13 Nov 15

The beers have been sniffed, sipped and judged and the finalists in the third annual National Craft Brewers Championships have been decided upon.

Rivalry in the competition, hosted by The South African Breweries (SAB) and Craft Beer South Africa (CBSA) was hotter than ever, with number of entries up from 75 to 125, giving judges a tough day of tasting some of the finest products from professional craft brewers around the country.

“We aim to reward professional craft brewers by giving their excellent products the recognition they deserve, ” said SAB Chief Brewer Petr Vesely.

Craft Beer South Africa Chairman Brian Stewart said: “As the craft beer sector grows, competitions like this add to the brew and the intellectual property that can only be of benefit to consumers as well as producers.”

Sean Watts, Convener of Judges said the event hoped “to give brewers the opportunity to gain constructive feedback from accredited judges regarding their product”.

Beers and ciders entered had to be regularly brewed and commercially available and fit the categories as laid out in the Beer Judge Certification Programme (BJCP) style 2015 guidelines. Audited by Grant Thornton, the judging panel consists of some of the country’s most esteemed BJCP-certified judges.

Johannesburg-based judge Robin Marsden, who judged the lager category, said he was impressed by the clarity of what was put before him. “This showed me that most brewers have begun to filter their brews to ensure a better experience for the consumers of this type of beer, ” he said.

Beer book author and judge, Lucy Corne, said she was impressed with the variety of beers as well as the number of contestants who added indigenous South African ingredients such as Fynbos and Rooibos to their beer. “This is definitely something new, as last year we didn’t experience this and as judges this showed us that our brewers are beginning to gain the confidence to experiment.”

Prizes include cash, raw material and training prizes valued at over R200 000.

Winners will be announced on 3 December 2015.




  • Basset Breweries - The Dogfather
  • Cape Brewing Company - CBC Pilsner
  • Devil’s Peak Brewing Company - Lager
  • Hopping Frog Brewworks - Rambunctious Rye
  • Long Beach Brewery - Green Room
  • Riot Beer - Valve
  • Striped Horse - Striped Horse Lager
  • SMACK! Republic Brewing Co. - Newton Nemesis
  • Ukhamba Beerworx & HopHazard Brewing collaboration - The Red Brick Shit House
  • Woodstock Brewery - Californicator

2015 Judging Panel:

  • Sean Watts – Convenor of Judges
  • Adam Scott
  • Andrew Downes
  • Brad Dinner
  • Carl Sandrock
  • Chantel Bok
  • Chris Roth
  • Danie Odendaal
  • Dean Langkilde
  • Jean-Pierre Meijer
  • Justin Elliot
  • Leonard Beukes
  • Lucy Corne
  • Malcolm du Toit
  • Paul Sonnendecker
  • Petr Vesely
  • Robert Jacobson
  • Robin Marsden
  • Ruanne Sandrock
  • Shawn Duthie
  • Theo Groenewald
  • Troye May
  • Vincent le Roux
  • Warren Wiese
  • Wouter Steyn

2015 Judging Panel:

  • Len Maseko – The Sowetan
  • Graeme Hosken – The Times
  • Shaun Smillie - The Times
  • Ivor Swartz – Craft Nation
  • Ufredia Ho – The Saturday Star