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A new mouth-watering beer



Own Correspondent

ROMA – HANDS up those who still remember the mighty Mzalas, the once notorious National University of Lesotho (NUL) student entertainment centre!

The centre was shut down by the university authorities about 10 years ago.

With a sense of nolstagia, Thapelo Qhotsokoane, and three other NUL Crop Science students and one NUL Economics student, have resurrected Mzalas!

They have brewed a mouth-watering beer and named it after the fallen hero, Mzalas.

And they call it Mzalas Craft Larger.

Behold a new dawn, and a new brand is born, thanks in part to the innovative passion engulfing and burning the whole of the Roma Valley.

In Mzalas Craft Larger, the innovators envision a craft beer in which, according to tradition, quality, flavor and brewing technique are emphasized.

Mzalas Craft Larger, its creators suggest, is brewed from carefully selected ingredients, hops and barley, in combination with other substances in measured quantities to make it a gleaming beer.

By design, it is made to be somewhere in between the modern industrial-scale beer and a traditional one.

The former loses its spirit and innate freshness along large scale production lines, and the latter is rarely molded into a consistent taste due to the informal manner in which it is made.

Being in the midway between the two, and maintaining modern and traditional elements in one package, is what will separate Mzalas Craft Larger from anything else, the passionate brewers suggest.

In fact, this reality is the very soul of Mzalas Craft Larger if not its fundamental secret.

“We realised that in Lesotho, only one company dominates the modern beer industry, Maluti Mountain Brewery (MMB),” Qhotsokoane says.

“And there is nothing wrong with that. However, between MMB and small traditional brewers, there is nothing. So we are rushing to fill the space.”

On one hand, Mzalas Craft Larger promises the freshness, appeal and authenticity of the homemade and handmade traditional beer. On the other hand, it is not allowed to escape the consistency of a modern beer.

According to Qhotsokoane, “we do not only have a stable recipe, we also examine alcohol content and will soon keep an eye on a few more factors as we are negotiating with the NUL Chemistry Department.”

But the story of Mzalas Craft Larger is bigger than Mzalas Craft Larger itself.

Mzalas Bar was, during its glorious days, “a humble place, yet the most known not only in Lesotho but across Africa,” as portrayed by one former NUL student who witnessed its “rise and fall”.

But it was also notorious, very notorious.

Nevertheless, before declaring Mzalas’ obituary, wait a minute. Modern day NUL students are brewing Mzalas Craft Larger — with the hope of reviving the original Mzalas the place to its former glory.

“The idea is to have Mzalas Bar retaking its rightful place as a students’ entertainment centre, but in a more organised and responsible way compared to its former notorious days,” Qhotsokoane says.

“Let’s face it, students drink anyway,” he says, adding: “The best way is to help them drink in a safer place and drink responsibly. As of now, they go off campus to drink and, guess what, they get their money and cell phones stolen.”

He says they did a research to find why Mzalas Bar was closed in the first place.

“We found that because of a few students who spent almost all their time at Mzalas, drunk and using filthy language, Mzalas was closed more than a decade ago.”

Qhotsokoane and his team believe that part of the reason Mzalas Bar, as an entertainment spot, was closed was due to the fact that most Basotho seem to miss the point of beer.

“Beer” they say, “is not meant to get people drunk and vile.”

“Rather it is a means to unwind and enjoy after hard work, as a reward. That’s how our forefathers viewed beer and that’s how we should view it,” Qhotsokoane says.

So they make a humble submission for a review of the decision to close Mzalas Bar.

Mzalas Bar, they suggest, can be reinvented, with clear policies, to control timing and extent of drinking at the place.

In fact the NUL may even hit several birds with one stone, taking students out of harm’s way off campus, teaching them the values of drinking responsibly and perhaps, stemming the tide of capital flight as students would be spending their monies inside the university, drinking Mzalas Craft Larger at Mzalas Bar.

So they came up with a motto, well chiseled in Mzalas Lager containers and it goes like this: “Every achievement deserves a drink.”

To be succinct, every achievement deserves Mzalas Craft Larger—that’s for sure.

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