Did you know that women were the primary beer brewers hundreds of years ago? And their business success led the men to call them ‘witches’ out of jealousy – and we all know what happened to witches back in the day…

These are just two of the fascinating facts that I learned at a beer and food pairing evening at Brewery on the Beach in Jeffery’s Bay.

Hosted by owner and brewmaster, Ivan Beukes, we sipped and supped on the craft brewery’s best brews from the light ale to the dark and burnt caramel-flavoured stout. We ended off the evening with a fabulously citrus-flavoured gin and home-made tonic.

Beukes began making beer at home, but decided to pursue his passion by opening Brewery on the Beach which he manages together with his wife Elbe. The brewery and on-site restaurant is situated in the old I&J fish processing plant with a fantastic view of the beach. The eclectic décor and seaside setting make for a very inviting and relaxing environment – you’ll want to spend a few hours here!


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According to Beukes, women were the primary brewers back in the 14th century (beer has actually been made as far back as 10 000 years ago!). However, since women were banned from owning property or running a business, they brewed from home using large cauldrons. They hung a broomstick over the doorway to show that they were open for business, and they kept cats to make sure the rodents stayed away… starting to sound familiar? They also had tall hats so that potential customers could spot them on a busy street.

However, it was around about this time that witch trials became popular in Europe and those who feared independent women labelled the brewers ‘witches’ and had them burned at the stake. By 1700, women no longer ruled the beer industry.

These and other fascinating beer facts can be learned on a tour of the Brewery on the Beach, or just through a casual chat with the friendly owner and his family. Jeffrey’s is full of hidden gems, and Brewery on the Beach is one of them.

The simple, value-for-money ‘beachy’ menu includes some updated versions of pub classics including fish & chips, nachos, and their world-famous jalapeno poppers!

And for those who aren’t huge beer fans, there is a range of fruity home-made ciders to enjoy. The granadilla cider is a firm favourite among locals.