December 28, 2015
More than half a year has passed since my time at BrewLab. I’ve had time to go over my thoughts on the experience.
Great UK beer places were visited as part of the class. We were shuttled to many places I intended to visit on my own time. Breweries, maltsters, bottlers, and historical sites. The whole class, including the instructor and the BrewLab staff that we worked with daily were also with us for the most part. I could always get a question answered while we were out and about.
It was very cool to visit and interact with companies whose brewing products I have used in the US. Crisp and Muntons maltings come to mind. You understand how amazing the UK is when it comes to growing and malting barley.
Great people on BrewLab staff.
The lecturers were pretty much spot on. Most of them had great background experience in their field and most were genuinely pleasant individuals.
The pantry. There was a panty attached to the course room. It had cookies, fruit, chips and of course tea and coffee. It was a really a nice option.
Bicycle rental. The dormitory was 2 miles from Brewlab’s facility.
Brewery placements. What a really great way to learn how different breweries operate.
The majority of the class stayed in the University of Sunderland dormitories. There were 10 bedrooms, 2 rest rooms and 2 showers. The kitchen had just about everything we needed to cook plus four refrigerators.
Having the class in the dormitory was a plus. The group jelled into a pretty good group of friends and we’ve remained in contact with each other. Questions are asked of each other to refresh what we’ve learned in the class. We also get to see where each of us have ended up at in the brewing world.
The main course instructor is Arthur Bryant. He’s a fantastic instructor and has worked as the brewer of Newcastle Brown Ale and then Heineken after they purchased Newcastle. He’s quite good at knowing when the class isn’t getting something. He is backed up by Dave Smith in the brewery. Dave does everything to keep the brews brewing. Lecture subjects included various things about brewing such as cellaring, filtering, business, marketing, malting, and HACCP. Almost all of the lecturers were just fantastic and had either some legendary work history (brewed at Whitbread), or really knew their subject.
The entire business plan module, well maybe not the entire thing. I liked learning about business plans, but doing a business plan to present to a panel of instructors was unnecessary. I was there to learn about brewing, not starting a business. I would have rather spent more time studying the brewing aspect of the class.
The microbiological module could have been done in a more effective manner. I had such high hopes for this module, It fell short.