There’s no avoiding craft beer in Cape Town. It seemed to blow in on the selfsame wind that brought the city lumberjack shirts, excessive facial hair, antler tattoos and the return of the vinyl LP. However, the former happens to be enjoyed by all and has birthed one of the coolest professions on the beverage block – the micro brewery. Couple this with one of the most characterful small towns along the Cape West Coast and you have the recipe for a good time!
Situated in the town of the selfsame name, DARLING BREW originally hailed from the city centre only to return to their roots with gusto, carving out a niche for themselves alongside the Evita’s and orchids famous to this place. A dirt road (because they always seem to lead to the best adventures) ending in a sprawling charcoal-hued factory, veritably covered in the stark branding Darling Brew has become synonymous with, greets visitors. Industrial chic aluminium windows, reclaimed wooden floors and heavy 20-seater tables makes the restaurant itself feel like some kind of contemporary banquet hall – there is of course much camaraderie in the drinking of beer, and Darling Brew have encouraged that. And what with names such as Bonecrusher, Rogue Pony, Sun Gazer and Gypsy Mask, discussions on the merits of each are quick to arise. Overlooking the brewery with it’s forest of shining stainless steel silos can also inspire one to choose from the vast array of craft beer on offer and get down to tasting with serious intent.
Then there’s the food. Easily (and obviously) my favourite part, the menu is concise but deliciously executed. Expect guy-friendly and generously-sized beef burgers, ‘brew-a-wors’ rolls and braai platters, which are satisfyingly artisanal enough to not feel like you’re eating at a rugby match at Ellis Park Stadium in 1998. For those more inclined to wine and nibble, there is the Cheese & Charcuterie platter – laden high with local fare from surrounding farms and featuring homemade curried pickles, caramelised onions and creamy yellow butter, it is the bread that takes centre stage. Baked nearby, it’s sharp yeasty sourdough flavour goes perfectly with the soft cheeses and salty coppa ham while the woodfired crust simply begs for lashings of butter. Note that nearly all of the items on the menu arrive either alongside or encased in this miracle loaf, so there’s no missing out! If it’s something spicy you’re after, the Mozambican-inspired Chicken Wings paired with a refreshing weissbier like the Bonecrusher or my personal favourite, a glass of GROOTE POST‘s crisp sauvignon blanc, is a wonderful thing to immerse oneself in on a Saturday afternoon.
If I had to mention the most singularly impressive detail about Darling Brew, it would be their emphasis on excellence, but in the most unassuming way. The food is tasty and beautifully plated on rustic wooden boards, the atmosphere is jovial and relaxed with none of the superficial mien found closer to the city and the staff is helpful, friendly and more than willing to go the extra mile to make sure that you’re catered for. It’s this West Coast hospitality that will ensure I’m a repeat visitor whenever I get the chance to hit the R27 out of Cape Town with a few good friends and a free afternoon stretching ahead.
Find Darling Brew on Twitter and Instagram at @DarlingBrew
021 289 1099
48 Caledon St, Darling