A micro-brewery specialising in English style ales and lagers. Based in Napier. The micro-brewery trade is slowly picking up and with festivals like We Love Real Beer finding huge popularity, Napier Brewery envisions this will grow from strength to strength.
Website www.napierbrewery.co.za Mobile 083 703 8004 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Beer is food
Beer is food. Or so says Mark, one of the three founders of Napier Brewery, and beer-lover of note. Mark started making beer when he was just a teenager, inspired by his grandfather who was a hobby-winemaker. He left his UK homeland for South Africa as a young man, on a spontaneous whim with a friend, arriving in Cape Town in 1991. His friend lasted three weeks before returning; Mark made his first visit home seven years later.
As a carpenter, Mark loves making things and reaping the reward of appreciation that comes with that. Beer-making is just an extension of this for him, and nothing makes him happier than seeing people enjoying Napier ales, lagers and winter stouts. He and his two friends and business partners, Craigan and Andrew, conjured up the idea for setting up a micro-brewery in 2007 - appropriately while drinking some beers together on a boy’s night at the local pub in Napier. While Mark has since moved to Greyton, the brewery head quarters are still in Napier, and when we visited, the beer master Richard gave us a tour and a taste.
Mashing and sparging
The full beer-making process takes almost three weeks per batch – from cooking the malt and barley to release the sugars, to fermenting the concoction and then cooling, settling and filtering the beer. Napier Brewery specialises in English style malts, the main ingredient of which is pale malt. Crystal malt, with its sweet toffee-like flavours, is also used, as is chocolate malt - this is brewed to make a winter stout, rich with caramel and vanilla undertones.
The process begins by gently grinding the malts so that the grain breaks open enough to allow the sugars to escape more easily later in the process. This is then placed in a copper tank, known as the mash tun, with hot water and crushed again. The next stage is called sparging and entails the separation of the sugary suspension from the grains through a filtering process which produces a sweet liquid called wort. The hops is then added and the mixture is boiled for just over an hour before being cooled and fermented. A cloudy brew is the result of these processes, and the final step entails filtering this mixture again to produce a fine ale or lager.
From whim to winner
What started on the whim of three friends has developed over the last few years into a nice little business. The micro-brewery trade is slowly picking up and with festivals like We Love Real Beer finding huge popularity, Napier Brewery envisions this will grow from strength to strength. “People love beer”, says Mark. “It’s been around for thousands of years. Beer is food.”
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