The South African Pilsner Project

There’s a set of favor tips that’s utilized in beer competitions around the globe. It’s curated by an American organisation known as the Beer Choose Certification Program (BJCP). It’s not at all the one set of tips in use, however the BJCP is the usual for each homebrew {and professional} competitions round South Africa.

Opposite to what some critics proclaim, the BJCP tips should not there to prescribe what beer has to look, scent and style like. They mirror world traits in beer – as soon as an rising type turns into a reasonably broadly noticed development, sensory specialists assess plenty of examples and give you an outline of the standard traits of the type in an effort to assist others to brew one thing related.

The rules are recurrently up to date and lately, plenty of world kinds has joined the ranks alongside longer-established kinds from Europe and the USA. Argentine IPA and Italian Grape Ale made their debut within the 2015 tips, with New Zealand Pilsner and Catharina Bitter (Brazil) making it into the 2021 version.

A South African type?

For years, of us from the South African beer trade have talked about getting a mode into the rules, however no-one has fairly labored out what which may appear to be (and extra importantly, style like). You’ll be able to’t create a brand new type out of nowhere simply to get it into the rules. It needs to be one thing that plenty of breweries are producing domestically – or because the BJCP places it, a suggestion that’s “submitted by native BJCP judges or brewers inside a single nation or area for rising kinds of native significance”.

There’s lengthy been dialogue on what this might be in South Africa. Would it not comprise buchu or rooibos or different endemic crops? Would it not be a beer impressed by conventional African brewing, utilizing grains like sorghum or millet? Or would it not be a mode that focuses on utilizing malt and hops grown in South Africa?

You’re in all probability painfully conscious that the rand isn’t precisely a powerful forex, and it positive doesn’t journey properly, so you possibly can think about the bills native brewers face with regards to importing their components. It is smart then to try to utilise what’s domestically obtainable. That is the primary aim of the South African Pilsner Mission.

Wish to learn extra on proudly South African beers? Try my article on Eat Out.

Celebrating native components

Launching on Heritage Day (24 September 2023), the South African Pilsner Mission is the brainchild of Afro Caribbean Brewing Co head brewer Jake Sandenbergh. “We determined to provoke the SA Pilsner Mission to carry brewers collectively in a collaborative effort to search out the most effective use for our available native produce and to start out taking steps in the direction of producing a uniquely South African type of beer,” says Jake. “We now have nice entry to extremely reasonably priced hops and malt produced by SAB which have been bred with lager manufacturing being the first focus. That’s why we determined to give attention to lager type beers. It’s also the type that our shoppers finest know and love.”

So the problem went out to brewers nationwide: produce a pilsner utilizing completely – or not less than principally – South African components (with the proviso that each one hops have to be native). The primary version of the undertaking will function beers from 9 breweries throughout the nation. Right here’s a fast rundown of the beers:

Afro Caribbean Open Street Pilsner (4.6%)

Dry hopped with Southern Ardour and likewise that includes Southern Promise and Southern Aroma, ACBC’s Open Street is impressed by the pilsners of Germany and Italy, however with the all-important South African aptitude.

Barrington’s x Southern Proper Bitou Honeybush Pilsner (5.1% ABV)

As a consequence of a scarcity of inventory, this Backyard Route collab doesn’t have native malt, however it’s 100% SA hops (a mix of African Queen and Southern Aroma) and for an additional South African twist it has a touch of honeybush tea.

Beerworks Cape Frequent (5% ABV)

Impressed by the California Frequent, a historic American type that makes use of lager yeast typically fermented at hotter (ale) temperatures, Beerworks’ Heritage Day providing is all SA hops and majority SA malt.

Charlie’s Storage Thunderdust (5% ABV)

Utilizing all SA hops and malt (and clearly water), it’s solely the yeast on this beer that’s from out-of-country. Impressed by the German pilsner, Thunderdust options African Queen within the mash, Southern Star for bittering and Southern Ardour for aroma.

Soul Barrel SA Pils (4.2% ABV)

The granddaddy of all-SA pilsners, Soul Barrel’s SA Pils was first launched in early 2019. It’s an unfiltered pilsner that includes 100% South African barley, wheat and hops. “Southern Aroma is basically an incredible pilsner hop so we wish to let it shine,” says proprietor/brewer Nick Smith.  “It really brings a variety of citrus and fruit notes together with the floral and spice.”

Stumpnose Plain Crusing (4.5%)

Seize a pint of Stumpnose’s small batch pilsner, utilizing 80% native malt, at their KZN taproom this Sunday. It’s hopped with a mixture of Southern Aroma and, as advised by head brewer Tom Parry, “a giant whirlpool of recent cone hops grown within the space by my mate Paul.”

That Brewing Co. Straight Up (4% ABV)

It’s all SAB malt and 100% Southern Promise hops on this very restricted launch straight up lager from Durban’s That Brewing Co. Keep watch over their social media to search out out the place you possibly can style it this Sunday.

Woodstock Brewery Cape Hybrid Ale (4.8% ABV)

Probably the most South African of all of them, utilizing 100% SA malt and hops, in addition to an area wine yeast remoted in Stellenbosch. “It’s our try and create a beer from solely what’s grown in our stunning nation,” says Woodstock’s head brewer, Tinus Lottering. “Be at liberty to contact us for the complete recipe. This belongs to all of us.”

The beers will all be obtainable at their respective taprooms on Heritage Day (and for so long as they final afterwards) or for those who occur to be in Cape City this Sunday, you’ll discover six of the eight on faucet for tasting at Banana Jam Cafe. Whenever you order a taster tray, you’ll get a feedback card to present suggestions on every of the beers as above all, this can be a shared studying train. The brewers have all shared their recipes with one another (and can share them with you), with the collective aim being to search out the absolute best method to make South African beer components shine. You’ll be able to try #SAPilsnerProject in your social media channel of alternative to search out out what’s occurring close to you.

Will it finish in a South African type ultimately making it into the BJCP tips? Effectively, if it does, you’ll be the primary to know.


Curious about studying extra in regards to the BJCP or perhaps taking the examination? Drop me a line to search out out when and the place the following examination is going down in SA.

Lucy Corne