Newtown is Joburg's original cultural district, home to The Market Theatre and Museum Africa, and the Newtown Junction shopping precinct. It's an authentic slice of Joburg with its historic industrial architecture, and was once at the heart of Joburg's history as a mining town. In the area's early industrial days Joburg's railway tracks ran straight through Newtown, terminating at the city's main fruit and vegetable market (now home to Museum Africa) and the heritage building which houses the new First 15 Brewhouse was once a brandy distillery that opened directly onto the tracks (glimpses of which you can still see today).
One of South Africa's first fully black African owned craft breweries, the brewmaster duo who founded First 15 –Phumlani Khulu and Kgotso Mokhatle – met at the only English-medium school in the predominantly Afrikaans-speaking town of Vereeniging in the Vaal district (around 53km from Johannesburg). The brewery's name is taken from the title they proudly wore on their rugby jerseys, First 15 (all the other teams were 'Eerste Vyftien').
While they pursue a future in beer the two have not given up their interest in rugby – First 15 is the sponsor of the University of Johannesburg rugby team.
At the First 15 brewhouse Newtown tasting room you can try five different First 15 craft beers – a Lager, the City Light, and a range of flavoured beers such as a fruity lemongrass and ginger-based beer and the intriguing Black Wood, a dark ale with a coffee aftertaste. The bar also serves G&T on tap and has a light pub menu of classic pub food.
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