Craft beer is made by passionate people. And passion drives perfection. When you step into The Maker’s Brew, you soon realise that Craft Beer is not a new hobby to owner, Ryno Reyneke, but a true passion.
Before Ryno moved to Barrydale to open his dream craft brewery he was an established food and décor photographer. He has been commissioned to photograph over 30 food and lifestyle books, including Franschoek Food, Zhoosh and La Petit Ferme, working with some of the top foodies in the country. African Brew is a book exploring the South African craft of beer which Ryno co-authored with Lucy Corne. It is clear that Ryno is a recognised figure in the local craft beer industry.
The Maker’s Brew is situated on the R62 passing through Barrydale, in the building where the Barrydale Hand Weavers used to be. The building received a makeover and the layout and décor reminds you of an article in a décor magazine with stylish interior decoration and high ceiling. Ryno gladly shares the credit for this stylish makeover with his wife Helen Vaughan who is a well renowned ceramic artist. Helen is a textile designer, printmaker, painter, jeweller and potter with her own ceramic studio in Observatory, Cape Town. A small area at The Makers Brew is dedicated to exhibiting some of Helen’s Art.
Craft (noun) – an activity involving skill in making things by hand. What they omit from that definition, is the amount of time and dedication involved in acquiring, mastering and applying such a craft. To be called a “Craft Beer” it needs to be produced in small amounts (microbrewery) and by an independent owner. No mass production or big factories. Such breweries are usually characterised by their emphasis on quality, flavour and unique brewing technique. The Maker's line-up includes an amber ale, a blonde ale, a saison and a porter. Each flavour’s label colour were carefully chosen to resemble a colour in the Tradouw Pass, situated next to Barrydale. You can also enjoy a gin tasting at The Maker's Brew.
My wife and I shared a beer taster tray. The flavours and colours of the 4 beer versions are distinctly different. What makes this experience so much better than a normal tasting is that you have the privilege to ask the brewer himself (Ryno) to explain the differences in taste and colour. Way better than google or a beer-app. While talking to Ryno we enjoyed a snack platter with beer infused hummus, tomato salsa, olives served with corn chips. I shared a pulled pork sourdough sandwich with my boys. While we sat at the beer counter our boys played board games at the big wooden tables enjoying some droëwors and biltong. We rounded off the visit with local coffee (Mojoe) and carrot cake.
We chatted so much with Ryno that we never got to tour the brewery itself.
After listening to Ryno it’s easy to recognise that the most important ingredients in his beer is not grain, hops, yeast and water but love, passion and respect for the craft beer making process. The Maker’s Blend is truly craft in word and deed.