At the second annual Darling Winter Beer Festival on 1 July 2017, Darling Brew launched their newest beer, Rooibok, a new age lager set to form part of the brewery’s core line of beers.
With Rooibok, a pale amber lager, Darling Brew has taken to showcasing a memorable take on a classic, easy-drinking beer style. The beer has been specially hopped using a dominant hop variety named Ella which originated in Australia. Due to its high level of oils, Ella hops can significantly change a beer’s character depending on its utilisation. When used in high quantities, as is the case with Rooibok, it holds its own against any malt, displaying a decided tropical and citrus aroma. “We have continuously seen a growing demand for our lager styled beers,” says Kevin Wood, owner of Darling Brew. “We will always continue with variability in our seasonal selections, but felt that an addition to our core line, at this stage, needed to be something clean, refreshing and easy drinking – with a twist, of course.”
This is not the first time that Darling Brew has included a hoppy twist to a classic beer style. In 2016 Darling Brew launched Africa’s first carbon neutral beer, Blood Serpent. This export lager utilised the process of dry-hopping with Hallertauer Mittelfrüh. A process of adding in dry hops at a later stage to enhance the beer’s aroma, most common to hoppy beers such as IPA’s and pale ales – not lagers. “We also wanted to consider where the industry in heading,” says Wood. In January 2017, Forbes contributor Tara Nurin called 2017 “the year of the lager”. Why? Because they “provide a comfortable and logical landing for veteran ale drinkers looking to settle into a longer-term, everyday style,” says Nupin “and they build a needed bridge for macro-beer drinkers to enter craft territory and keep sales from starting to sink.”
In keeping with Darling Brew’s ethos of dedicating their beers to endangered, rare or misunderstood animals, Rooibok is inspired by the red-flanked duiker. Considered rare in the context of South Africa, the red-flanked duiker is a small, stocky duiker with upper parts that are a deep chest-nut red. They are mostly confined to the eastern coastal forests in Kwa-Zulu Natal whilst isolated populations occur on the Mpumalanga escarpment. Their biggest threat is over-hunting for the purpose of serving the bushmeat trade. Keeping Rooibok’s aesthetic true to its name and the animal which inspired it, the colour of the beer has distinctive faint red highlights.
Rooibok is also a beer very close to Kevin Wood’s heart. “I decided to dedicate this beer to my late sister,” says Wood, “her nickname was Bok and this beer celebrates her life.” In honour of his sister Kevin Wood and his design team have placed her date of birth and initials in a ‘secret place’ on the bottle, whilst the sunset that can be found in the background of the label represents the setting of her extraordinary life. As far as the tradition of choosing an iconic song to pair with each of our beers for Rooibok “I chose one of Terry’s favourites: ‘Romeo and Juliette’ by the Killers.” Since launching in 2010 with their first beer, Slow Beer, Darling Brew has become known for their slow brewing philosophy and their range of beers which are always consistent in quality. “Rooibok has a slight residual sweetness yet a rounded bitterness” says Rene du Toit, Darling Brew’s brew master, “We believe this is the type of beer that will be memorable to the lager-loving nation that is South Africa.”
Rooibok is now available at Makro stores nationwide.