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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.

News Archive

Double achievement for Prof. Paul Grobler
2012-04-25

 

Prof. Paul Grobler
Photo: Supplied
25 April 2012

Early this year, two journal editions appearing almost simultaneously in Europe featured cover photographs based on papers by Prof. Paul Grobler of the Department of Genetics and his collaborators.

These papers stem from collaborations with Prof. Gunther Hartl at the University of Kiel (Germany) and Dr Frank Zachos from the Natural History Museum in Vienna (Austria). Both papers cover aspects of the genetics of southern African antelope species.
 
The first paper appeared in the Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research” (from the Wiley-Blackwell group). This was titled “Genetic structure of the common impala (Aepyceros melampus melampus) in South Africa: phylogeography and implications for conservation”.
 
In this paper, the team analysed impala from various localities in South Africa to determine the relationship between distribution and genetic structure. The results suggest a clear relationship between genetic characteristics and habitat features that regulate gene flow.
 
The second appeared in the journal Mammalian Biology (from the Elsevier group), with the title “Genetic analysis of southern African gemsbok (Oryx gazella), reveals high variability, distinct lineages and strong divergence from the East African Oryx beisa”.
 
Here, the researchers looked at various aspects of the genetics and classification of gemsbok. Among the notable findings is that gemsbok populations on the game farms studied are less inbred than previously predicted.
 
Proffs. Grobler and Hartl initiated these projects on gemsbok and impala, with sub-sections of the research later completed as M.Sc. projects by students from both South Africa and Germany.
 
Prof. Grobler has been involved with aspects of the population genetics of various mammal species since the early 1990s, and continued with this line of research after joining the UFS in 2006. Current projects in this field include work on wildebeest, vervet monkeys and white rhinoceroses.

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