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Cheers, I’ll drink to that

Liesl Frankson
August12/ 2013
The science of thirst: Antony Higginson, associate lecturer at the School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, heads up Wits’s micro brewery. The team recently brought a 9 000-year old beer recipe to life.  Photo: Mfuneko Toyana
The science of thirst: Antony Higginson, associate lecturer at the School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, heads up Wits’s micro brewery. The team recently brought a 9 000-year old beer recipe to life.
Photo: Mfuneko Toyana

WITS  is not only known for brewing unrest. Students have been practising a different kind of brewing in the run-up to the SAB intervarsity brewing contest, producing lager, ale and cider – as well as a beer from a 9 000-year-old Chinese recipe.

Brewed from an ancient Chinese recipe, the beer was available for a small taste test during last week’s National Science Week. Ingredients include rice, honey, berries and a small amount of malt. The beer is light, slightly fruity and not quite as bitter as normal beer. This is because there are no hops in it.

The recipe was provided by Brenda Cohen from the Evolutionary Studies Institute.

The students teamed up with Anthony Higginson from the School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering to produce the competing beers. Wits will enter all three categories of the competition, but the Chinese beer will not be entered, since it does not qualify as a lager, ale or cider.

The students involved in the beer brewing are postgraduates and undergraduates from process engineering and biochemistry, with an interest in beer and research.

Higginson said the campus microbrewery was mainly used for research and for giving students exposure to brewing.  The project provided a great incentive. [pullquote align=”right”]”Students can experience the product afterwards, unlike if they were just creating some other liquid or material.”[/pullquote]

There has been an explosion of craft breweries and home brewing as a hobby, according to Higginson.  Craft beer can now be enjoyed at Arts on Main and at inner city markets.

This year the SAB intervarsity beer brewing challenge will take place from August 30 to the 31 at the SAB Training Institute in Kyalami.

Part of the competition involves producing label ideas and names.  In previous years, students have used the name Kudu Beer, and the label has included the famous Wits kudu.

Witsies already have their beers prepared for the competition and are hoping for a first place
this year.

@Qwerty_QT24

Additional Resources

Wits Vuvuzela July 27 2012: Distilling a winner

Wits Vuvuzela August 26 2011: Bottoms up for Kudu beer

National Geographic News July 18 2005: 9 000-year old beer re-created from Chinese recipe

Liesl Frankson

Mail liesl@witsvuvuzela.com