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The science of beer - BBPA at EBC 2013

On 31/05/13 by Steve Livens (Policy Manager - Product Assurance & Supply Chain)

Following the success of EBC 2011 in Glasgow, BBPA staff were once again present at Europe's premier, bi-annual brewing science showcase; The Congress of the European Brewing Convention. The 34th EBC Congress this week was hosted in the historical city of Luxembourg at the Lux Congrès Centre.

Over 400 delegates were welcomed to the Congress on Sunday evening by His Royal Highness Grand Duke Henri and the current EBC President, Dr Stefan Lustig.

The technical programme started in earnest on Monday with Georges M. Lentz Jnr., CEO of the Brasserie Nationale, leading the opening session with an overview of brewing in Luxembourg and the challenges for a small country surrounded on all sides by large, established brewing nations! The remainder of the session explored how the industry can use its scientific legacy to encourage more young scientists to consider a career in brewing and how brewing science might be communicated to consumers to help raise the profile of beer as a beverage category.

Over a couple of days, the main technical sessions delivered presentations addressing a wide range of issues faced by the industry today. Sustainability concerns such as water and energy efficiency, environmental management as well as potential alternative uses of brewery co-products were addressed, followed by a wide range of brewing process and production related research. Beer aroma and control of beer staling through new monitoring techniques and process control was also discussed as was the development of novel raw materials. Some fascinating papers were also presented on the causes of gushing in beer as well as control of barley and malt quality.

The UK was well represented at the Congress. The International Centre for Brewing and Distilling, Nottingham University and Campden BRI all presented papers and posters. In addition to the academic scientists, Shepherd Neame's own Elaine Martin also presented a poster, in association with Newcastle University and the University of Kent, on the Optimisation of Fermentation Cooling Profile.

For me, however, the highlight of the Congress were the yeast and microbiology sessions where Dr Diego Libkind from Argentina presented his work identifying the origins of lager yeast isolated from Patagonian rain forests and Dr Riikka Juvonen from VTT, Finland who presented on her microbiological analysis of 200 year old shipwrecked beer!

The brewing industry is dependent on the robust, relevant and new scientific research. The 35th Congress will be held in Porto, Portugal in 2015 and whilst Luxembourg will certainly be a tough act to follow, if this year’s Congress is anything to go by, the industry can rest assured that Porto will continue to see the further delivery of exactly that!


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