Party vibe: The Capital Craft Beer Academy is big on ambience and the contemporary beer hall style is superb. Picture: SUPPLIED
Party vibe: The Capital Craft Beer Academy is big on ambience and the contemporary beer hall style is superb. Picture: SUPPLIED

The sensibilities of the four founders who developed the Capital Craft Beer Academy in Pretoria ensured that they hit all the right spots of beer lovers.

The obvious attraction of the experience they offer is the 210 beers on the menu. Brothers Henk and Willie van der Schyf, Johan Auriacombe and Niel Groenewald translated their love of the brew into a business with a craft beer festival in the shade of the Voortrekker Monument. It has since moved to the Pretoria Botanical Gardens.

The success of the fairs encouraged the entrepreneurs to launch the Capital Craft Beer Academy in the Greenlyn area, and another in Centurion. Both are flourishing.

Their food menu, with recent additions, offers food most wouldn’t associate with a beer venue. A vegetarian platter with roast veg and haloumi skewers, grilled corn on the cob, falafel balls, crudité salad, jalapeno poppers served with tzaziki and guacamole is a mere R80.

The brunch section includes the Big Boy with waffles, three rashers of honey-glazed bacon, grilled tomato, seasoned corn medallions, smoked bockwurst and two eggs for R75.

The crafty omelettes, salads and snacks include deep-fried biltong, homemade macaroni balls covered in panko crumbs deep fried and served with jalapeno cheese sauce, pretzels and crunchy chicken livers.

The last word in dining huge is also available: Puff, Puff, Pass, a blazing selection of boerewors, smoked chicken pops, 200g smoked pork ribs and in-house smoked brisket served with chips and onion rings.

For serious carnivores there is a great selection of burgers such as the Chakalaka Burger (R79), with a 200g patty topped with traditional South African spicy vegetable relish on a fresh bun with mayo and baby spinach; or the Mean Green, the usual patty with sun-dried tomato pesto, jalapenos and lashings of basil aioli (R85).

Or you could opt for the ribs, which they promise benefit from the time and effort invested to bring customers the best.

Their desserts include a classic waffle served with chocolate ice cream, chocolate-pistachio truffles or a rock & road ice cream coffee.

Other new items on the menu include a Philly Steak Roll, haloumi fries, pulled pork poppers, home-made pretzels, pork wing, a Fat Frankie and Uncle Porkie, both wrapped in bacon, grilled parmesan corn and marrow. For the health conscious there’s a Pumpkin Patch, which is a clever combo of salads and veggies.

For those who are not serious or regular craft beer consumers, the academy offers an opportunity for a sharp learning curve. They list more than 200 brews and the number keeps growing. For newbies, there’s a tasting kit guided by an informative manager. Customers can ask for a viewing of their on-tap beers and their storage facilities.

They have a small but well-considered selection of wine and extremely good whisky and gin collections. Shooters include house blends such as a Melktertjie or a Beavis and Butthead, craft bomb sport combos such as a Soweto Bomb or Dawson’s Kriek and some serious gin-tasting platters. Beer is the big boss but by no means the only one talking.

At the start of the week the academy can be quiet, but it is packed with a serious party vibe at weekends. Families generally gather there on Sundays.

The service is attentive and helpful. They warn that preparation time is about 45 minutes and keep you informed about the estimated time of arrival.

They’re big on ambience and their contemporary beer hall style is superb. Tables, with a canteen chic look, can be shared easily. Well designed, it all works smoothly.

Even when they’re busy, there’s more than enough space to select a quieter spot.

It is extremely difficult to please all the people, all of the time, yet they seem to have managed that.