Monday, March 24, 2014

First Day at Doemens

We have finally moved on to classes in Munich! Today was our first day at our Munich campus (The Doemens Academy). After a few mishaps on the public transportation, my roommates and I arrived about 15 minutes late, but luckily we just missed the introduction. We arrived in time for a tour of the campus. This is the part of the course that we all look forward to, since now we are going to be doing applied brewing techniques, working hands on with high quality brewing equipment.

First they showed us the lab where we will do microscopy. This looked pretty much like you would expect a college biology lab to look. Then, we looked in the chemistry analysis room. This was pretty cool since we got to see some equipment that none of us had ever seen. The only thing I recognized was some glass distilling columns. I am looking forward to finding out what the rest of the equipment is and what it is used for.

Next, we moved downstairs and checked out the Doemens brewhouse. This was the coolest part of the tour. It is a 500 liter (about 5 barrel) brewhouse with 4 vessels. We were told that Doemens frequently brews test beers on this system, but none of it is sold. They also do research for breweries who want to recreate a beer. A brewery can send a sample of a beer to Doemens with a request for Doemens to try and build a clone of the beer and give the recipe to the brewery. Afterwards, we looked at the fermenting room, the bottling line, and packaging facility.

After our tour, we met in the cafeteria for lunch provided by Doemens. We had pork and gravy with potato salad and pilsner. The food was great, and it was a nice surprise to have our first lunch provided by the school.

We then moved on to a styles tasting. It was really unique because the styles we tasted were mostly German styles that are now extinct. The only style that we tried that is still commonly brewed was Schwarzbier, but it was brewed the historically accurate way, using top fermenting yeast, juniper berries, honey, and brettonamyces. Our professor told us a bit about the history of German beer, and spent a fair amount of time complaining about the Beer Purity Law. It was funny to listen to her telling us about how she doesn't like the law, when in a lot of countries the purity law is exposed as a marketing scheme, implying that their beer is superior because of it. Other styles we tried were gose, Dortmunder Adam, and a few others.

It was a really easy first day, but I think we all know that won't last. We have a very busy three weeks ahead of us.

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