British Columbia

Science of Brewing course on tap at SFU Surrey

The Science of Brewing course at SFU sold out in only two days and the wait list is currently full. Students will learn the chemistry, biology and practical skills it takes to brew good beer.

Science professors and award-winning brewmaster come together for new course

Central City brewmaster Gary Lohin (L) and Simon Fraser University Chemistry Professor Uwe Kreis (R) toast to their new Science of Brewing course which starts in January. (SFU Public Affairs)

Any university student who thinks SFU's new Science of Brewing course is the modern day version of Basket Weaving 101 is in for a rude awakening. 

Chemistry professor Uwe Kreis is dead serious about his passion for brewing and he's adamant that his new course, which has already sold out for January, is no easy credit.

"This isn't going to be a big beer drinking party," Kreis said with a chuckle.

"The focus isn't actually on brewing beer, it's about the science of brewing beer and what components you need to do it."

Other North American post-secondary institutions have science of brewing courses, but what sets SFU's tasty new course apart is its connection to Metro Vancouver's burgeoning craft beer industry. 

Applying the science

That's where Central City Brewing's Gary Lohin comes in. The award-winning brewmaster is partnering with the program to ensure students have not only the theoretical knowledge of how the molecules come together to form a delicious brew, but also the practical, hands-on experience of working with professional grade equipment. 

"When it comes to applying the theory, you need someone who knows the equipment. It will also be a huge help to them to deal with a company that's currently in the market," Lohin said. 

Another unique aspect of the course is that an educational background in the sciences is not a prerequisite.

The course is available to SFU students with 60 credits, and so far, students who have signed up come from faculties that include the arts, economics, geography, computer science and many more.

Open to all

SFU Professor Kreis is excited by the possibility of bringing different educational backgrounds together.

"I think it's advantageous for our science students that they'll work directly together with students from other faculties, it will broaden their horizons," Kreis said. 

"It limits the amount of science we can do, but it opens the course up to a wider audience."

The likelihood of seeing more courses like this at SFU's Surrey campus is high considering all 40 seats in the Science of Brewing course were filled in two days and the wait list is currently full.

The course begins in January, and yes, Kreis concedes, the students will have the opportunity to sample a few delectable beers along the way. 

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