What does Zebonkey mean?

Zebonkey is the liaison between ‘ZEBra’ and ‘dONKEY’. We are a family-owned brewery: Mignonne is the South African ‘zebra’ and Jan is the German ‘donkey’ who moved to South Africa in 2008 and started brewing beer according to the German Reinheitsgebot from 1516.

What is the German Reinheitsgebot?

It is Germany’s oldest law (1516) regulating food products. The law basically says that only water, malted barley and hops may be used for brewing (yeast was only discovered later).

Why do you use swing-top bottles?

Since our German heritage is quite strong, we decided to go for the metric system. Our swing-top bottle contains 500 ml (instead of the common 340, 440 or 750ml court bottles). We promise you, it is much easier to calculate the production volume if you use half litres. We strongly believe in the swing-top bottle, because it can be refilled (deposit bottle). At the end of the day you only have to pay for the beer and the label and NOT for the bottle. We only sell Zebonkey in swing-top bottles to beer lovers who plan to return to our brewery soon. In case you don’t visit Stellenbosch that often we guess you have to live with our Zebonkey in non-refundable 330 ml bottles closed with a standard crown cap. You can be assured that in any packaging (500 ml, 330 ml bottle or keg) the quality of Zebonkey will always be the same!

What makes Zebonkey special?

Besides brewing according to the Reinheitsgebot (e.g. no sugar added!), we import a lot of ingredients (malted barley and hops) from overseas, because we do not want to compromise on our ingredients in order to achieve a better profit margin.

Which is the best Zebonkey of its range?

Honestly we can’t tell! All our beers are like our babies: They develop whilst ageing and for us it is important to match Zebonkey according to the season and/or food.

Is Zebonkey a ‘craft beer’?

For us: No, it is not! We struggle with the definition of craft beer. All our beers are brewed with passion and in small batches. We believe in filtering and/or pasteurizing Zebonkey beer, because we are convinced that the character of our beers will get lost.

Why is Zebonkey brewing?

Simply: because brewing is our passion. Besides that, our main goal is to improve the beer culture in South Africa and by that we mean that we want to increase the amount of specialised beers! There are so many different beers in the world, we are sure there is one for you too. Try to see beer with different eyes, it is not just a commodity, it is a drink produced with passion. So we would be happy if more and more people would treat it that way (e.g. store/handle it properly). Would you leave your special wine bought on a Friday for R20 per bottle in the trunk of your car over a hot summer week end?

Does Zebonkey do sponsoring?

It depends on how you define sponsoring. We believe in partnerships and it depends what you can or want to offer us in return for the Zebonkey (and no: “just” receiving new contacts wouldn’t seal the deal for us). Generally, we do not close business (deals) over the phone or via mail. You are welcome to visit us and explain your concept, or sometimes we might even come to you. We want to get to know our partners personally.

Why does Zebonkey not brew a Lager beer?

So many excellent Lager beers are already available in South Africa at an excellent price-quality-ratio. But try out our seasonal “Pilsner”. It comes close to the style of a Lager (our Pilsner is more hopped/bitter than a Lager, but less bitter than an IPA).

Why does Zebonkey have such a special price?

Because we can’t afford to be cheaper! If we would offer cheaper beers, we would not be able to keep up with our high quality standards! Hey, if you really are a ‘penny pincher’, buy one of our kegs. If you calculate the price down to the litre price you save money (because a keg is filled quicker than any bottle, so less labour costs), but keep in mind that you need to invest in a tap system beforehand and we will obviously charge you a deposit for the keg.

Where can I get the deposit for the Zebonkey swing-top bottle back?

Bottles can only be returned to our brewery during our office hours. We will only pay back deposits for bottles that are intact, with the swing-top closure attached to the bottle. But we tell everyone who buys Zebonkey from us to do so. If you plan to return the bottle, and want to do us a favour, please return the bottle with the closure.

How can I help to create a beer culture?

First of all, try out as many beers as possible (of course not all at once)! Share your passion with your family and friends and discover your own favourite beer styles. Maybe you are as passionate about it as we are, then start to brew your own beer. It is not that difficult: Human mankind have been brewing beer for thousands of years and today you can find a lot of useful information on the magic internet, giving you great advice on how to do so! Start brewing!

What is the shelf life of a Zebonkey?

5 minutes after purchase! No honestly: since our beer is unfiltered it has to be stored properly (if you do not drink it within 5 minutes). This means our Zebonkey bottles like to stand upright in a cool and dark place (fridge would be great). If our bottles are stored in this way, it can easily age well for 6 months and longer. If you do keep it longer than that, the main problem is that it will lose its freshness (carbonisation). This is especially true for the swing-top bottles.

Why should I enjoy Zebonkey from a glass?

If you pour our beers into a glass you can appreciate its colour, its foam stability and its nose (aroma) much better! Would you drink wine out of a bottle?

What is the sediment at the bottom of the Zebonkey bottles?

That is pure taste! Those solids mainly consist of dead yeast which we needed for fermentation. We left it in the bottle (unfiltered), because we believe it gives the beer its unique character and taste. If you don’t like the yeast we recommend pouring the beer gently into a glass. By doing so, you can leave most of the yeast in the bottle. (A German tradition for unfiltered wheat beers is to roll the beer bottle on the table back and forth in order to mix all the remaining yeast and to then pour it in the glass.)

Do Zebonkeys always taste the same?

Luckily not! We stick to our recipes for our beers. But since we carefully select our ingredients at several suppliers, quality varies. The harvest (and therefore the quality) mainly of hops and barley can change from season to season. Furthermore our beers are a “living” product because they are unfiltered; the taste changes with ageing.

What if I am not happy with the Zebonkey I just drank?

Please tell us first (Tel.: +27 (0)21 884 4032)! Your feed-back is important to us! We can only improve if you tell us what you don’t like! If we don’t pick up the phone we will call you back and try to find a solution to make you happy again (e.g. replacing/refunding).

What is the Wolfgang Cup?

The Wolfgang Cup is a beer brewing competition organized by the Cape Town based home brewers club SouthYeasters. Each year home brewers are being asked to brew a certain style of beer (e.g.: Ale, Lager, Pilsner). The beer the judges like most will win the cup. In 2012 we were lucky and won the cup with our “Poseidon”. The name ‘Wolfgang Cup’ comes from one of South Africa’s best brewers: Wolfgang Ködel. He is an active brewer in Paarl and played an important role in our decision to go commercial. Thank you Wolfgang and keep on brewing awesome beers!

What does the braille writing (the dots) on the swing-top bottle labels say?

Well, you could read the question – you are not blind. But we found out that people who can see know many ‘blind’ people! Aren’t we all blind sometimes? Be thankful that you can see well enough and we would be happy if you share our Zebonkey with people who are not so lucky. If your friend struggles to see and he has the talent to read those dots, maybe he will tell you what they mean! BE THANKFUL FOR EVERY DAY AND EVERY ZEBONKEY YOU MAY ENJOY!

Why was my favourite Zebonkey sold out???!!!

Sorry that it was sold out! We brew on a very small scale and it takes at least six weeks before our beers have ripened in our pressure tanks according to our quality standards. We don’t want to rush our beer. Good things take time! Unfortunately this philosophy sometimes leads to the fact that a particular Zebonkey might be sold out.

Why are you brewing in Stellenbosch at DelVera?

We decided on Stellenbosch because our brewer (Jan) studied viticulture; he’s a wine lover (especially if it comes to food and wine)! But, if Jan is thirsty (in particular after wine tasting marathons) he needs a cool Zebonkey to quench his thirst! Stellenbosch has many outstanding wineries but not enough breweries in Jan’s opinion. We decided to brew at DelVera because the quality of the water there is of extraordinary (water is the main ingredient of a beer). All our neighbours at the DelVera farm complex also create a nice vibe there. Come check it out: There are many things to see and to do in Stellenbosch and at DelVera.

Can you teach me to brew beer?

No, we can only show you how we brew Zebonkey. We have an ‘open production’ and we are brewing on a regular basis. If you are interested in watching over our shoulders, please contact us.

Can I buy ingredients for beer brewing at Zebonkey?

Yes! The more people brew beer, the better it is for the world’s beer culture. Please contact us and tell us what you might need.

Who is the team behind Zebonkey?

You are!!! As someone who likes Zebonkey and is sharing it with your family and friends you are the most important contributors to beer culture! Thank you very much! If you want to see the other guys, please come around and visit the rest of the team at the brewery.

Why can’t I buy Zebonkey at the supermarket around my corner?

Shame that is bad news! We only brew little quantities and therefore we can’t deliver everywhere. But more importantly: we don’t deliver anywhere! We want to personally know the owners/operators of the few outlets we deliver to. They need to share the same passion for Zebonkey as we do. If you can recommend any beer freak to us we are of course very happy! But you will make us really happy if you visit us at the brewery and talk to us personally! We are always looking forward to seeing you!

What food shall I eat with my Zebonkey?

Great question! In general we say just experiment and trust your own pallet! Our beers go very well with most food! Some ‘no brainers’ regarding food matching are: fish with our “Poseidon”, braai meat with our “Smokey”… When last did you have Sauerkraut?

What is Zebonkey’s mission?

You, as a friend of Zebonkey, are the biggest asset we have! We try our utmost to satisfy you completely in terms of the service and quality you receive from us. We furthermore treat all our partners with greatest respect, honesty and integrity. We believe in good partnerships and loyalty in order to satisfy everyone. We take great care of our environment: anything that can be done to improve paying closer attention to our environment is our goal. We try hard to work as ‘green’ as possible and we want to improve every day!

What is Zebonkey’s vision?

We want to play a role (no matter how small) in creating awareness for beer culture. We want to satisfy as many people (customers, partners and suppliers) as possible. We are aiming for the best quality and consistency in any field we are involved in.

Why is the sky blue?

We have no idea!!!