Review: Hog House evening

Ndabeni. Not a place I’d normally go to for a beer. Beer supplies from Beer lab maybe, but not a beer. So it was with curiosity that I arrived at Hog House, the new smokehouse and microbrewery that will open its doors here soon.

Felicity Jacobs and Dean Vickers were performing when I got there, after which Gerald Clark and Sven Blummer took the stage. It was the perfect kind of music to complement the evening’s festivities.  It was also nice to see so many familiar faces and meet some new people.

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So firstly, the beers. They had 3 beers available. An African Pale Ale, an Amber Ale and an IPA. The first two were my favourite. The APA was crisp and refreshing and well balanced between fruitiness and bitterness and with a reasonably low ABV of 4.7%, it was a perfect way to prepare my palate for the other beers. The amber ale was slightly more bitter but slightly lower in ABV (4.5%), but with a rich caramel maltiness and deep ruby colour. I found myself going back to that one the most. The IPA needs a bit of tweaking (which they promised me they’ve already done), but wasn’t bad at all. It still had a solid malt backbone to support the lingering bitterness. It was some of the best local craft beer that I’ve tasted in awhile. What was nice is that they had juice and water for those of us that were driving, which I appreciated a lot.

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And then the food. Slow smoked in the beast of a smoker that you see in the pictures. But not just anyone is running that monster. PJ Vadas, who previously ran kitchens at some of the best restaurants in Cape Town (Roundhouse and Vergelegen among them), has now moved on and I’m delighted to say he’s brought his passion and energy to the table with his smoked offerings at the Hog House. For starters we had chicken wings and white barbeque sauce. They were far less fatty than most chicken wings I’ve had due to the fact that they’re slow smoked and the fat is allowed to drip off. Mains was 14 hour slow smoked brisket on a sesame seed bun, with pulled pork and beans on the side. It’s hard to describe how much I enjoyed this. Crispy and smokey on the outside, soft, tender and juicy on the inside. It’s one of the greatest pieces of meat I’ve had the pleasure of ingesting. After that I had fantastic coffees from Tribe, which was a great way to end off the evening.

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They have a bit of work to do still (DIY wise) but I’m looking forward to when they open. For all the homebrewers out there, it’s a short walk to Beerlab, so you can get your beer supplies, then pop down for a beer. You’ll probably see me there.

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