It's a popular assertion that university students have a special affinity for barley-based liquid-confidence, but some UCT students have taken their passion to the next level.
Brewing UCT (BUCT), the student society that does what it says, won multiple prizes at the 6th annual SAB Intervarsity Beer Brewing Challenge, which took place shortly before exams. Their rugby-inspired Tri-Nations Indian pale ale (IPA) won the R15 000 first prize in the Miller Best Specialty Beer Category, with the passion-fruit and, "hoppy" IPA impressing the judges with its flavour profile and concept, incorporating hops from South Africa, Australia and New Zealand to embody a legitimate Tri-Nations tribute.
It helps that most of the team are based in UCT's Department of Chemical Engineering; they have a dedicated corner in a lab in the Chemical Engineering Building where beer bubbles all year round. BUCT member, PhD student Brian Willis, says that the team took a "holistic approach" to beer crafting this year, concentrating on novel concepts that would translate into winning recipes and corresponding labels.
BUCT walked away with the second prize in the Cider Category for their locally inspired Granny's Original Recipe Cider. The team paid homage to the Western Cape by crafting the cider from royal gala and golden delicious apple juice from the Elgin region. The team also took home third prize for their German-artisan style Spitze Maibock label.
Despite narrowly trailing this year's overall winning team from TUKS (University of Pretoria), the team are inspired and "already planning their next brews" according to BUCT member, Dr Rob Huddy. Team mate Mark Kerr notes that the opportunity to "showcase our passions and product to fellow beer lovers is a source of great excitement" for all members.
BUCT insist that even better beers are brewing for 2014.
Text: Yusuf Omar. Image: Michael Hammond.
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