After an afternoon dedicated to car repairs and driving circles around a rainy Salt River, we arrived at the Devil's Peak Taproom just after five on a rainy Friday. Stumbling through puddles on the pavement outside, one of the co-owners helpfully guided us to the doorway and the wonders within. Alas, his aid came with an apologetic warning: they were closing the Taproom for a private function at 6 pm. Determined to make the most of the experience, we set about our work and managed to get in a couple of the special, draft-only offers before heading back into the stormy evening.
I must say that however skunky or sublime the beer might have been, the newly opened Taproom is a gorgeous and welcoming space with floor to ceiling windows wrapped around the corner of a building. The giant copper tanks just behind the bar let you know this place is for real, a complement to the repurposed industrial, urban feel. Out the window is a partial mountain view while inside the decor is cultivated Bohemian with hodge podge furniture and junk store knicknacks carefully organised on shelves and cabinets throughout. After a few more months, I suspect the newness will wear off leaving behind an even more comfortable and cozy getaway. Although the customers were almost all white -- what one might expect for Cape Town despite the more colourful street life below -- there was a sprinkling of afrochic making its way in. For those disinclined towards beer, there was a full bar with South African wine and spirits (including a new discovery for me, Inverroche Gin) along with pour-over coffee.
But we didn't come for the look, we came to taste. First up was a a rye IPA, a beer I've seen no where else in South Africa but thoroughly enjoyed in the US. Out of the tap it poured far darker than I expected with a strong, toasted malt taste with great hop taste. It is not for the first time beer drinker, but it was balanced, delicious and well suited to the cool drizzle outside. With 6.2 percent alcohol it also quickly helps take the week's edge off.
Sticking with rye, we tried their Rye Saison, even stronger at 6.5 percent. It came with Belgian tasting yeasts and the a touch of the rye spiciness you might expect. There was inklings of sweetness which were nicely countered with a hint of yeasty funk and a sour touch.
The only thing we didn't fully dig was the English Ale. We only had a taster since we were on the way out, and were immediately put off by what seemed like a scent of puddle water on the nose. Maybe that's a bit harsh but not too far off. In the mouth it had low levels of carbonation and a flat taste. Since we only had a couple of ounces, there wasn't time for it to grow on us. However, I don't suspect there were even roots to sprout. But not to end on a low note, we left carrying a bottle of their barrel aged Saison so this one ain't yet over.