Woodstock, Cape Town’s oldest suburb has had a few facelifts in its time. Once a seaside resort town on Table Bay, Woodstock was prime real estate. A huge land reclamation in the 50’s put an end to that and Beach Road follows where the coast line once was.
As industry increased, working class moved in. Unlike its District 6 neighbour, Woodstock remained a ‘grey’ area through apartheid and avoided becoming a ‘whites only’ suburb.
As Cape Town expanded these industries moved further from the CBD. Warehouses, mills, factories and terrace-houses became available at reasonable prices and gentrification began.
Once The Old Biscuit Mill was sold and the Neighbourgoods Market established, artists, artisans, designers, creators, foodies, distilleries and craft brewers moved in. Let’s take a look at what Woodstock looks like now.
Saturday morning is bedlam here with parking at a premium so if you can avoid it, don’t drive. The Neighbourgoods Market begins at 09:00 and you can pick up your fresh organic fruit and veg, artisan cheeses, fantastic deli goods and more.
Women’s fashion, jewellery and leather goods join potters, painters and printers. Wine stores, cafés and food stalls reside with globally positioned specialist fine dining restaurants, all in the shadow of the majestic Table Mountain.
Woodstock Gin Company on Albert Road distills their Gin on site. Simon Von Witt, recognised for his knack at liqueur making and his passion for the environment, began experimenting with South African botanicals in 2012.
To experience the complexities of Woodstock Gin, a tasting is recommended. Begin with the Inception Grape and beer based Gins. Both are double distilled with flavours added in the 2nd distilling process. Water is from the Albion Spring in Newlands and is believed to produce a cleaner product free of chemicals.
Adding a slice of cucumber and apple to the Inception Grape, rooibos, buchu and citrus notes appear. To the beer based Inception, mint and lemon bring out juniper, citrus and spice. High Tea Gin has a distinct rooibos flavour. Adding orange and rosemary makes this a moreish, complex tipple for any time of day.
Also on Albert Road, you’ll find Woodstock Brewery. Andre Viljoen bought the concrete building, perfect for a brewery, from Korea after checking it out on Google Street View. Now decked out with brewing equipment, a tasting room plus a bar and grill, it’s hard to imagine this building was ready for demolition.
On the tasting board find the 5 brew signatures. Happy Pills, with ABV of 5%, a German Pilsner style brew is straw in colour, has a light to medium bodied mouth feel and a slightly spicy straw aroma. Hazy Daze (ABV: 5% & Belgian Witbier style) is brewed with fresh oranges and crushed coriander seeds producing a light, yet spicy brew perfect on a hot day.
Rythm Stick (ABV: 5% & English Pale Ale style) with biscuit and passion fruit characteristics has a crisp bitterness and medium bodied mouth feel while Californicator is styled on the IPAs of the Pacific North West. Tropical and citrus fruit aromas also linger on the finish of this ABV: 6.5% American IPA.
Pot Belge at 5.5% ABV is named after an old cycling stimulant said to make tough days a little easier. Styled on Belgium Amber Ales, Pot Belge produces toasted caramel, spicy citrus and finishes velvety smooth. If you’re lucky, a Porter may magically appear. Rich in dark bitter chocolate, the Porter is like an old cardi, snug and warm.
Upstairs at Woodstock Brewery, you’ll find the Woodstock Bar and Grill complete with beers and a great selection of South African wines. Kick back on the balcony with a perfectly charred steak, a few reds or your favourite Woodstock brew.
Woodstock is an eclectic food, art, design, and booze lovers paradise. Spend all day or a few hours, just make sure Woodstock is on your Cape Town itinerary. Woodstock, Cape Town: it’s a place we love….