It has been a year since our training manager Brian Yorston joined Brewlab – here he provides an insight as to what real benefits our students get from our training in the current brewing world.

1) We have a wealth of experienced teachers in all parts of the industry from technical brewing, microbiology, laboratory techniques, marketing and finance. We also bring in specialists as and when required. All of our educators have well over 30 plus years in their field. This means that our students are exposed to that experience and knowledge to enable them to get the most out of the course.

2) Brewlab are proud that they not only do class room teaching but their longer courses take that learning to a practical level. This is through industry visits, placements at other breweries and the opportunity to develop and brew beer. Practical sessions not only are limited to brewing but the understanding of both laboratory techniques and flavour recognition. I will expand the placement scheme and recipe brewing in a later blog.

3) Two of our courses, the nine-week diploma and the three-week certificate, are examined and accredited by an external examination body. This not only ensures we met their high standards in teaching but gives the students a qualification which has value and merit to any future employment. The tests include an on-going assessment at each stage and a final examination on what has been learned. We also mark practicable ability in brewing their own beer and laboratory work linked to this beer. We test the beer brewed and mark is given against the anticipated specification. Beer flavour understanding is tested through blind tasting. In the diploma course we expect a report from their placements which will show their good (or bad) operations. There is also an opportunity to prepare and present a business plan. All of these tests are there to gauge student understanding, but to ensure they have good practicable skills to take to the workplace. 

4) There is an opportunity to understand recipe formulation from water to hops and to develop own recipes. Again, I will expand this on a later blog.

5) The Sunderland site is not just a training establishment but has a working laboratory testing and analysing samples from a wide range of establishments. It uses modern analytical techniques and has a high skilled staff to carry out a wide variety of tests. It cultivates a range yeasts for a variety of breweries. It has its own working brewery on the same site supplying cask, keg and bottle to the local area. It conducts research on a wide range of products as well as trouble shooting customers issues. We have a number of small-scale breweries for the students to practice. So, to different degrees our students are exposed to this wide range of functions.

6) The longer courses give the student an opportunity to see and experience the north east of England. We have easy transport links to London, Bristol, York and Edinburgh. Newcastle has a vibrant beer scene and is served by the rapid Metro system. The north east has a long history, together with some of the best scenery in England.  Generally, the people from the north east are friendly and welcoming.

7) You will meet and get to know a whole range of students all of different abilities and from all over the world. The real benefit I have seen is the friendships formed between the students all of which has beer as the link. Opportunities outside the training have involved brewery and pub visits. 

Training at Brewlab has been going since the 1980’s so we have a long heritage in this field. The courses are unique in the UK in that they focus on the craft market and give the students a wide range of experiences which has prepared them to enter and thrive in the workplace. 

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