Weihenstephan is a place where beer is being brewed since the Middle Ages. No wonder that the historic site is a home to one of the oldest faculties focusing on Brewing: In 2015, the faculty celebrated its 150th anniversary. We talked to Nadja von Nessen – who is in the second semester of her Master's studies – asking her what, in her opinion, makes this course of studies so special.
What lifestyle do you associate to beer?
For me, beer has got something to do with sociability – like having a beer at a barbecue. Also, I like the sweet smell which arises during the brewing process, especially during mashing. Thus, I enjoy being met by the typical smell of a brewery when I walk up the Weihenstephaner Berg in the mornings...
What so special about the course of studies?
The subject of study is broad, and it provides you with insight into various areas of expertise: Math, Physics, Biology, Biochemistry, Process Engineering … it combines natural sciences and aspects of engineering – and even a bit of Business Administration. Also, the location plays a role: Freising and Weihenstephan have a distinct beer culture and a long tradition. However, the course of studies is about more than just beer: Generally, we have to do with beverages of all kinds, including non-alcoholic ones. In addition, it’s possible to attend lectures on wine and distillery technology. Food technology plays a role too.
How come you chose Brewing and Beverage Technology?
My father was a process manager in the beverage industry, and I decided I wanted to work in the same area of profession when I was a child. My cousin, who works at the Agentur für Arbeit (Federal Employment Agency), gave me a hint about the study course of Brewing and Beverage Technology – so I more or less made my career decisions when I was 14.
Are you the only woman around? How do you get along with your fellow students?
No I am not alone, of course. The proportion of women is approximately 11%. There's no special treatment by the male students, and we are accepted as full and competent members. When there are excursions, of course, they are happy that we're around. It would be boring if there were only men.
What's the regular student life like?
In the master's course, we are able to choose and schedule our internships freely. I, for example, completed the internships in quick succession. First, I first focused on the lectures, then on the laboratory. In recent weeks, I completed different internships in the industry. Generally, you spend a lot of time in the Forschungsbrauerei. For example, I also took part in the IGL-Competition (an innovation competition for food and beverages). We brewed a beer with two different yeast strains.
What do you find the most exciting about your course of studies?
It never gets boring, as there are so many things to learn. Thus, we can also venture into completely different working areas when we finish our studies. I like the people in the industry – and I feel especially at home here in Weihenstephan: The lecturers are very open and jovial.
Do you already know what you want to do after completing your studies?
I'm not sure exactly – but I definitely want to work in the beverage industry.
Nadja von Nessen, 24, is from Aschaffenburg. She is a student of Brewing and Beverage Technology in her second semester.
Studienfakultät Brau- und Lebensmitteltechnologie