Soul Barrel Brewing
Simondium Guild R45, Franschhoek, Western Cape, South Africa
Soul Barrel Brewing lies within the old concrete tanks of the former Drakenstein Winery, itself nestled between Franschhoek and Paarl in the Cape Winelands. There, says the blurb, innovative beer is created that aims to elevate South Africa’s beer culture to world-class.
The man behind Soul Barrel Brewing is US expat Nick Smith who most recently, prior to his move to South Africa, was a New Belgium Brewing Co area manager. Before that he was a senior brewer at Abita Brewing Co near New Orleans, Nick’s hometown and the origin of the soul in Soul Barrel.
For a taste of the Soul Barrel you’ll have to make your way out to the Winelands. 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.
Speaking of walls; the beers are well off them. No standard lagers here. Instead you’ll find an easy-drinking Belgian ale, a 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 the mettle of beer adventurers.