Craft beer brewing taking Bloemfontein by storm

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CUT received the best label award at SAB Intervarsity Brewing Challenge. From the left are Edrick van der Merwe; Lerato Mogotsi; Dr Nicolaas Luwes (RGEMS); Demitri Matthee, Gareth Gericke, Kate Jones (SAB brewing learning and development coordinator), Dr Hanita Swanepoel (NIPMO Analyst CUT), Cornelius Paul, Dr Jasiu Lewtak (post-doctoral fellow CAFSaB).

Craft beer brewing has taken the local industry by storm and it seems that Bloem brewers are brewing their way through.
It has become a very popular trend in Bloemfontein over the last few years and it seems that the future is bright for serious brewers.
Passionate craft brewers from the Centre for Applied Food Security and Biotechnology at the Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences of the Central University of Technology (CUT) made their debut at the prestigious SAB intervarsity Brewing Challenge and were placed third for their Trappist Speciality Monk’s Ale, which was brewed by Dr Hanita Swanepoel, a post-doctoral research fellow at CUT.
The team runs a small operation, CUT Phehla Brewery. Phehla is derived from one of Mzansi’s urban legend stories. It is known and believed among communities that a Phehla beer is brewed by a woman to ensure that her husband or partner will not have a wandering eye, therefore it is believed that once you’ve tried the craft beer, you won’t want to drink any other beer.
“Beer is an alcoholic beverage, but should be savoured and enjoyed responsibly. My vision is to be able to create a responsible and creative beer culture among our students,” Swanepoel said.
The craft beer is not commercial but is available at the CUT restaurants.
Over the last five years the small scale experimental brewery has steadily grown to the point where it has obtained institutional support to establish the first Brewing and Fermentation School at UFS.
Sixteen tertiary intuitions who took part in the annual SAB Intervarsity Brewing Competition, were requested to prepare a proposal to obtain the brewery for their respective campuses. After an initial shortlisting of three universities, the SAB World of Learning Brewery was awarded to University of the Free State, to be managed by Kovsie Brewing. The primary role of Kovsie Brewing is therefore to establish an accredited fermentation-based curriculum at the University of the Free State to educate under- and postgraduate students in the scientific process involved in the production of beer.
The Free State Fermenters is a beer brewing club where about 50 members get together and taste various craft beers, brew their own beer and learn various aspects regarding the brewing processes.
Bloem has three local breweries, including Kovsie Brewing, whose craft beer can be bought at Chicago Lounge and Bar, The Famous Brew; Still, whose beer can be found at various markets like the Urth Night Market or Volksblad’s Night Market, which takes place at Emoya Estate, and then of course, Stellar Brewery, which is available on tap at Beef and Reef Langenhoven Park, Bella Casa, 59Plenty and Avanti.
The FS Fermenters also support other Free State brewers like Appointment Craft Beer Brewery in Kroonstad.
If you are a craft beer lover, feel free to contact Lawrence Cox at 084-628-1269 to join the FS Fermenters or to simply gain some knowledge.
Save 31 May for The CUT Beer & Food Affair that will take place in the Hotel School Atrium at 18:00. The event will offer the guests an informal five-course ‘journey’ menu where each dish gets complemented with a specific craft beer from Stellar Breweries.

JERETHA OOSTHUIZEN
jeretha@mahareng.co.za