The annual Anheuser-Busch Inbev (AB-Inbev), formally South African Breweries (SAB), intervarsity beer brewing and tasting competition were held on the weekend of 23 to 25 August in Bloemfontein. The competition was held jointly by the Central University of Technology (CUT) and the University of the Free State, with CUT being the host university. The Stellenbosch University team were made up of Food Science (Sebastian Orth and Ivan Harris), Microbiology (Ludwig Bröcker) and Polymer Science (Gestél Kuyler) students.
This year 14 South African universities took part in the competition, each submitting four beers which were brewed according to the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) standards for each beer style. Beer style categories included, winter warmer, Indian Pale Ale (IPA), lager and a completely new style, African premium lager. This one was included to test the initiative and creativity of all participants in the competition.
Stellenbosch University set out to brew three of the four classes, these being; Imperial Indian Pale ale, Belgian triple and the new premium African lager. With a little luck, excellent teamwork and a lot of preemptive tasting, sipping and discussing, the beers were brewed, fermented, kegged and finally bottled. With no time to spare, the beers were sent off to Bloemfontein on an early morning flight.
Arrival in Bloemfontein saw to be an educational experience, and a meet and greet over a few beers promptly took place. After meeting students from the competing universities, a series of lectures commenced all focusing on beer brewing principles and applications – an excellent learning experience. The evening commenced and each university introduced their team and brewery. Some 'beer-inspired' presentations seemed to kick-off the spirit for the SU BREW CREW. This culminated in fantastic discussions with the main organiser Mr Anton Erasmus, brew master extraordinaire, and the other brewers that were present at the event.
The next day judging started at 9 am and for the students more lectures and learning about beer and beer making were included in the program. The evening saw the start of the prize giving, with tensions running high and all participants seeking brewing greatness and fame. Finally, Stellenbosch University won the prizes for best African premium lager and best beer at the show (also the African premium lager). Setting the benchmark for a completely new style of beer to be potentially brewed worldwide. With a lot of hard work, severe brainstorming and the use of some unique South African ingredients we pulled it off. In the end, it was worth the effort and the taste of victory was sweet indeed.
It was an honor to represent Stellenbosch University at the competition, which we previously won in 2009. It was a great feeling to be able to return the trophy to where it belongs, and to win some other prizes and money destined to improve our brewery.
With great thanks to the organisers, AB-Inbev, CUT and the University of the Free State.
(Sebastian Orth – on behalf of the Stellenbosch University brewing team)
Cover photo: Stellenbosch University team members with the prizes, from left to right:
Sebastian Orth, Ivan Harris, Ludwig Bröcker and Gestél Kuyler