Capital Craft Beer Festival and Brauhaus am Damm
Brauhaus am Damm, a German South African Brewery:
In the brewing industry, we’ve been able to find every kind of creative craft beer master and alchemist. Brewers that have drafted hundreds of recipes and thousands of experiments, looking for their perfect beer, their perfect craft beer. It’s rare though to find a beer brewed with original European beer recipes, In South Africa, most microbreweries create their craft beers from old processes handed down from their grand fathers and their great grand fathers. Though, when we do find a brewery that hails from it’s German roots, we get all mashy and excited to try something new and something from the original masters of beer, the Germans!
We found such a brewery: Brauhaus Am Damm, born in Germany, housed in Magaliesberg!
Brett was able to have a little chat with brew master: Imke Pape over at Brauhaus for a bit better insight into their original German styled beer and the brewery’s story:
Brett Magill (BM): You guys are German, that’s pretty clear, it’s coming out of everything you guys make and do. A lot of South African’s have familial heritage from Germany and naturally love their German beer! Where did you Brauhaus come from originally, what’s the story there, of your history and the amazing german beer recipe that came with?
Imke Pape (IP): Brauhaus am Damm was originally the “Farmers’ Bräuhaus” in Hattingspruit / Natal. They imported the state of the art SALM Micro Brewery from Vienna Austria and brewed fine German Beer from 1993 till about 2008. Unfortunately the economic climate changed in the Natal region and they had to sell the brewery. A good friend of ours had the idea to buy the brewery and he managed to convince us to be part of his plan.
So we got a group of friends (mainly from Kroondal – a German Community near Rustenburg) and investors together and bought the brewery, dismantled it ourselves and stored it. While dismantling this magnificent piece of equipment I fell in love with the coppers and just knew that I had to be part of this endeavour! I decided to be the brewer for Brauhaus am Damm! After studying the standard works for brewing they use in Germany I flew over to Germany and Austria to get hands on experience in the art of brewing. Meanwhile we decided to build a new building to house the brewery and a restaurant on our farm at the Olifantsnek dam in the Magaliesberg – about 18km from Rustenburg. Finally in November 2011 we were able to open our doors to the public.
We produce 4 standard Beers, except for the Famers’ Draught all the recipes are my own creations:
- Farmers Draught: a Munich Helles, light coloured lager (this recipe came with the brewery)
- Brauhaus Dunkel: a Munich Dunkel, dark lager
- Brauhaus Pils: Pilsner Lager
- Brauhaus Weizen: German wheat beer or Weissbier
BM: How have South African’s reacted to your real German Beer, have they mentioned how it compares to our local lagers?
IP: The South African’s have taken very well to our German Beers. There just is no comparison with the local lagers. Our Beers have a lot of character and body – unlike the “slender” taste of SA mainstream lagers. We brew strictly according to the German Reinheitsgebot (Purity law) that states that we only use 4 ingredients in our beer: Water, Malt, Hops and Yeast. That’s it: no pink stuff! We furthermore do not filter nor pasteurize our beer, that means it is still a living product and therefore good for you!
There just is no comparison with the local lagers.
BM: Though you guys have been in Rustenburg, Olifantsnek Dam area for a quite a while now, it seems like I’ve only seen you sparingly at the recent craft beer festivals, what has made you guys want to get out there and bring the Brauhaus name with?
IP: Beer festivals are a great means of advertising but they are also time consuming. I do all the brewing myself and therefore time is a factor, there are so many festivals organised these days that you have to be picky as to which festivals you go to. However I am very grateful that we have been invited to take part in the Capital Craft Beer Festival and I am looking forward to serve a lot of old and new Brauhaus fans!
BM: I’ve only had your beer once, the SA on Tap Festival was slightly nuts! But for those coming out to try your beer for the first time, what can they expect in it’s character and flavour, from your masterful point of view?
IP: As I touched on already we produce characterful, full bodied beers. A lot of critics tell me that my beers are “too normal” not enough hops etc. but my philosophy is to produce beers that you would like to have another one of, after your first one! Real drinkable beers! Two of my beers have won gold in last years 1st SA National Beer Trophy awards! Brauhaus Dunkle and Brauhaus Weizen.
BM: Now, coming to Capital Craft Beer Festival, one of the largest beer festivals in South Africa, is there anything limited, special or weird that we should keep ourselves for?
IP: Every now and again I brew a speciality beer, for Capital Craft I have made a Märzen: an amber coloured lager that was traditionally brewed for the Oktoberfest, somewhat stronger and with lots of malt character. I’m also bringing a BeerLemon: a shandy from Farmers Draught mixed with natural Lemon Juice, very refreshing and light!
BM: Last thing, is there anything we should know about German beer before we run off to Oktober Fest!?
IP: German beer is natural goodness, go on and enjoy it! No need to run off to the Oktoberfest, you can get it Capital Craft Beer Festival AND at Brauhaus am Damm, all year round! Prost!
Also published on Medium.