Beer tasting at SAB Newlands

Newlands brewery Logo

I recently went on a brewery tour and beer tasting at Newlands Brewery. 🙂 Haha I even received a little certificate after the tour.


In 1820 Jacob Letterstedt founded the Mariendahl brewery.

In 1889 Ohlsson’s Cape Breweries Limited was registered on the stock exchange.

In 1895 Charles Glass founded Castle breweries in JHB. Two years later he registers the company, South African Breweries on the Johannesburg stock exchange, making it the first industrial company to be listed.

In 1896 Ohlsson bought the Mariendahl Brewery from Lydia Letterstedt. He also acquired the Josephine Mill and the Albion ice factory as part of the deal.

In 1900 Castle breweries opened in Woodstock.

In 1956 Ohlsson merged with South African Breweries. Castle breweries closed and production was moved to Newlands.

And that’s how The Mariendahl Brewery became a part of SAB. 🙂

Beer Tasting

There are many similarities between a beer tasting and a wine tasting. In my experience the main difference is the people. The noise levels where a bit higher and the atmosphere more relaxed and laid back.

Beer tasting at SAB Newlands

The steps of tasting Beer

LOOK: Hold your glass up to a light. Consider the beer’s appearance and note the color, foam and clarity.
Clarity: Sparkling bright – dull – cloudy
Foam: Creamy, small bubbles – large bubbles, open texture, amount of lacing or cling of foam to glass
Color: Black – dark brown – amber – gold – yellow –straw

SMELL: Next smell the beer. Can you smell any aromas?
Hold your hand over the top of the beer glass and swish the beer around in the glass. Smell the beer again. You will be able to experience more intense aromas when using this technique.
What aromas are you smelling?
Consider the beer’s aroma; describe the character of the aroma and its intensity.
Character: fruity – hoppy – malty
Intensity: low – medium – high

TASTE: Next taste the beer; take a good sip and ensure it covers all areas of the mouth.
Character: fruity – malty – bitter – hoppy – alcoholic
Intensity: low – medium – high
Consider the beer’s taste, mouth feel and aftertaste and mark the character and intensity.
Mouth feel character: carbonation – body – astringency
Mouth feel intensity: low – medium – high
Aftertaste character: Bitter
Aftertaste intensity: short – long

Between samples, cleanse palate well with water or bread.

Rate The Beer

The following exemplifies a 100-point rating scale.

Appearance 0 – 20 points
Head (foam)

Aroma 0 – 20 points

Taste 0 – 40 points
Bitterness to sweetness balance 0 – 10 points
Mouth feel 0 –10 points
Body 0 – 10 points
Aftertaste 0 –10 points

Overall 0 – 20 points
Match to style
Pleasure you have derived

And then…. ENJOY!

You bet your fizzy light lager I'm a Beer Snob

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