The origin of the name
From the earliest times the clip-clop of the local brewery’s dray horses could be heard echoing down the cobblestone streets of great old brewery cities such as Burton upon Trent and Munich. Proud of his team of sturdy shires the Drayman would quietly spur them on, directing them to the next delivery address.
How did it all start?
In 7th grade I had an encounter with fermenting “mielie beer” brewed by Filemon, a rural farm worker who was staying with us on the smallholding where I grew up. I was fascinated by it. Filemon showed me how to malt maize kernels by sprouting it under Hessian bags, then sun drying and crushing it. He also taught me how to make a traditional nutritious drink called “suurpap” (not mageu) which also starts with the fermentation of maize. Very few rural black people still know how to brew this drink. My mother spurred on my newfound interest when she bought me a book written by Anna Olivier, “Maak jou eie wyn tuis”. She might have since regretted that decision!
During subsequent school years, I made delightfully tasting fruit wines, which I aged in the sock drawer of my cupboard! During my 4th year at university, together with two fellow hostel mates, we bought a beer kit which was advertised in the Farmers Weekly. This was my early home brewing years which spanned from 1984 to 1995. During those same years I followed a career as a Bio-kineticist (exercise rehabilitation scientist) and had ample time to pursue my passion for beer and brewing. Eventually I realized that it needed more motivational input for someone to start exercising than to persuade someone to have a beer! In 1996 after tasting my outstanding home craft brews, Tony Halliday appointed me as a brewer to the first brewpub in Pretoria, the Firkin. Being slightly ahead of its time, and being one of the first at making South African craft beer – the brewpub failed and I decided to take the plunge and go on my own.
I started brewing full time in my garage in January 1997 in Villieria, Pretoria, using converted copper geysers for my brewhouse. Malt was stored in the spare bedroom and the car was parked permanently outside the garage! Six months later I moved to our first official premises which was a cowshed on the original farm in Koedoespoort. In January 2000 with the financial help of my father Hymie Kallmeyer and the other investors, I bought an old house in the Silverton industrial area and had it revamped into a fully functional craft brewery. Drayman’s microbrewery specializes in brewing a range of outstanding craft beers equivalent to the finest in the world. The beer is distributed throughout the Gauteng area to upper class restaurants, bars, pubs, taverns and selected bottle stores. Increasing demand for these fine beers will see us cautiously expanding the brewery and distribution network of what has now become a renowned South African Craft Beer. Since the brewery’s inception, our beers have been enjoying increasing popularity amongst beer lovers as an alternative to costly imported styles.
Drayman’s brewery, symbol of purity and craftsmanship
It would have been easy just to recite the historical and the highly romanticized Reinheitsgebot here – however, using good quality malt, hops and water does not ensure quality and flavourful beer with no flaws in the trade. My ultimate goal has always been customer drinking pleasure. I want to brew the best beer I can, utilizing everything that traditional brewing and modern science has to offer. It requires a passionate brewer that has a good palate and a hard working microbrewery team that is constantly guarding against complacency in the brewery.
Each Drayman’s microbrewery craft beer is hand-crafted with pride, skill and dedication. Our brewing process does not utilize pasteurization that will change delicate flavour profiles, but rather ultra-filtration. The result is true, all-natural beer, craft-brewed in the finest old world traditions. A truly great beer has an indefinable quality, reflecting the brewer’s art and his passion. Such a craft-brewed beer might not always be entirely predictable nor liked by the regular beer quaffer, but it makes it exactly suited to the real beer lover who wants his beer to be a constant source of both mystery and pleasure.
Upon writing this and being a brewer now for the last seven years, I am still often frustrated at my inability to improve control of the brewing process and brew even better beer with lower oxygen count, more stability, greater clarity, improved balance and better head retention. The dilemma of the micro brewer is that the cost of modern technology and process control instrumentation is a luxury most can not afford.
On a quest to establish a craft beer culture in South Africa
South Africans have a lot to learn from the world’s most jovial drinkers and their craft beer culture – the Germans. At the first sign of spring the Bavarians will hold a village festival, which is a service of blessing in the meadow, with a beer tent erected in an open field. The priest will thank God for His goodness! The snow has fallen and melted, water has laughed its way down the mountainside to the lakes and brewery wells. The valley is sprouting with clean malting barley, and the hop gardens are dense with vines ready to flower. After the service the priest and nuns sit down to taste the beer from their flock. Most brew houses have a crucifix overlooking the kettles and divine thanks set into the colourful stained-glass windows. In the beer tent the atmosphere is merry. At every Oompah band chorus of Ein Prosit!, the entire community raise their mugs with the words “ hopfen und malz, Gott erhalts” (hops and malt, God preserve them) printed on them, each containing a litre of beer. By the time the verse resumes, another 1000 litres of beer will have been consumed! An amazing example of true craft beer culture.
The Drayman’s journal
Since the Craft Brewery inception in January 1997 until 2007, all the beer brewed at Drayman’s Craft-Brewery was hand mashed only by myself, Moritz Kallmeyer, in the same tiny 600 L mash tun. I chose to do mashing, wort collection and wort kettle operations entirely on my own because of the close relationship that I have with the beer that I brew. In that 10 years I have mashed more than 340 000 kg of malt and brewed more than a million litres of beer; collecting an informal world record for hand mashed brewing. The record is still to be broken…
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To give you an idea of how much malt this is, picture a row of grain silo’s commonly seen in the Free State (South African agricultural province). One of those silos contains 340 tonnes.
My mashing procedure is as follows:
- The pre-crushed malt is stored in buckets (13 x 11kg each). Each bucket is manually lifted from the floor with my left hand and poured into the mash tun containing hot water.
- The malt is stirred in with a wooden mash paddle of the same design as stirring paddles commonly shown on many ancient brewery pictures.
- The mashing regime that was used is an upward step, gas flame heated, infusion mash; with intermittent stirring to avoid scorching on the bottom while heating. Video recordings of mashing show that the mash is stirred on average 30 times (counted as full revolutions) per brew. This equates to about 70 000 hand operated stirring revolutions in the 10 years. The mash frequency was calculated according to brewery records, malt bought, excise tax accounts and sales invoices. It averaged to 4.5 times per week; 10 years are 530 weeks, times 4.5. Thus 2385 mashes were done in 10 years. The frequency was only once interrupted for 6 days when the brewery relocated but was never (neither in sickness or by taking leave) interrupted for longer than those 6 days in the 10 years.
Calculated as total kilograms of malt mashed at 143kg per brew, it is an astounding 340 000 kg malt manually lifted and poured into the mash tun and stirred with a wooden paddle with my own two hands! Using the average of 250grams of malt per litre of beer, this equates to more than a million litres of beer brewed.
A new larger mash tun which allows easier mashing is now in use and our operations has expanded to a number of employees. My hands and my back are thanking me – they have had enough!
I want to thank all my loyal supporters throughout these years for making this possible by drinking all this beer and keeping me in business! I see it as my small part in contributing to the enjoyment and happiness of mankind.
3 January 2007
Drayman’s Microbrewery is first and foremost a venture that will strive to share and expand the spirit of fellowship and enjoyment of great craft beer. We want to cultivate friendships amongst entrepreneurs in small business that share common goals and hardships. We are eager to shake hands – not for the sake of “squeezing out the extra buck” but because we know that the age old principal of business success does apply: “For it is through giving that you will experience true wealth”. Yes! We will be prosperous and have in abundance because the universe was created this way – we vow to remember that we are guardians, but for a short time. We pledge to educate individuals about the art of drinking gently and responsibly, thereby enhancing their health and enjoyment of life. We praise the fact that good beer, like food is a gift from God to be enjoyed – not to be abused by getting drunk.