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Wits crowned 2017 SAB Intervarsity Beer Brewing Challenge champions

SAB brewing, learning and development coordinator Kate Jones (right) and the ecstatic winners with their trophy and prize, a R25 000 cheque.

SAB brewing, learning and development coordinator Kate Jones (right) and the ecstatic winners with their trophy and prize, a R25 000 cheque. (Image: SAB )

The University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) walked away as the overall winner of the 10th annual SAB Beer Brewing Challenge on Saturday 2 September 2017.

Microbrewing teams from 16 top tertiary institutions across the country went up against each other in the final round of the competition at the SAB's Cyril Ramaphosa World of Learning in Kyalami in a bid to win the sought-after accolade of best beer-brewing students.

"South Africa's tertiary student fraternity is at the cutting edge of experimentation and development within the beverage sector, leading to a good fit as adopters of craft and beer," says SAB trade brewer Anton Erasmus.

"They also play an important part in our drive to build a strong culture and passion for beer in our country, as has been established in other parts of the world.

"Providing students with the expert knowledge and skills in beer brewing by means of the SAB Intervarsity Beer Brewing Challenge will ensure that quality is never compromised and that South African craft beer products compete with the very best in the world," says Erasmus.

The University of the Witwatersrand's Big Petr Pils, a lager, claimed the top honour of the Castle Lager Best Bru award, as well as the Carling Black Label Best Lager award.

An independent panel of expert industry judges noted that the team's winning entry was "a very drinkable style for South Africa's warm weather conditions".

According to the judges, the beer was well balanced with the right amount of hops being used. Wits also used good brewing procedures for a style of beer that requires precision of brewing technique.

SAB has over the years assisted universities in building the infrastructure of their microbreweries, where students brew, ferment, condition and package their beers prior to the final stages of the competition, when they are tasted by independent and accredited craft beer tasters.

The other award categories and winners are:

  • Redd's Best Cider: Cape Peninsula University of Technology's Apple Adventure Cider
  • No 3 Fransen Street Best Speciality Beer: University of Pretoria's Cloudy with a Chance of Ginger
  • Castle Milk Stout Winter Warmer: University of Johannesburg's British Strong Ale
  • SAB Best Label Design: Central University of Technology, Free State's Yet Another Lemon Tree

The SAB World of Beer sponsored the R10 000 prize money for the Best Spirit Award, which went to the University of the Free State. 

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