It was a bit different to any other days I’ve ever spent in classrooms.
Sitting in the downstairs room of The Draft House, near Tower Bridge in London, I learned about beer, discussed beer, drank beer and drank beer with food.
Although I’ve enjoyed beer for years, it’s only the past few years, and particularly while living in Italy, that I got more serious about trying to understand it, its history, its many permutations, and how to match it with food. But self-education can only go so far, so moving back to England presented a good opportunity to actually go to beer school, or more precisely attend a course run by The Beer Academy.
Founded in 2003, and part of the IBD (Institute of Brewing and Distilling) since 2007, the Academy has a goal “to enlighten, educate and enthuse candidates about all aspects of beer.”
With two, day-long classes run by brewing industry veteran Ian Swanson, and attended by a variety of knowledgeable people from various corners of the trade (including maltings, hospitality, marketing, and even a representative of the Worshipful Company of Brewers), it was a highly informative experience.
Now I just really need to gen up on my chemistry. Sure, I was pretty good at chemistry at school, but that was 20 years ago, so I really need to study my dimethyl sulphide, acetaldehyde, diacetyl etc before I truly become comfortable about throwing these terms into conversation.