Anvil Ale Brewery, Dullstroom
Anvil Ale brewery and pub lies on the edge of Dullstroom if you enter it from the Lydenburg side. If you happen to enter from the Belfast side, make sure you head across town to savour the local beer, where Theo de Beer and his wife Sarie serve up drafts, local fare and numerous generous helpings of boozy cake. Anvil House opened in April 2010 after three years’ of building and alterations to prepare the building Theo handpicked as the site for his new brewery. Having already cut his teeth at Hops Hollow brewery on the Long Tom Pass, Dullstroom is lucky to have Theo at all since his original intention was to emigrate to New Zealand. It was only due to the recent financial slump, that Theo was forced to reconsider his decision. The 1000 litre brewery produces a Blonde Ale, a Pale Ale and a Baltic Porter, which Theo calls his ‘girlie ale’ (women prefer it). By comparison the Blonde Ale tastes most like a lager, and the Pale Ale leaves a more fruity, malty taste in the mouth with a slightly bitter aftertaste. Most of the food is locally sourced (like the German sausage from Nelspruit), and the relishes, mustard and desserts are all made on the premises. You might want to sample either the Boozy cake or chocolate rum cake – both of which have received generous lashings of alcohol during the production process. There is a daily food menu that includes dishes such as smoked trout and scrambled egg, wholesome veggie soup, trout quiche and other delights.
Anvil Ale House specialises in brewing European style ales.
These beers differ from the mainstream South African beers in that:
They are brewed with top fermenting yeasts
The brewers finesse in combining and blending local and imported malts, specific yeast strains and hop varieties produce beers with more aroma and tastes that can vary from fruity, to hoppy to citrusy
They generally have a lower level of carbonation
A more pronounced hop character is sometimes evident milliseconds after the first sip is swallowed
We brew with water sourced from the Sub-Alpine springs located in the Steenkampsberg range to the north of Dullstroom. The beers are unpasteurized and contain no enhancers or unnatural additives. Some of the beers are unfiltered while others may be coarse filtered so as to retain a small percentage of active live yeast.
What we are about
The slow food movement came into being to counter the pressure of the everyday rat race. More and more people want to align themselves with a lifestyle that harks back to hand-crafted produce. In an age of faceless multiple choice systems people thrive when they are able to make contact and speak to the producer of the goods. They want to be reassured that the goods are locally and honestly made resulting in a high quality product that counters the mediocrity of mass produced goods. In line with the above we strive to brew Anvil Ale House beers as artisanal beers in the true sense of the word. No push button “turnkey systems” are employed in the manufacture of our beers, but rather a lot of sweat and physical activity goes into the creation of our “babies”.
We keep a low profile but deliver high on quality.
Styled on a Kolsch that has been brewed in the German town of Colonge since the 17th century. The perfect beer to statisfy the South African taste for a crisp refershing drink. Fermenting the beer at ale temperatures (relatively warm 17-23C) with a wheat-style yeast results in a gentle fruitiness being imparted to the beer. The locally developed hop we use for this beer enhances this by adding a passion fruit aroma. The pure spring water sourced from the sub-alpine springs used in our brewing process is perfect for the delicate nature of this beer.
A copper-to-red coloured English ale, a style originating from the Burton area. The late addition of imported Goldings hops gives this ale an aromatic floral hop character that is combined with mild fruitiness. This premium ale has a lingering spicy hop character on the back of the toungue, balanced by the malty fullness on the front of the palate. This is combined with fruity esters from the English yeast strain. Following English tradition, this beer is fermented at warmer temperatures using top-fermenting yeast and with a lower carbonation level than most mainstream South African beers. Judged as the best pale ale at the 2011 National Home Brewing competition.
Traditionally brewed to quench the thirst of farm workers in Belgium during the hot summer months, this refreshing beer is experiencing a renaissance worldwide. The specific yeast used for this beer, has a peculiarity in that is takes off like a rocket but slows down ¾ through the fermentation. The fermentors have to be heated to unheard of temperatures (25-32C) for a beer to complete the fermentation process. After completion the beer is conditioned hot (25C) for about a week before being released for consumption. A deep inhale will bring out notes of tropical fruit, lime and honey with similar aromas following as you sip. Your first impression might be of sweet beer, but as you savour and swallow a bone dry finish takes over, with a lingering finish of pink grapefruit. A medium bodied beer with a goldish colour tinged with lime green.
The Belgians do not have a regimented approach to brewing, their main criteria being that whatever your imagination leads you to use must ultimately come together to form a unity. We have adapted the centuries-old Belgian style to include the naartjie (tangerine) peel instead of the Curacao orange peel as part of our spice addition. Sourced from a farm that still produces heirloom varieties, the fruit is chosen for the taste of the peel rather than the flesh. It is a lighter wheat style that is so appropriate when the heat of summer descends over Africa. Your nose might identify the aroma as bubblegum or litchi flavoured bubblegum. Spices dominate over hops and the addition of raw unmalted wheat leads to a haze, giving raise to the name “witbier”. A light bodied beer, slightly sweet and tart at the same time, combining the smoothness of oats to make this among the most refreshing and complex beers. If you dry hop your glass of beer with some Buchu leaves, the aroma and taste changes to an uber-refreshing minty/camphor character.
Stouts are of the porter family, but not all stouts are porters. The history of the porter style can be traced back to 1722 and is attributed to Ralph Harwood who introduced it to the hardworking London labourers. Black Anvil is an Oatmeal Stout. The combination of four local and imported malts plus a good dose of oats bestows an intricacy to this beer. Smooth as silk, the easy drinkability of this beer belies the complexity of aromas and tastes. The deep garnet to ruby colour is derived from the dark malts used. As you bring the glass to your mouth, the dried prunes and raisin aromas hint of what is going to follow. Characterised by an underlying roasted coffee, dark chocolaty taste, the fleeting wafer biscuit impression combines with the silkiness of the oats to give a richness of flavor with a medium-sweet palate. The perfect winter beer in front of a crackling fire.