Tipplers can add a whole range of craft beers and ales that are brewed right here in Gabs to the list of their palatable delights with which to indulge their concepts of relaxation. GOSEGO MOTSUMI reports
After they quietly commenced operations in 2017, Botswana’s first craft beer producers, Big Sip Co, officially launched their state-of-the-art micro brewery in Gaborone last week. Since 2017, the company has been pushing to create a market for their craft beers locally to complement the expanding cultural diversity of the Botswana capital with their products that have found new homes in bars and cafes and are fast becoming the toast of festivals and other events around the country.
The aim, the brewers say, is to also educate consumers about craft beers and how they differ from mass produced beer. Plans are afoot to export the local brew to other countries in the near future.
Jan Debuhr, who is the head brewer and director of Big Sip Co, has been brewing for more than six years. Having previously studied science, he has the right skills to mix ingredients to come up with the finest brew. Debuhr started brewing in his mother’s kitchen and eventually moved to their new brewery at Gabororone’s Block 3 Industrial. “We bought our equipment in China in April 2018,” he says. “We travelled to see what we wanted and were blown away by the variety offered. We selected the equipment we needed and it arrived on the 27th of October last year and we commissioned it on the 10th of December.”
The company wants to add other beverages to their craft beers because they have a variety of ideas to explore. So far The Big Sip Co has six brews in their range but they currently have the Golden Ale, Kölsch, Mandarina American Pale Ale (APA) and Citrillo Indian Pale Ale (IPA). The Madarina APA is a modern ale based on a variety of new hops, giving it a distinctive flavour of tangerine and citrus fruit with the slightest bitterness. The Mandarina is best paired with nachos, buffalo wings and sticky ribs.
As for the Kolsch, this is a German styled beer brewed using special hops to give it a spicy, yet dry character and it is best paired with meatballs and coleslaw. The Citrillo APA has strong notes of citrus and passion fruit accompanied by a sharp bitterness and is best paired with spicy curries, burgers and braai meats. The Golden Ale is the smoothest beer, is well rounded and contains notes of passion fruit and citrus, making it a refreshing brew all year round. This one is best paired with pizza and fried chicken.
The company’s other director, Alexander Moss, said they have received an incredibly positive response to their craft beers over the past 12 months and that the market continues to grow. “When I first tried the Big Sip, I didn’t take a big sip because it was a home brew,” said Moss. “I hesitated to try the brew. So I took a six-pack back home from Jan’s house and later that night I tasted it and it was actually good beer. We then hatched a plan to take the good beer to the people and started the process of building the Big Sip Co. This has been an incredibly enjoyable experience and we are glad to see people embracing the beers.”