Oakes Brewhouse

The first all-girl brewery in SA

Named for the majestic oak trees that dapple the area, as well as a good-natured dig at the male-dominated brewing industry, the ‘sisters’ at Oakes Brewhouse are doing it for themselves. “I try to live up to my name,” says brew master Happy Sekanka, her eyes crinkling as she breaks into a broad smile that reveals a pleasant ‘Madonna’ gap. Happy clocks into the brewery at 4am, tweaking, adding, stirring and murmuring sweet nothings to her tipples, and the brews have responded beautifully to her feminine coaxing. The Easy Blonde (with its grapefruit lift), Oakes Ale (biscuity and caramel notes), Butt Stout (dark chocolate and coffee finish) and Wise Beer (a play on Weiss) are all very glugable.

The historic side of ‘old’ Modderfontein, where the microbrewery is located, is interesting in itself with its time-warped museums, nearby nature reserve, pretty streets and languid pace. And to line the stomach? Bubble bread from Oakes Brewhouses’ sister restaurant, 33 High Street. Chef patron Thea Blom conjures oblong disks of pizza-like bread, piled high with buffalo mozzarella, roasted cherry tomatoes, button mushrooms, aubergines, Kalamata olives, and artichokes, and tops it off with sprigs of thyme. Yum! Special tastings occur regularly, so call ahead to see if there is something on the go. If not, Happy is always eager to talk her customers through an informal tasting.

...the ‘sisters’ at Oakes Brewhouse are doing it for themselves.