While there are many colourful theories on the best way to marinade the ultimate fillet steak or get the perfect texture of mielie pap, one thing all South Africans can agree with is that we never need an excuse to have a braai. Even in the cold winter months, South Africans are renowned for always being ready to light up the fire and exchange stories while snacking on their favourite foods.
The bring-and-braai has become a South Africanism that's deeply entrenched in our cultural fibre. Braais are a part of who we are as a nation, and South Africans will gather together for any given reason, whether it's a showdown between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, watching our Springboks in action, or simply as an excuse to see our family and friends.
The thought of a braai is almost simultaneous with the thought of a crisp, cold beer. Meaning one thing all braai-loving South Africans can cheer for is the fact that the ban on alcohol was lifted, and we could once again crack open an ice-cold beer and watch our meat sizzle on the braai. Although the lifting of the ban has been welcomed by South Africans, we must continue to ensure that we drink responsibly, and importantly, always in moderation.
Zoleka Lisa, VP of Corporate Affairs at South African Breweries (SAB) said, "We are all happy to get back enjoying our favourite beers, but we also all have a responsibility to act responsibly and we can do it together."
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the structures of our society have fundamentally changed in that we are no longer able to enjoy a beer around the braai with all of our loved ones. This has been tough on us – because we're such a friendly nation, social withdrawal is real.
We're all feeling it.
While we may not have the luxury of having our friends and extended family close at the moment, there are always creative ways to connect to our loved ones. We could opt to connect virtually, through apps such as Whatsapp and Zoom, or we could befriend our neighbours and have a socially distant "cheers" across our driveways while individually enjoying our favourite braai meat.
To help South Africans bring back that gees and enjoy responsible virtual braaing at home; SAB has provided a quintessentially South African beer and braai pairing menu. Try it out over the weekend and compare notes with your friends to see if they can pick up all the flavours.
A South African braai and beer pairing
The earthy flavour of Hansa Pilsner, a pale lager, goes down best with a cheese board as your starter. It's brewed with Saaz hops imported from the Czech Republic to create a spicier hoppy taste with a bit of a kick. Having a meal is also a great way to ensure that you are drinking responsibly.
With the perfect blend of hops, barley and maize, Castle Lager and the non-alcoholic Castle Free are South Africa's most loved pale lagers. They're dry, bitter and showcase malt undertones. That's why they are best enjoyed with sticky flame-grilled chicken wings or gourmet boerewors rolls with a side of braai-baked potatoes and chakalaka. While green salads and grilled seafood pair best with Castle Lite, a full-strength beer with a light, crisp taste. Our non-alcoholic alternative Castle Free is a fantastic way to pace yourself while drinking
Scrumptious burgers fit for Champion Men (no matter if they're the meat-filled or veggie kind) and fire-sizzled sausage are best savoured with Carling Black Label. The spicy hoppiness, lightly kilned malted barley and subtle fruity notes of this refreshing dark larger make it the ideal accompaniment for wholesome food and Champion Men who say that there is #NoExcuse for women abuse.
Castle Milk Stout is appreciated for its robust flavours of roasted coffee and decadent butterscotch that goes well with a fillet, T-bone steak and chops. In fact, any braaied meat and roasted foods will do. But it also perfectly complements your dessert – whether it be malva pudding, a braai pie or koeksisters. And why not give the creamy Castle Milk Stout Chocolate a try too? It's a malty milk stout infused with chocolatey goodness. Savour the moment with Castle Milk Stout, ensuring you drink responsibly.
For something with a more refreshing and crisp edge at dessert time, reach for a Redd's Original. This cider is characterised by juicy red apple aromas with a hint of citrus, while Redd's Dry has tart green apple notes that are blended with honey and almonds. Or why not add some flavour with a Flying Fish and its easy-drinking fusion of lemon and green apples. Remember that just like dessert, you can't have too much of a good thing, so drink in moderation.
"No matter how you choose to drink your beer or what food you pair it with, just remember the golden rule of braaing – don't burn the meat… and enjoy yourself responsibly. For all of us," said Lisa.