Beerhouse, in partnership with local craft beer breweries, often host a series of free Beer School sessions where attendees are offered a free beer tasting and discussion session with the respective brewery for that week’s session. Beer School was hosted by Mad Giant three weeks ago (yes, I know it’s late) with their brewer, Eben.

mad giant
[PICTURE COURTESY OF Beerhouse Fourways Facebook page]
The meaning of the name Mad Giant can be broken into two: ‘Mad’ refers to a person and ‘Giant’ refers to a dream; put it together and the name embodies the idea about people pursuing their dreams. The name is represented by a giant with one eye and this symbolises the founder’s take on a dream, i.e. It might be scary, unrealistic and awkward but you should always keep one eye on the prize no matter what. This speaks quite closely to the founder’s own life. He’s always dreamed of making beer so he finally started Mad Giant three years ago, eventually opening up his own brewery in the Johannesburg CBD last year.


1. Guzzler – 4.8% ABV


This is an easy drinking Pilsner. It’s very dark in colour, malty and not as bitter as the usual Pilsners. It’s dry hopped and even though this is more expensive, it does make the beer more enjoyable.

VERDICT: I really enjoyed this one actually. It’s probably that honey and subdued lemon undertones.


2. Electric Light – 4.5% ABV


This is Mad Giant’s Weiss beer, which is also their top selling beer. It’s the lightest beer in terms of alcohol and bitterness. Mad Giant’s Weiss is unfiltered because they believe this not only gives the beer a more creamier texture but also livens it up. Their Weiss is also quite dry compared to others but this makes it more drinkable. It has very light clove and banana aromas, with hints of pineapple more prominent when tasting it.

VERDICT: I don’t really enjoy Weiss beers. I did, however, enjoy the banana aromas. Can you maybe use it to give a twist to a lager?


3. Killer Hop – 5.0% ABV


This is their Pale Ale. It has hints of litchi, grapefruit and is quite sweet since they’ve toned down the bitterness to make it more drinkable for our climate. It also works well in Summer because it’s easily drinkable. Just like their Pilsner it’s also dry hopped.

VERDICT: I didn’t really enjoy. That’s just because I don’t like ales.


4. Urban Legend – 5.5% ABV


Urban Legend is their American Pale Ale (IPA). IPAs are usually more bitter and more hoppy with a high ABV. Theirs is unfiltered so this assists in not ruining the flavour. They specifically use various ‘tricks’ in their brewing process so that it doesn’t taste too bitter and maintains strong hints of banana, florals, citrus and sweetness. Although the usual ABV is 5.5%, the batch we tasted was 6%.

VERDICT: Even though I usually don’t like ales of any kind and found it very fruity, I enjoyed it. Definitely those hints of banana again. Smells great!


5. True Grit – 5.0% ABV


True Grit is Mad Giant’s Amber Ale. It’s an American Amber Ale but it’s not as hoppy. It’s a roasted malt, visible by its colour. It has hints of caramel, chocolate and coffee. The beer’s name is inspired by his dad, who truly embodies the meaning behind having true grit. His dad always dreamed of flying and having his own plane but never had the money to do so. He finally got some plans together and got started on building his own plane. This took 9 years. Once completed the pilot inspected the plane, they took it out for a ‘test drive’ and while they were up in the air the engine died – they had to make an emergency landing and dropped. The injuries left his dad hospitalised for two months. When he got out, he tried version two! The moral of story is follow your dreams and have the balls to try and try again.

VERDICT: Liked this one!



  • IPAs usually don’t sell that well in South Africa. In America, however, it outsells Lagers because it tends to be more fruitier than the IPA’s made in South Africa.  We, unfortunately, can’t make ours as fruity as theirs because the hops needed for that are more expensive since you’re getting it from America.
  • How to taste beer: Swirl, don’t dive in. Lightly swing passed nose. 1 second sniff. Cover glass with one hand and swirl then do two second sniff. Then drink beer and exhale through nose (this is called ‘retro nasal’).
  • A Weiss is referred to as a breakfast beer by Germans.
  • Beer on tap always tastes better and is much more fresher than bottled beer. This is because kegs provide protection and tend to rotate faster than bottles. Beer in kegs also doesn’t get any direct sunlight so its temperature fluctuation is slower, especially with hoppy beers. Darker beers do, however, taste better in bottles.
  • All Mad Giant’s beers are dry hopped except for their Weiss. Some beers are more dry hopped than others.
  • When a beer is dark in colour this means it’s made from roasted malt. Darker beers sell well in winter and are also more fitting for winters too.
  • Don’t eat, smoke or wash your hands before tasting beer .
  • ‘Pilsner’ is said to originate from town called Pilsen.


Have you attended Beerhouse’s Beer School before? Did you attended this session? What are your thoughts on it? Let me know!

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