Sampling the Beers of Africa

I traveled to Cape Town, South Africa from March 4-13, for the 2010 International Congress of Actuaries (ICA), which is a worldwide gathering of actuaries held every four years. The 2014 Congress will be held in Washington, DC and my organization is one of the hosts, so I was in Cape Town to encourage delegates to start making plans to attend the next Congress.  I have a lot to write about my trip, but I’ll start with a short post about a three-beer tasting that I held in my hotel room on Wednesday, March 10.

I had some free time after the meeting ended for the day and before dinner, and I needed to get off my feet and relax. But first, I walked over to a local beer and wine store and picked up a few African brews to try in my hotel room:

  • Hansa Marzen Gold, brewed by South African Breweries (SABMiller) in Sandton, South Africa (5.2%).  Green bottle with copper foiling. This was not a traditional German-style Marzen. It had a pale yellow color and malty aroma. Flavor is sweet and watery, with a metallic finish. I don’t think I would buy this one again.
  • Windhoek Lager, brewed by Namibia Breweries in Windhoek, Namibia (4%). Brewed according to the German Purity Law of 1516.  This beer is smooth, refreshing, and drinkable. The best-tasting beer of the three.
  • Castle Lager, brewed by South African Breweries (SABMiller) in Sandton, South Africa (5%). First brewed in 1895 to quench the thirsts of hard-working, hard-drinking prospectors in the midst of the dusty gold-rush boom town that was Johannesburg. Today, Castle is brewed in nine countries and can be found in over 40 countries worldwide.  Big sponsor of the Bafana Bafana football team (South Africa’s national soccer team).

    Drinking my first Castle Lager of the trip (in a Castle beer glass)

Castle may be the Budweiser of South Africa, but I found it to be refreshing and drinkable, and I enjoyed it many times during my stay in Cape Town. From my first lunch upon arrival (at the News Bar on Long Street) to my last dinner in Cape Town (at the Quay Four on the V&A Waterfront), I was drinking Castle, and loving it. I even had a Castle at the airport before catching my flight out of Africa!

There will be more to come from my trip to Cape Town!

2 responses to “Sampling the Beers of Africa

  1. Pingback: Paulaner Bräuhaus Cape Town « Boa Beer Blog·

  2. Pingback: The Run Down of Cape Town « Boa Beer Blog·

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