Let’s make a toast to National Beer Day

BOTTOMS UP: It’s time to celebrate beer with #SANBeerDay on February 1
BOTTOMS UP: It’s time to celebrate beer with #SANBeerDay on February 1
Image: Supplied

The call has gone out for the country’s beer lovers to unite on February 1 to celebrate SA National Beer Day.

With the hashtag #SANBeerDay it is celebrated annually on the first Saturday in February with big breweries, craft breweries, bars and liquor stores throughout the country hosting all manner of events to celebrate one of SA’s favourite tipples.

Founder and beer writer Lucy Corne initiated the event in 2017 after realising that a cold pint goes down better in SA in February, rather than chilly August, when International Beer Day is celebrated.

“SA National Beer Day is a collection of small-scale events, promotions, pairings, specials and mini festivals — anyone can host an event, whether it’s a full-on party in a brewery or a beer, braai pairing at home with friends,” Corne said.

The brewing community has responded with gusto — the inaugural #SANBeerDay saw more than 50 events and promotions staged across the country in its first year and has gained momentum ever since, with more than 120 last year.

Now, thanks to sponsorship from the Beer Association of SA (Basa), which launched at the end of last year, Corne envisions even bigger and better things.

Basa is chaired by brewer Apiwe Nxusani-Mawela, owner of SA’s first black female majority-owned brewery, Brewsters Craft.

To celebrate SA’s beer culture, Brewsters Craft will, in collaboration with Soul Barrel Brewing’s Nick Smith (chair of the Craft Brewer’s Association), brew a batch of traditional umqombothi which will be aged in French oak for secondary fermentation.

“Beer lovers are invited to Soul Barrel in Franschhoek from 12pm-5pm to witness how traditional African beer is made and hear stories about our fascinating indigenous beer culture,” Nxusani-Mawela said.

Closer to home, Bridge Street Brewery in the Baakens Valley will host an event, as will the Rat & Parrot in Makhanda and Table 58 Brewing in East London.

Those wanting to host a beer day celebration at their local bar or outlet should visit www.beerday.co.za and submit their event so it can be added to the online events map.

South Africans can also visit the site to find a venue close to them that is hosting a celebration or follow #SANBeerDay on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to stay up to date with all the latest events and news.

“#SANBeerDay hopes to encourage more people to gather with friends and to simply enjoy a beer or two, perhaps even trying a style of beer which they are not familiar with.

“It doesn’t matter where you celebrate, or which beer is in your glass when you raise it.  It’s about celebrating one of the world’s oldest, most diverse and most popular drinks,” Corne said.

Visit www.beerday.co.za to check out events happening near you on Saturday February 1 and join the conversation on social media using #SANBeerDay.