Q&A With Mad Giant Master Brewer, Eben Uys

We caught up with the Ferreirasdorp based brewery’s master brewer, Eben Uys. It should be said that Eben is not the Mad Giant but the Mad Giant is Eben. Here’s the conversation. What’s the best hangover cure out there? ​Drink water between drinks, drink Panado and a glass of water before you go to bed […]

We caught up with the Ferreirasdorp based brewery’s master brewer, Eben Uys. It should be said that Eben is not the Mad Giant but the Mad Giant is Eben. Here’s the conversation.

What’s the best hangover cure out there?

Drink water between drinks, drink Panado and a glass of water before you go to bed after a night out.​

You studied chemical Engineering. What lead to that?

While in high school I did some vac work in a cheese factory. The process intrigued me. I love tinkering and wanted to study something really difficult in the hopes that it will result in a good pay day.​

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from your years of brewing good beer?

​ You will never know everything about beer​.

Looking at all of Mad Giant’s creations in the past, which one are you the most proud of?

​Killer Hop is such a beautiful beer and took a long time to refine to what it is today.​

We heard there was a bit of a collaboration going on between Mad Giant and another famous brewery in the Western Cape. Can you tell us a bit about that?

​ Yes, we just launched it. I met Rory via a phone call about a year and a half ago. Then decided to visit and I like the way he goes about brewing and talking beer. End of last year some tweets went around asking when will Mad Giant and Aegir Project do a collab brew. That was enough reason for us to start planning it. It is a big beer, 7% abv, beautiful crisp bitterness and loads of hop flavour and aroma. We will also have some on keg at our next bottomless beer – the collab edition, since 14 April at the brewery. For more info on where to get some, have a look at our Facebook page.​

​​What goes into putting a beer recipe together?
It starts with the style of beer you have in mind. Then some research on who is making the best representation of that style. I generally want something to be the signature of the beer, could be malt or hop forward, sessionable or memorable. For big, hoppy beers I would do some experimentation to determine which hops work the best. Lastly a lot of it is instinct, some guessing and when we brew the first batch, its holding thumbs and hugging tanks. Once fermentation is completed there is not much you can do.  

The Mad Giant is in partnership with the international award winning restaurant Urbanologi. What’s a great food and beer pairing people should be ordering when they visit your space?

The menu make suggestions for beer pairings. So anyone can explore their fantastic little plates with our beers. This is part of the Mad Science with Urbanologi that we have once a month. Every month there is a new theme (we had bakers, farmers, brewer, etc).

In your opinion, what’s the difference between craft and commercial beer?  And why should people be drinking craft instead?

A craft brewery is owned by individuals who are involved in the brewery on a daily basis. Generally craft beers have more flavour than commercial beers who are brewed for consumption and profits only. The best place to start your venture into craft beer is by visiting the brewery and tasting the beers. Once you had great craft beer it is hard to to go back to commercial.​

The Mad Giant’s slogan is “dare to conquer”. Besides creating a solid line of beers, what else has the Mad Giant overcome and what’s left to overcome?

Starting is the hardest part. There are so many things I never thought of when I decided to take on this challenge. Today we are fairly well distributed in Gauteng in most independent bottle stores and a few restaurants. Our next challenge is to get more people to enjoy our beer, and reduce the use of plastic.

Why should Joburgers be drinking Mad Giant?

​ It’s fine beer brewed for people who enjoy life more than we should.
 By Shawn Greyling