Name: Zwakala Brewery
Location: Haenertsburg, Limpopo
Set in the Magoebaskloof mountains, and near Tzaneen is Zwakala Brewery. The name means “come closer” and considering the trek to get there, it seems appropriate. It is at the end of a fairly dodgy dirt in the mountains, but once you’re there you never want to leave.
The brewery and pub is small and simple, but effective. The place has huge windows that offer a near panoramic view of the mountains and forest. There is a limited food menu consisting of burgers (including vegetarian – which was awesome), but honestly it’s all you need. The portions are big, so you don’t even miss the traditional side of chips. Their have homemade tzatziki and chilli sauce on the burgers go well with their brews.
Zwakala have 3 core beers right now: Naked Ale (a blonde ale), Limpopo Lager and Mountain Weiss. All three are exceptionally sessionable. I couldn’t quite decide at the time (nor after) which one I preferred. The one thing I’d like to see from the guys is more boundary pushing in terms of flavours. Luca, the brewmaster, is buddies with the guys from Drifter so there’s loads of help and mentorship going on and it would be great to see bolder beers coming from Zwakala; especially since they’ve just sent a big order to the Kruger Park lodges. What a perfect way to represent SA craft beer and I hope they step up and show what our brewers can really do. They do have plans to develop a recipe for a macadamia porter (with a secret twist), which could be awesome – and even more so since macadamia nuts grow locally. I look forward to it!
One final note on this small brewery: their label design is incredible. I love that they incorporate a more South African feel while remaining really minimalist and legible. Check out the pics below; I’m sure you’ll agree that they are some of the best. I wish they had been selling shirts; I would have bought one of each.
If you’re going north in the near future, I urge you to give them a visit. In fact, there is a festival in Tzaneen on the 10th of September. Perfect opportunity to get to know them. #cheers!