Soul Barrel Brewing
Simondium Guild R45, Franschhoek, Western Cape, South Africa
Soul Barrel Brewing is built within the old concrete tanks of the former Drakenstein Winery nestled between Franschhoek and Paarl in the Cape Winelands. There, says the blurb, they create innovative beer, and aim to contribute to making South Africa's beer culture world-class.
The man behind Soul Barrel Brewing, is US expat Nick Smith who, prior to his move to South Africa, was most recently a New Belgium Brewing Co. area manager, and before that a senior brewer at Abita Brewing Co, near New Orleans, Nick's hometown and the the origin of the soul in Soul Barrel.
To sample a taste of the Soul Barrel you'll have to make your way out to the Winelands, as Nick has no intentions to bottle just yet. The funky taproom is a rabbit warren of small spaces, inter-connected by knocked-through openings in the walls of what were previously wine-tanks. Each area is reveals another part of the brewery and makes visiting feel all the more adventurous.
Speak of walls, the beers are well off them too. No standards lagers here. Instead you'll find an easy-drinking Belgian ale, a well-palatable West Coast IPA, another local-is-lekker IPA featuring all South African hops, and last but not yeast, a proper wild beer that tests your mettle as a beer adventurer.