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08 December 2020 | Story Leonie Bolleurs | Photo Supplied
At the BJCP beer judging competition, Dr Errol Cason won Best of Show with his Belgian Saison. Here he is presenting at the AfricaBrew2020 Brewing conference.

Staff and students from the University of the Free State (UFS) once again proved their skills in beer homebrewing when they walked away with one first place and two second places at the 13th annual Anheuser-Busch Inbev (AB-Inbev) – formally South African Breweries (SAB) – intervarsity beer brewing and tasting competition, and the Beer Judging Certification Programme (BJCP) competition held at the AfricaBrew2020 Brewing conference. Both these events took place over the weekend of 27 and 28 November 2020.

Evil Twin Double and Three Sips German 

Competing in the AB-Inbev/SAB Intervarsity brewing and tasting competition, was a group of students from the UFS Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology, consisting of Eduvan Bischoff (PhD student), Elzette van der Walt (MSc student), Culien van der Merwe (MSc student), Gunther Staats (MSc student), and Twyne Skein (MSc student). This team came second in both the Indian Pale Ale (IPA) category with their Evil Twin Double IPA and in the Lager category with their Three Sips German Pils. 

“This is an outstanding accomplishment. Congratulations also go to our fellow Free Stater’s at the Central University of Technology (CUT) for winning the India Pale Ale (IPA) category as well as best overall beer with their New England IPA,” commented Dr Errol Cason, Senior Lecturer in the UFS Department of Animal Science, also representing the liquid yeast company LiquidCulture Yeast.

According to Dr Cason, this SAB-sponsored competition sees students from local universities brew and enter beers for judging, and competing for prizes, including the coveted ‘Best of Show’ trophy. 

“This event also aims to promote beer culture along with responsible drinking, by hosting talks by industry experts where students can interact with commercial brewers, scientists, and marketers,” says Dr Cason. 

The event was hosted by South African Breweries (SAB) and CUT, through the Centre for Applied Food Sustainability and Biotechnology (CAFSaB), in association with the UFS. 

Although the event was moved online in 2020 due to the international pandemic, it did not mean that there was a decline in the quality of presentations, or in the beer entered by universities. – D r Errol Cason

Dr Cason explains that entrants are usually challenged to brew beers according to the 2015 Beer Judge Certification Programme (BJCP) guidelines in lager, IPA, winter warmer, and fruit beer categories. 

“This year included the African Premium Ale and Lockdown Brew categories as well, where teams were mostly left to invent and experiment on their own with a few rules, such as using only indigenous African ingredients or ingredients that were available in supermarkets during lockdown,” says Dr Cason. 

There is also an award for the best bottle dress (label). 

Dr Cason believes that although the event was moved online in 2020 due to the international pandemic, it did not mean that there was a decline in the quality of presentations, or in the beer entered by universities. 

Belgian Saison and Extra Special Bitter

He and Christopher Rothmann, who is busy with a PhD in Biotechnology at the UFS and is co-founder of the company LiquidCulture (LC) Yeast, attended and presented at the AfricaBrew2020 Brewing conference. AfricaBrew is an annual brewing conference specialising in workshops and demonstrations for home and professional brewers. 

Accompanying the conference is a BJCP beer judging competition where all home and professional brewers can enter beers. During this competition, Dr Cason won Best of Show with his Belgian Saison. Rothmann came second with his Extra Special Bitter.

Since LiquidCulture Yeast was found in 2018, this commercial venture has since spun out and are now providing liquid brewing yeast to the homebrewing and commercial brewing industry. Rothmann and Dr Cason are also founding members of the Kovsie Brewery (along with Dr Jan-G Vermeulen and Eduan Hellmuth), which is currently being constructed on the UFS Paradys Experimental Farm facility.

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"Service" needs to return to public service
2010-09-14

At the memorial lecture were, from the left, front: Chris Hendriks, Proff. Liezel Lues, Chris Thornhill and Lyndon du Plessis; middle: Prof. Hendri Kroukamp, Mss Alet Fouche, Lizette Pretorius; and back: Proff. Koos Bekker and Moses Sindane.
– Photo: Stephen Collett.

There is a serious need for the concept of “service” to be reintroduced to the public service. In addition to this, public servants need to behave ethically and honestly if the public service were to achieve its main aim of service delivery to South African citizens and thereby also restore the trust of citizens in the state.

This was the central theme of the JN Boshoff Commemorative Lecture hosted by the Department of Public Administration and Management at the University of the Free State UFS). The lecture by Prof. Chris Thornhill, emeritus professor of Public Administration and Management at the University of Pretoria, focused on “Administrative and Governmental Challenges: Lessons from the Past”. He drew pertinent parallels with the administrative and governmental practices during the times of Pres. JN Boshoff, second president of the Orange Free State in 1855, and the challenges faced in this regard by the current government and public service.

Prof. Thornhill highlighted important aspects such as globalisation, the environment, public service and democratic government in his presentation.
He said the borders between countries have all but vanished and governments therefore have to carefully consider the effects of globalisation on its domestic affairs. The strength of a country’s currency, for example, was not only determined by how that country viewed or perceived it, but also by the international community’s perception of that country’s political and economic stability. This, in turn, could have serious implications for that country’s investment and economic prospects.

Governments are compelled to attend to the utilisation of its natural resources as these resources are finite and therefore irreplaceable. Policy interventions have to be introduced to decrease or regulate the use of certain natural resources or alternative measures need to be introduced. The example of bio-fuel production in various countries was highlighted.

He said the South African public service is characterised by three debilitating factors, namely the prevalence of corruption, the interference of politicians in administrative functions and a lack of appropriate skills and therefore a lack of commitment on the part of officials. In the municipal sector, for example, 46% of municipal managers have less than one year’s experience and this mainly occurs because of the practice of deployment (the appointment of a person based on political affiliation). An amendment to the Local Government: Municipal Systems Act is currently under consideration, in terms of which municipal managers will be disallowed to hold party political positions simultaneously.

According to Prof. Thornhill this is a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done to neutralise the impact of these debilitating factors in order to restore the credibility of the public service.

On democratic government Prof. Thornhill said the fact that the majority of a country’s citizens elect a political party to power does not automatically make the government capable of governing effectively and efficiently. It is therefore important for the rulers to understand their governing role within a democratic context, but more importantly to act accordingly. It is also important not to centralise power unduly as this could be a serious threat to accountable government. The 17th amendment to the Constitution, 1996, currently under consideration, and in terms of which national and provincial government will be allowed to intervene in local government matters, was highlighted as a case in point.

Prof. Thornhill said it was essential for those involved to sincerely and honestly and ethically deal with the above matters for the public service to overcome current challenges.
 

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