So for the past 6 months or so I've been looking at some brewing education possibilities. Now there is the debate about weather its better to just get experience working at a brewery and learn from that, or if formal education is a good idea. I'm not going to get into that right now...
Very brief intro to my background: I have a BSc in Biochemistry, have been homebrewing for more than a year, and I currently work for an environmental lab where I have learned a great deal about water chemistry.
Anyway, after doing a lot of looking around the internet for brewmaster schools that offer English classes (there are several that require German, which I don't speak enough of to get by!). I narrowed it down to (links to program description):
- Versuchs-und Lehranstalt für Brauerei in Berlin (VLB)
- Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh (HWU)
- UC Davis in California
I’ve sort-of ruled out UC Davis for now because I think I'd like to do this in Europe. VLB Berlin is a technical program (certificate) that runs 5 months from January to June 2006. They seem to cover all the topics I want to make sure I have. There are only 20 spots, first-come-first-serve with no real entrance requirements.
Heriot-Watt offers a diploma (9 months, Oct 2006-June 2007) or a full MSc (Oct 2006-Sept 2007). The diploma and the MSc offer the same courses, but the MSc includes a longer research project. A bachelor's degree is required for entrance, preferably with bio science background.
So, the question is do I want to go to Berlin very soon for a short amount of time to get the basic certificate (and guaranteed to get in) or wait to get into HWU and possibly not get in...
The VLB program seems to cover all the basics, but its lack of entrance requirements makes me question how much detail they go into for the biochemistry and microbiology of brewing, which I think is very important. I figure their program must really concentrate on the actual technical process of setting up and running a brewery and the engineering. Which might be all I want, because I already have the bchem and microbio background under my belt...
The HWU program also covers all they key topics for running a brewery and the engineering stuff. They have intro to bcem, microbio etc, but for people like me with a previous degree in biology they offer substitute business courses (also a good thing). Having a full MSc would be great and would allow me to do research if for some unlikely reason I wanted to do that. But I do worry about getting out of the program and being over-qualified for a lot of jobs, or being all education and little experience.
Anyway, so its still up in the air. The letters are in the mail. I think I'm leaning toward HWU, but maybe my impatience will win out and I'll head to Berlin.
As a side note, I've been to both Edinburgh and Berlin, and they're both awesome cities, so no help there :). Although Berlin does have the world cup of soccer in 2006 ... hmmmmm!