Cheers to ‘cooking in a bottle’

Brewmaster Shaun Standeaven, of the Standeaven Brewery, drinks a toast to CraftFest. | SHELLEY KJONSTAD Independent Newspapers

Brewmaster Shaun Standeaven, of the Standeaven Brewery, drinks a toast to CraftFest. | SHELLEY KJONSTAD Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 9, 2024


Durban — It’s Father’s Day and a long weekend. Treat dad, and the whole family, to a fun day out at our CraftFest.

Brought to you by the Independent on Saturday and The Shongweni Farmers and Craft Market, the festival is a celebration where you can party in style and meet the makers of artisanal beer, spirits, food, deli-wares and hand-crafted goods.

Held at the Shongweni market site which boasts pristine surroundings overlooking the Ngede waterfall, it promises to be a fun and safe way to let your hair down and make some noise for Youth Day. The festival not only features some of the province’s top brewers and distillers, but many top musicians will entertain you.

There is also an interactive Kid’s Zone which is included in the price of the CraftFest children’s ticket. This means that your children get to ride the Shongweni express train, the Shongweni zipline, enjoy Groovyland fun rides, jump in the Bubble House and have their faces painted, all day for free.

To tempt your taste buds, the Independent on Saturday spoke to Shaun Standeaven of the Standeaven Brewery whose artisan brews will feature at CraftFest.

When we meet him at the brewery in Assagay he’s busy driving a forklift and loading crates of beer onto a truck destined for Zambia. Such is the appeal of craft beer. When he started brewing 12 to 13 years ago, there was little in the way of craft beer here.

He had worked on cruise ships and loved “experiencing different places and cultures, and their beers. SA didn’t have anything like it”.

Back home he initially started baking bread and was producing up to 1 000 loaves a day. Working with yeast as a baker, it wasn’t a far stretch to move to the beers he loved.

He describes beer as “cooking in a bottle”.“I brew what I enjoy and hope others enjoy it,” he says.

“Beer is a social product. Watching people taste your beer for the first time, to see their emotions, to see the lights turning on. I love that response.”

His beers are brewed the traditional way: “It’s not a push-button brewery.”

“It’s old-school German” from the purification of the water to ensure it is chemical free, to the use of real hops flowers imported from Germany. He won’t use hops pellets because it makes the beer taste “grainy”. His yeasts too are imported.

“They say it doesn’t change the flavour, but it does."

He says initially people are reluctant to taste different beers.

“On a hot day I get asked ‘what do you have that tastes like Castle?’ I serve our easy drinking lager and they soon come back. And they soon try other beers.”

One of his favourites is his golden ale: “I love its malty bitterness.”

Indian pale ale and many of the darker brews go through the brewery that produces thousands of litres a month. There’s also options like a Raddler, or a pomegranate cider “when I can get pomegranates from the Cape”.

Standeaven branched out into distilling gin, and does some rum as well.

“It’s a big market and we had to stay ahead of the game with new products.”

A range of bottled premixed gins have also proved successful.

His advice to people contemplating brewing their own beer: “Don’t over complicate things, but take the risk. You never know what you might produce.”

CraftFest is on at the Shongweni Farmers and Craft Market next Sunday, from 10am to 6pm. Tickets adults R180, children over 12 R90, children 4-12 R50 from Quicket. See you there.

Independent on Saturday

Shaun Standeaven with his golden ale in his “old school German” micro brewery. He will be exhibiting at our CraftFest next weekend. | Shelley Kjonstad Independent Newspapers