• Richmond Hill, an owner-run microbrewery based in Gqeberha has won the title of “Best Beer in Africa” at the 2023 African Beer Cup – the biggest beer competition on the continent. The winning beer, a dark ale aged in Shiraz barrels with raspberries and peaches, grabbed a gold medal and then wowed the best of show judges, beating 231 other beers in the competition.

    Judging took place over three days at the Hotel Verde in Cape Town / Photo: Marla Burger Photography

    “The African Beer Cup has quickly become the most prestigious beer competition in Africa,” says Richmond Hill’s founder and brewer Niall Cook.

    “To have a beer collect an award in the competition is an amazing achievement, however to further walk away with the Best Beer in Africa Award for 2023 is on another level! Everyone at RHBC is on an all-time high. We are extremely proud as a company and are thankful for all our supporters that have driven us to reach these new heights.”

    This is the fourth edition of the competition, which is held annually in Cape Town. This year, 52 judges from 16 different countries joined forces to evaluate 232 beers from 20 different African countries.  A total of 60 medals were awarded at an awards night held on 22 April at Woodstock Brewery in Cape Town.

    The competition gets a thumbs up from renowned US brewer Sam Calagione / Photo: Marla Burger Photography

    The African Beer Cup is unique in that every beer in the competition is judged twice. All judging is blind, with judges knowing the beer style but not the manufacturer or beer name. Beers are judged to the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) guidelines, which focus on stylistic accuracy rather than personal preference. Beers must reach a certain score threshold in order to be considered for a medal, with a maximum of one gold, one silver and one bronze per category.

    Photo: Marla Burger Photography

    The 13 gold medallists went head-to-head in a Best of Show round to determine the Best Beer in Africa. Rather than a trophy, the winner receives a custom painting to celebrate their win. This year’s painting was created by Eastern Cape artist Chanel Louise Gardner, whose work focuses on using upcycled materials – very apt since the painting was unveiled on Earth Day.

    Judges came from around the world to assess the 230 samples / Photo: Marla Burger Photography

    As well as medals and the overall prize, special recognition is awarded to a beer that showcases traditional African ingredients in a beer. The 2023 BASA African Celebration Award, sponsored by the Beer Association of South Africa, was awarded to Soul Barrel Brewing, based in the Cape Winelands, for their African Wild Soul, a collaboration with Tolokazi Beer. The beer is a blend of farmhouse ale and umqombothi (traditional sorghum beer), aged in wine barrels for two years. Soul Barrel, who won the Best Beer in Africa in 2022, specialise in championing local ingredients and brewing traditions in their beers.

    A full list of the 2023 African Beer Cup award winners is available here.

    ALSO SEE: Empact Group celebrates culinary talent with Chefs Showcase

    Empact Group celebrates culinary talent with Chefs Showcase

    Issued by African Beer Cup

    Feature image: Marla Burger Photography