MechChem Africa

On June 27, 2017, Air Products hosted a visit to the Mad Giant microbrewery on 1 Fox Street in central Johannesburg. MechChem Africa’s Peter Middleton takes the tour and talks to Ndumiso Madlala from Ubuntu Kraal Brewery and Mad Giant’s Eben Uys.

Mad Giant Microbrewery Eben Uys Tun and kettlesMad Giant brings together science and an immense love of beer. Eben Uys, the brand’s co-founder, is a graduate chemical engineer from Stellenbosch University who brings a thorough understanding of the process control and a love of experimentation to the art of beermaking. Mad Giant, according to Uys: “is about little guys who are crazy enough to pursue big dreams”.

“We use the ‘one-eyed giant’ as our emblem to remind us that, while experiencing big scary dreams, we must always keep one eye on the prize. And through what we are achieving here, we hope to inspire other people to fight the corporate monster and pursue their own independent dreams,” he says at the beginning of a tour of his microbrewery.

Located in the 1 Fox Precinct, the Mad Giant brewery is a collection of restored warehouses in Johannesburg's historic Ferreirasdorp district. The spectacular downtown craft brewery consists of Mad Giant brewery’s shed, which has a huge retro-style sign on its roof and a spacious beer garden that stretches around the building. Inside, the space has been given a fun makeover with quirky light fittings and unusual Meccano-inspired tables and chairs.

Behind the bar is a giant metallic one-eyed giant sculpture, and there’s also a small shop selling Mad Giant-branded glassware and bottles of beer. The brewery shares space with the Urbanologi restaurant, which is known for its unique Asian-inspired gourmet tapas.

“In principle, making beer is very simple. We take starch, convert it to sugar, convert the sugar to alcohol and then we sell it to people,” Uys says. “The biggest challenge is to make beer that lasts on the shelf. This is where all of the science and difficulty comes in,” he adds.

At its starting point is milling of the malt, which is done outside of the brewery shed. “Malt is our source of starch and we use mostly barley with some wheat malt mixed in. After milling we pass the malt into this mash tun, which is where the starch conversion (to sugar) happens,” he explains, after taking us up onto a gantry above a row of bright stainless steel tanks.

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Contact MechChem Africa

Title: Editor
Name: Peter Middleton
Email: mechchemafrica@crown.co.za or peterm@crown.co.za
Phone: +27 11 622 4770
Fax: +27 11 615 6108

Title: Editor
Name: Glynnis Koch
Email: mechchemafrica@crown.co.za
Phone: +27 11 622 4770
Fax: +27 11 615 6108

Title: Advertising Manager
Name: Brenda Karathanasis
Email: brendak@crown.co.za
Phone: +27 11 622-4770
Fax: +27 11 615-6108

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