Brewing Science Students Gain Hands-On Experience in Internships with Local Breweries

Written by Jenna Pizzi
Published on November 18, 2016

Having completed months of lab courses studying the biology, chemistry and physical makeup of beer, the first cohort of students enrolled in the Brewing Science Certificate program got a taste of brewing at a commercial scale at their first internships at local breweries this fall.

The six students, who are on pace to graduate the program this year, got hands-on experience working at local breweries like Weyerbacher Brewing in Easton, Conshohocken Brewing Company, and Lavante Brewing Company in West Chester. Students are matched with internships that correspond with their career objectives. For example, some students are looking to work on the production floor while others are more interested in the quality control lab.

“No matter where they end up, the internship provides another great opportunity for our students to expand their network in the industry,” said Dr. Matt Farber, director of the program.

George Ames said his internship at Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company in Croydon has given him great experience in each step of a commercial-scale brewing process.

George Ames said his internship at Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company in Croydon has given him great experience in each step of a commercial-scale brewing process.

George Ames, 35, said his internship at Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company in Croydon has given him great experience in each step of a commercial-scale brewing process.

“I’ve worked in just about every part now,” said Ames. “From milling, mashing in, monitoring, and doing hop and adjunct additions during the boil to the final transfer to a fermenter after brewing. It has been an educational experience.”

While Ames reveled in the glory of the brewing process, he admits that the internships also came with a lot of hard work and elbow grease.

“Cleaning is the real work of brewing. You have to constantly keep the place clean to avoid anything but brewer’s yeast from getting into the beer,” he said.

It is exciting to hear students take what they learned on campus and apply it to the breweries, said Dr. Farber.

“What I’m incredibly happy to see is their critical eye on current processes in the brewery and their ability to recognize possible improvements,” said Dr. Farber. “It is really interesting to see them put it all together.”

Brewing Science student Dave Goldman fills the casks during his internship at Double Nickel Brewing Company. Goldman counts the 120 hours spent at the internship among the most valuable part of the program.

Brewing Science student Dave Goldman fills the casks during his internship at Double Nickel Brewing Company. Goldman counts the 120 hours spent at the internship among the most valuable part of the program.

While no brewery really has formal internships, Dave Goldman, 38, said he found his opportunity at Double Nickel in Pennsauken, NJ, through connections made during the brewing science program.

“I feel much more confident opening up my own brewery having gone through this internship first,” he said. “A lot of what I learned in our classes has come up in my internship, so having that knowledge base has proven very helpful and applicable.”

The brewing science certificate program aims to turn passionate home brewers into career brewers working in the growing craft beer industry by teaching the art of brewing through the lens of science to create a better beer. The program also provides expanded knowledge about the industry and career advancement

The post-baccalaureate, 18-credit program combines the technical expertise of USciences faculty with experts from the brewing industry. Students examine the science involved in every step of the brewing process, study manufacturing and quality control methods during production, and develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills through research projects.

Ames said he and his wife Shannon Ames MPT’02 hope to open a brewery in a few years. But already, George said the combined experience gained in the program and during his internships has paid dividends in increasing the quality of his home brews.

“It’s amazing to look how far I’ve come since we started this program a little over a year ago. I feel like I’ve gained super powers for brewing,” said Ames. “Dr. Farber has helped us network in the industry and meet the best and brightest in brewing to try to make sure we are successful moving forward. Also, if you want some good yeast jokes, Matt’s your guy.”

Click here for more information about the Brewing Science Certificate Program.


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