Hip hip for the hops

04 September 2013 - 02:54 By Andrea Nagel
Andrew Martin at the SMACK! Republic Brewing Company micro-brewery in Johannesburg
Andrew Martin at the SMACK! Republic Brewing Company micro-brewery in Johannesburg

SMACK! Republic Brewing Company is an artisan brewing company in the heart of Johannesburg's Maboneng Precinct. It will showcase the taste of authentic Joburg beer at the Joburg Festival of Beer this weekend.

Andrea Nagel spoke to one of the founders, Andrew Martin, about his love of craft beer.

Who is SMACK! Republic Brewing?

It is the only micro-brewery in Joburg's inner city. We're an artisan brewery born from the desire of three beer enthusiasts to create curious flavours and smash boundaries.

Explain the name

The word ''smack" has several meanings. First, it's a slang term for yeast, which is the lifeblood of brewing. Second, ''smack" symbolises the collision between the old city charm of Jozi against the new wave of inspiration and energy of the inner city revival. Last, it represents our fight for the respect of real hand-crafted beer on the streets of Jozi.

What makes your beer special?

To us, beer is an art form. We bring together the world of craft beer and art in our brewing process, our distinctive bottle designs and our gallery space, where we host monthly exhibitions for young and exciting photographers, artists, and musicians.

How did you start?

We started home brewing in the garage years ago, and this hobby turned into a passion, which led to our opening the brewery.

We started to see brewing as an art form where we could express our creativity and ideas through the beers we make. The nuances of beer are fascinating - how a few more grams of hops, or a few degrees change of temperature can produce drastically different results in the finished product.

How long has your brewery been open?

We launched at Arts on Main in March this year.

What makes craft beer different?

Craft beer tells a story: through the unique style of the particular beer - where it is made, how it is made and who has made it.

Why should South Africans be drinking craft beer?

South Africa's commercial market is dominated by lagers and pilsners, so the first step is to forget everything you think you know about beer.

Craft brewers push the boundaries and produce styles of beer that aren't usually experienced by the majority of the public. Ales, weiss, blondes, dunkels, saisons - these are rare styles of beer with flavour, aroma, and personality to discover.

What can one expect from a tasting?

Craft beer must be drunk from a beer glass. Appreciate the colour of the beer and the head. Smell the aroma. Similar to wine or a fine whisky, beer aromas can range from granadilla, litchi and grassy, to coffee, chocolate and caramel. Sip gently and feel the beer slide over the front of your tongue to the back of the palate. Each style accentuates a different aspect of the flavour and aroma profile.

Where can we buy them?

We're open every Sunday from 10am to 4pm, and the first Thursday of every month from 7pm to 11pm. But we'll be expanding our hours towards the end of the year so keep an eye out. You'll soon see us in selected Craft Beer bars across Jozi.

  • See www.smackrepublic.com