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Craft beer and science join forces in new Langara project

Langara's craft brewing project received a $200,000 grant from a Canadian research council

Barrels of beer sit in the Parallel 49 Brewing warehouse. Photo by Adam Levi
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Reported by Adam Levi

For the last six months, local breweries have partnered with students and professors to better understand the science of beer to create a premium, longer-lasting product.

The project has been awarded $200,000 by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Langara science department professors Kelly Sveinson, Ji Yang and Dave Anderson originally spearheaded the project to give students real-world experience in the field while also helping to problem solve with breweries in the Lower Mainland.

Sveinson was quick to note the value of getting an education both inside and outside of the classroom.

“For them, it’s enormously valuable,” Sveinson said about the participating students. “They get a very unique, experiential learning opportunity.”

Success led by students

Yang said that this project wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for his students tremendous efforts throughout the process.

“Some of our students are top-caliber,” Yang said. “Without my students, I wouldn’t be able to do this project.”

Langara science professor Chris Conway developed a relationship with Parallel 49 Brewing Company to be one of the school’s key partners during this initiative. They have been using the school’s tools and technologies while allowing Langara students to work with their brewers.

According to Parallel 49’s laboratory manager Kelsey Dodds, having access to Langara’s technology has been an invaluable experience that  they wouldn’t have otherwise had had the college not received the grant.

“A lot of people lack the understanding that beer is a living thing,” Dodds said. “Yeast is a living thing that makes the alcohol, beer ages over time, there are flavour developments.”

“When you get access to these highly specialized and highly trained students and pieces of equipment, they get beyond a microscopic view of the beer, you get a molecular look at the beer,” she said.

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