Craft beer comes to Franschhoek

The Franschhoek valley is famous for its French cuisine and fine wines, but a craft brewery with Asian owners and a Mexican bent is breaking all the rules.

Franschhoek is about wine. Any tourist knows that. And if your day of meandering through genteel estates ends at a cosy French bistro lifted from the streets of Paris? Well, so much the better. It’s a tried and trusted recipe in this scenic winelands valley an hour’s drive from Cape Town.

But Tuk Tuk Microbrewery is hoping to spice up that recipe a little. Craft breweries are all the rage in Cape Town right now, but this is the first in a valley more famous for its pinot noir than its pale ale.

Part of the acclaimed Leeu Collection, which includes the superb boutique hotels Le Quartier Francaise and Leeu House, Tuk Tuk will soon start turning out its own range of craft beers from a state-of-the-art microbrewery. Beers are brewed using spring water from the nearby Leeu Estates’ mountain spring, local and imported hops and malts and bespoke cultured yeasts.

“The choice of ingredients is the first step to creating exceptional craft beer,” says Dewald Goosen, brewmaster at Tuk Tuk. Goosen started brewing at home, before cutting his teeth amid the tanks of Woodstock Brewery and Cape Brewing Company (CBC).

“Tuk Tuk is a very nice little brewery on steroids, especially when it comes to technological advances and energy savings,” adds Goosen, who plans to release a Lager, Weiss, Dunkel and Pale Ale.

While the Tuk Tuk brews are maturing quietly in their steel tanks, the brewery will be serving up a range of CBC beers; a perfect match for the delicious taco offering.

Yup, there’s no Frenchified food on offer here: the taqueria alongside dishes up beer-friendly Mexican fare. Think spicy tacos, fresh ceviche and cheesy nachos all whipped up by Leeu Estates’ Executive Chef Oliver Cattermole.

Fancy a glass of light Sauvignon? No thanks, make mine a lager…