Bavaria Pale Ale, White Hoplosion or Fresh Hop Finest – these beer varieties were not created by any of the major breweries but by members of the Department of Brewing and Beverage Technology. The Weihenstephan campus specializes in training students to become brewery or food technologists, organic process engineers or master brewers – in one of the most up-to-date research breweries in the world.
The research institute on Weihenstephan Hill is a high-tech center on a very small scale. Occupying an area of just 300 square meters, the premises provide all the facilities the students need to practise all the usual brewing techniques. They learn the brewing process step by step, from preparing the wort from water, malt and hops to fermentation and aging right through to the bottling process. But the research brewery also teaches the microbiological principles of yeast and lactic acid bacteria as well as the basics of process automation.
State-examined beer tasters
When all is said and done, however, the main aim is to produce beer varieties that taste good. For this reason, the Department of Brewing and Beverage Technology, under the auspices of Prof. Thomas Becker, also holds seminars in sensorics where students can learn about detecting bitter ingredients and naming aromas, for instance. They can even graduate as state-examined beer tasters.
As these special courses are very popular, they are reserved for students belonging to that department. Anyone who wishes to learn more about brewing should look to the neighboring state brewery Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan. “The oldest brewery in the world” organizes guided tours and tasting sessions for parties of at least fifteen people. And, during the summer months, the speciality beers taste particularly refreshing underneath the chestnut trees, in the beer garden attached to the Bräustüberl Weihenstephan.