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Brewing degree introduced in KU Leuven 2020 courses

Credit: Creative Commons

Graduates looking to start a career in brewing can soon consider moving to Leuven after the announcement of a new postgraduate degree from the University.

Starting in September, the postgraduate programme in Malting and Brewing sciences intends to train the next generations of brewers to work in the growing industry. 

“We want to give students the opportunity to link in-depth theory to practical experience and knowledge on an industrial scale. The latter is particularly unique in Europe,” explained Professor Christophe Courtin, one of the academic managers of the new postgraduate programme.

The programme has been launched alongside AB InBev, the American-Belgian multinational drink and brewing holdings company based in Leuven. The company and the university have been working closely together for over ten years in the fields of yeast research and fermentation technology, as well as other domains like grains and membrane technology.

Most of AB InBev’s expertise has been developed in Leuven since the founding of a brewery school in 1887, and by providing the programme with financial support, the company is ensuring the continuation of this tradition.

“This is an investment in the future of Belgian brewing expertise and the Belgian beer culture recognised by Unesco. Interaction with young people is crucial. The fresh eyes of young people challenge us to green our brewing processes and valorize our co-products such as residual alcohol,” said Bart Grieten, CEO of all 32 AB InBev breweries in Europe. “The training has one goal: guaranteeing the heritage and the future of high-quality Belgian beer,” he added.

However, it is exceptional that the money will go directly to the education of students, as these kinds of donations are usually invested in the research departments.

The English-language training takes one year and consists of 10 courses, which are taught by experts from KU Leuven, each time supplemented by an expert from the industry. 

The curriculum will combine scientific-technical knowledge and skills with ample contacts with industry, teaching students to meet the current and future needs and expectations of the malting and brewing industry worldwide, according to the course description.

After completing the course, graduates will be able to:

  • Explain the importance of the 4 basic ingredients of beer in shaping beer taste and aroma
  • Understand the different processing steps in malting and beer brewing
  • Understand the key biochemical reactions occurring during each of these steps
  • Recognize and describe the main beer styles, and understand how the brewing process contributes to the different beers
  • Identify key factors affecting beer identity, quality, and stability
  • Carry out basic sensory analyses of beers and identify key flavours and off-flavours and their molecular origin

The postgraduate course will begin registration in February and is open to students with a relevant master’s degree. Registration begins in February. 

Interested students can find more information here.

Jules Johnston & Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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