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Faculty of Natural & Agricultural Sciences

Phuza [Drink] Scientific: The Science of African Beer

By Irene van Nugteren

Posted on 25 April 2008

AFRICAN TASTE: Prof Taylor with members of the audience
AFRICAN TASTE: Prof Taylor with members of the audience

The Sci-Enza Science centre presented the first science café for 2008 at the Coffee Buzz shop located at the University of Pretoria's main campus towards the end of April. Two prominent guest speakers rendered enlightening talks which were concerned with traditional African beer.

Self proclaimed “bit of an expert on traditional beer”, Prof John Taylor from the Department of Food Sciences at the University of Pretoria and Andrew Downes a beer brewer and plant manager at SABmiller were the speakers. Prof Taylor captivated the audience with his overview of the science that goes into brewing traditional beer. He used stories to contextualize his talk and even presented the audience with sorghum beer to taste.

Downes gave a brief overview of SABMiller’s involvement in the sorghum beer industry and used the example of Eagle sorghum lager.  The audience was given the opportunity to ask questions, raise issues to be addressed by the experts and to get closely acquainted with African beers. Science cafés are becoming a popular tool to address and discuss important scientific issues in an informal setting. Sci-Enza plans to facilitate more similar events during the rest of the year.

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