co. – “CBC Pilsner”
  • Cape Brewing Co. – “Trueman Milk Stout”
  • Cape Brewing Co. – “CBC Lite Lager”
  • Cape Brewing Co. – “CBC Lager”
  • Afro Caribbean Brewing Co. – “Garth’s Duvet
  • Afro Caribbean Brewing Co. – “Summer”
  • Afro Caribbean Brewing Co. – “Sherman”
  • Afro Caribbean Brewing Co. – “Groot Slang (version 2)”
  • Mad Giant Brewing Co. – “THAT Giant – Coffee Stout”
  • Darling Brew – “Slow Beer”
  • Darling Brew – “Just beer”
  • Darling Brew – “4X4 Braai PA”
  • Darling Brew – “Godfather”
  • Darling Brew – “Long Claw”
  • Darling Brew – Just Right”
  • Clockwork Brewhouse – “Schwarzbier”
  • Clockwork Brewhouse – “Hibiscus-Citrus-Plum Sour”
  • Sabie Brewing Co. – “Long Tom Lager-Munich Dunkel”
  • Sabie Brewing Co. – “Shangaan Stout”
  • Hoghouse Brewing Co. – “Hoglite Light Kolsch”
  • SAB – “Castle Double Malt”
  • SAB – “Castle Lager”
  • SAB – “Hansa Pilsner”
  • The Franschhoek Beer Co – “Weissbier no 5”
  • The Franschhoek Beer Co. – “Liberty APA”
  • Bomb Squad – “Bomb Squad”
  • That Brewing Co. “That Black”
  • That Brewing Co. – “El Juicy”
  • That Brewing Co. – “That APA”
  • St Francis Brewing Co. – “Beach Blonde Lager”
  • Kings Craft Brewing Co. – “Monksbrew Dunkel”
  • Noon Gun Brewery – “Smooth Bore Lager”
  • Cederberg Brewery – “Cederberg Pale Ale”
  • Jack Black Brewing Co. – “Skeleton Coast IPA”
  • Lake Umuzi Brewing Co. – “Village Weiss”
  • Devils Peak Beer Co. – “Devils Peak Hero Non-Alc”
  • Newlands Spring Brewing Co. – “Jacobs Pale Ale”
  • Newlands Spring Brewing Co. – “Tribute Lager”

Ridon highlighted that the acknowledged beers truly came from across the entire country – from Secunda to Paarl, from Pietermaritzburg to Johannesburg. “We are always happy to offer a platform to the remarkable brewers of South Africa. There are so many new beers. It shows diversity. And they are beers with identity.”

Ridon also mentioned the resilience of craft brewers. “We saw that during the lockdown we were all in the same boat,” he said, referencing the devastating economic impact of the Covid-19 alcohol bans from which most craft brewers are now bouncing back.

Patricia Pillay, the CEO of BASA, congratulated the winners. “We applaud all the winners for their skill, passion and their dedication to their craft. We encourage them to continue being part of the rich beer heritage and tradition that exists in South Africa – from the days of traditional brewing in the form of umqombothi to microbrewing. Along with big beer players, the beer industry supports 1 in every 66 jobs in one way or another. BASA recognises that with the current economy and various legislative limitations that impact beer as a category, it’s not always easy to trade, but we acknowledge the brewers’ ability to always be innovative. The world-class no alcohol and low alcohol beers that the brewers produce are amazing and it was a privilege for BASA to be able to sponsor the prizes for these categories for the second year. BASA takes its responsibility to promote moderate and considered drinking very seriously,” she said.

Closing the event, Pillay spoke about BASA’s petition to gauge public support for the legalisation of the sale of craft beer in grocery stores. The petition has already received over 22 000 signatures.


South African National Beer Trophy


About Rolin Booysen

Rolin Booysen is an enthusiastic marketer at Lake Umuzi, Mpumalanga. She graduated with a B.Com Marketing Management degree from the University of Pretoria. She loves planning events and enjoyed being part of events such as Aardklop, KKNK, Skouspel and Umuzi Week of Festivals, to name a few.In her free time she enjoys outdoor activities, jogging, fishing and hiking.

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