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Brewing Science Program Teams Up with Yards, St. Benjamins for Two Different Collaboration Brews

By Jenna Pizzi

Wally ColganLike all home brewers, Wally Colgan has been conducting stove-top experiments for the last few years as he works to combine the right blend of ingredients to craft his own recipes.

A tasty Russian imperial stout was either a stroke of genius or a happy accident, while one memorable attempt to craft a great New England IPA wasn’t so successful thanks to a heavy hand with the oats that formed into a slab at the bottom of the mash tun rather than a soft bed of grain that the beer would filter through.

But this spring, Colgan got the chance to whip up the recipe for his first commercial-sized brew as part of a collaboration between the USciences brewing science certificate program, where Colgan is a student, and St. Benjamin Brewing Company, where he works in the brewery as cellarperson. (For a full list of where to find the collaboration brews and events, see below)

“It's a bit of a leap going from a five-gallon batch made on a stove top to a 10-hectoliter batch,” said Colgan, who is set to graduate from the program this year. “The recipe is a blend of Belgian and American styles.”

Colgan combined a blend of Azacca hops and Belgian yeast to craft a Belgian Pale Ale, dubbed Kite Club Ale.  Instructed by Head Brewer Andrew Foss, brewing science students spent a full day working in the brewery and learning on St. Benjamin’s 10-hectoliter brewing system.

Brewing Science students collaborating with St. Benjamin's Brewing.Brewing science students, including Colgan, also got the chance to work hands-on at Yards Brewery with Head Brewer Tim Roberts, Lead Brewer Mitch Albach, and Brewer Drew Rutherford on a special collaboration beer. With Brendan Hartranft, owner of Clarkville in West Philly, the class created an English-style bitter which features a Timothy Taylor yeast called “Bitter Landlord.” The recipe will accentuate the malt flavors used to brew this classic beer style.

Brewing Science students who participated in the full brew days got to experience eight hours of hands-on learning at Yards Brewery. By watching the process from grain handling to mashing to fermentation, the students got the full experience, which Dr. Matthew J. Farber, head of the brewing science program, hopes will prepare them for their upcoming internships.

“This is an excellent chance to learn on commercial scale equipment ahead of their internships,” said Dr. Farber. 

Emily Siddall said no matter how many tours or conversations you have with a brewer at one of these commercial breweries, where she hopes to work after graduation, it is impossible to know how they run, until you see it from start to finish.

“There is a lot of stuff that is unique or high tech, but there are also the things that everyone has to do no matter the scale of the brew, like cleaning out the kettle and shoveling the spent grain,” said Siddall.

Brewing Science students with the brewers at Yards“Our students are fortunate to get a chance to participate in these experiences because as you go from being a home brewer, to brewing on our small batch system here at USciences, it is a big step up to a commercial setup,” said Dr. Farber.

Colgan joined the brewing science certificate program to gain a deeper understanding of how the brewing process works. “As graduates of the program go out to find jobs in the brewing industry, the knowledge and experiences gained through the certificate will help them land a job and advance them in the industry,” said Dr. Farber.

“While the processes are typically the same, there isn’t really an industry standard for how a brew house works, so it is advantageous to spend some time with as many as possible,” said Colgan.

Interested in learning more about USciences’ brewing science certificate program and working in the brewing industry?  Please join USciences on campus for a Brewing Science Open House on May 19 from 5 to 7 p.m. for information, tours, and samples. You’ll hear from the program director, industry instructors, and alumni about the benefits of a brewing science certificate.

Kite Club is a Belgian IPA elevated to lofty heights by a generous amount of Azacca hops, brewed in collaboration between St. Benjamin’s Brewing Co. and USciences Brewing Science students.

Bitter Landlord is an English-style bitter featuring the perfect balance of British malts, the flavor of which is accentuated by the use of Timothy Taylor yeast, brewed in collaboration between Yards Brewing Co., Clarkville, and USciences Brewing Science students. 

Upcoming Brewing Science Events:

Philadelphia Science Festival’s Fishtown Science Crawl

1210 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125

Sunday, April 23, 2017, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Adults: Toast science and innovation and take bar hopping to a whole new level during the Fishtown Science Crawl! Enjoy great drink specials at awesome Fishtown venues and engage in hands-on science activities with some of your favorite museums and science organizations! Keep an eye out for the faculty and students from brewing science, neuroscience, and statistics!

Kite Club will be on tap at Frankford Hall as part of the Fishtown Science Crawl.  In addition to pulling pints on draft, the beer will also be available in a special cask conditioned version made with Brettanomyces, a wild yeast. Brewing Science students will be on hand at the event to help tasters compare the versions, pointing out how the cask conditioning and wild yeast create differences in the two brews.

Brewing Science celebration at Clarkville

4301 Baltimore Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Monday, April 24, 2017, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Bitter Landlord will make its debut at Clarkville in West Philly.  Kite Club and the official Philly Science Festival beer from Yards will also be available.  Meet representatives from Yards, St. Benjamin’s, and USciences Brewing Science program.  Congratulate the inaugural USciences Brewing Science class of ’17!  Enter a raffle to win sweet brewery swag with proceeds to benefit the American Society for Brewing Chemists student chapter at USciences.  This will be your only chance to sample both USciences collaboration beers in one place!

Kite Club Tapping Event at Bottle Bar East

1308 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125

April 27, 2017 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Kite Club will be featured during a “Meet the Brewer” event at Bottle Bar East. Brewing science program director Dr. Matthew J. Farber and current students will be in attendance with brewers from St. Benjamin’s Brewing Co. to talk about the beer, the brewing process and the program.  Happy Hour specials run during the event.

Additional locations pouring our collaboration brew(s):

Local 44
Yards Taproom
St. Benjamin’s Taproom



Categories: News, Students, Event, Community, Brewing Science, Department of Biology