Beerhouse PR Consultant Peter Marx invited me to try the innovative new beer-based BrewFood menu at Beerhouse on Long Street, a feast which my friend Elize Skriker and I shared. Almost every dish and sauce contains beer, with a menu focusing on smoked meat dishes. Prices are very affordable. Not only was it an excellent lunch but it was also a most informative beer lesson!
Our ‘beer navigator’, as the waitstaff at Beerhouse are called, was Aisha, and she was a mine of information about the range of 99 beers, with 25 hand-crafted beers on tap, offered at Beerhouse, as well as the new BrewFood menu. She talked us through the three broad sections of the menu: the BrewSnacks, a range of starters; Beer Buns, a selection of Burgers; and dishes from The Smoker, a selection of meats sold in 100 gram portions. Only one deliciously indulgent dessert is offered.
The BrewFood menu welcomes the patron to the ‘Brew Food Revolution’, stating that Beerhouse has been ‘championing the Beer Revolution in South Africa for years and now it’s time to introduce the country to a
new food movement. Beerhouse’s library of beers has created a unique experience of exploration and discovery. A new era of exploration brings in a fusion of food and beer’. The BrewFood menu was developed by Chef Piet Marais (left), a winner of Ultimate Braai Master, and it incorporates dishes which have been smoked, pickled, fermented, all with beer. Aisha told us that the meat smoker is called ‘Bonita’, after the name of the ex-girlfriend of Head Chef JP Smith, who was ‘full of smoke’, whatever that means! The Kitchen uses Rooikrans in the smoker. Meat prepared in the smoker is charged per 100 gram portions.
Aisha talked us through the hexagonally-shaped beer menu, and a hexagonal wheel presented a segmentation of the beer styles stocked at Beerhouse, being the following:
# Weiss and Wit beers
# Pilsners and Lagers
# Porters (coffee beer, a term I had not heard of before) and Stout
# Indian Pale Ales, referred to as IPA
# Belgian beers, described as strong tasting
# Ciders and non-alcoholic beers.
Beer is served in one of four sizes: 130 ml, 330 ml, 400 ml, and 1 liter. Elize was up for tasting a beer, and as she likes her beers more sweet, Aisha suggested Kopparberg Strawberry and Lime fruit cider.
We spoke to owner Randolf Jorberg (left), and he has huge goals in growing his business, planning to have opened twenty Beerhouses by 2020. He told us that they plan to open in Durban by December, and another Cape Town branch. To finance this expansion he is working with the newly launched crowdfunding agency Uprise Africa. Investors buy equity in start-up businesses, managed via the crowdfunding agency, and they receive dividends, and share in the profit. Randolf told us that the making of beer is based on the food science of fermentation, and the BrewFood menu was created on this principle. We spoke about staff management, and it was enlightening to hear that the ‘beer navigators’ are empowered to deal with all aspects of the client interaction, and that the Manager only is there as a back up if a problem should arise.
Randolf said that they are working on some more pairings to add to the menu. At Beerhouse they would like to expand their patrons’ Beer repertoire, encouraging them to taste new varieties. He described Beerhouse as a ‘365 day a year Beer Festival’, there being so much beer to try. I was very grateful to Randolf for his proactive assistance in recommending an expert to protect my Blog against a hacker who attacked my Blog last year, which had meant that I could not Blog for a month.
Elize and I decided to share some of the dishes, and the BrewSnacks were particularly attractive, being small portions, or so we thought. Cutlery is by St Tropez, a quality brand, and serviettes are paper and thin. A holder of sauces and condiments is made from wire and cleverly decorated with beer bottle tops, reinforcing that one is at Beerhouse.
I loved the pork crackling, R20 for a reasonably-sized portion, and I could not stop eating it until I had finished the whole bowl, loving its crispiness and
The BBQ Bitterballen are made with smoked meat, beer-cheese (an unusual cheese made in-house at Beerhouse), coated in Panko breadcrumbs, and served with a mustard aioli as well as beeracha sauce (made with brine fermented chilis, beer, a special Beerhouse spice blend, and garlic) costing R60.
I am not an onion eater, but Elize ordered the Giant Onion Rings, and they looked amazing, being crispy and beer-battered, served with an amasi-ranch (fermented milk, house-made mayonnaise sauce with chives) dipping sauce. At R30 it is excellent value.
Other Brew Snacks offered are Hot smoked wings (R55); Beerchos, a name created for Beerhouse nachos, served with yellow corn chips, chakalaka sauce, beeracha crema, and beer-cheese (R70); chili poppers (R60); beer fermented flat bread (R65); and pretzels (R55).
As we had ordered a number of Brew Snacks, we decided to skip the Beerhouse Buns section, an offering of Burgers, which are all served with slaw, and amasi ranch ssauce on their custom beer brioche rolls. A patron at a neighboring table had ordered the Beerhouse Burger, with a patty of coarse ground pure beef, beer-cheese, and Brew-pickles (R85), and he allowed me to photograph his Burger. It is prepared medium, unless otherwise specified.
In addition to the Beerhouse Burger, other Burger styles can be ordered, each costing a very reasonable R85: brisket Bun; #Gees Burger; pulled pork; Boerie Roll; and more.
We had ordered a cheese and beer pairing (R99), not realizing how filling the Brew Snacks would be. Based on the concept of a cheese and wine pairing, three Beer types (120ml each) are paired with three cheese varieties: feta was paired with Witbeer, a Darling Bonecrusher, both the cheese and the beer having sour characteristics – I found the beer to have a very light taste; white Cheddar was paired with a lovely caramel and toffee taste Jack Black Lumberjack (what a lovely name) sweeter style beer; mozzarella was paired with Ukhamba IPA, a more bitter beer and lighter in taste. Aisha brought a bowl of Beerhouse Beer-Cheese, made with mozzarella and stout, which are slow cooked, and then refrigerated for 24 hours. It looks liquid when served, but it has a strong consistency.
We tried the BBQ pulled pork (R45 for 100 gram), shredded, which was served with two sauces: Beeracha sauce, as well as a Brew-BQ sauce. With it came a side slaw, with pickled onions and carrots. It is one of the flame-grilled meat options, one also being able to order beer-brined half chicken (R75); beer-brined brisket (R45 for 100 gram); spare ribs (R60 for 250 gram, R98 for 500 gram); and Beerhouse Boerewors (R45). For larger groups of guests one can order a Brew-BQ platter, at R295, with each of the meat types, and served with pap chips, chakakaka sauce, and slaw. Alternatively, one can order the (Gupta-inspired) Saxonwold Shebeen Platter with a 2 liter State Capture IPA, at R173.
With the smoked meat selection one can order sides, and Elize wanted to try the Pap Chips (R30), which are made with Mielie meal and then crumbed and fried, and served with chakakaka sauce, made in-house with beans, tomato, and chili. The chips were amazingly crispy and crunchy.
I ordered a bowl of sweet potato chips (R25), much better for my eating program, and these were the only disappointment of the meal, being soft and not crispy.
The piece de resistance was THE most indulgent dessert I have ever eaten, throwing all weightloss caution to the wind. It is the only dessert on the menu. And quite rightly so, in that it is so spectacular that one must have it, for the toasted marshmallows, a childhood memory, alone. Consultant Chef Piet quickly whipped up two mini versions of the Beer Float for us, having seen the Full Monty of it on a TV screen with photographs of some of the dishes. He described the content of the dish as follows: Castle Milk Stout, Dulce de Leche caramel, a whisky and salt caramel ice cream, chocolate ganache, toasted marshmallows, with whipped cream topped with popping candy. It was an amazing mix of sweet and sour flavors! The standard size Beer Float costs R80.
We had over-ordered, not realizing how generous in size and filling the starters were in particular. We learnt a lot about beer, and its pairing suitability with various meat types, the variety of starters, and interestingly with cheeses! I loved the beer focus in the unique menu design, with a number of unique beer-based sauces as well as dishes offered. The prices are extremely reasonable. Beerhouse is a rising star, an innovative beer outlet selling innovative BrewFood too!
Beerhouse, 223 Long Street, Cape Town. Tel (021)424-3370 www.beerhouse.co.za. Twitter:@Beerhouse Instagram: @beerhouse Facebook: BEERHOUSEonLong. Monday – Sunday 11h00 to 2h00.
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein
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