Uwe Kreis and Zamir Punjal-r: Chemist Uwe Kreis and biologist Zamir Punja raise a brew to celebrate a new course, The Science of Brewing, available in the spring 2014 semester.


Brewing course to quench thirst for knowledge

October 22, 2013

SFU will soon have a new course on tap. And yes, it has everything to do with beer.

A team of SFU researchers—biologist Zamir Punja, chemist Uwe Kreis and Michelle Unrau from the Dean of Science’s office—has developed a course called the Science of Brewing (BISC 372).

The credit course will explore the chemistry, biology and microbiology involved in the brewing process.

BISC 372 is one of the inaugural products of the $2-million INSPIRE initiative that Dean of Science Claire Cupples launched last year to stimulate change in the way science is taught at SFU.

“This pilot course is transformative in so many ways,” says Cupples. “Not only does it involve a close partnership with industry—in this case, Central City Brewers + Distillers (CCBD)—but students will also ‘learn science by doing science’.

“Students of all disciplines, including business, mathematics, science and engineering, will be eligible to register.”

Darryll Frost, president of CCBD, is equally excited about the partnership.

“I sincerely believe that collaborating with SFU will lead to advancements on the technical side of brewing, which we greatly welcome.

“In exchange, we are happy to share our expertise in brewing as two-time winners of the Canadian Brewery Award. It's a win-win situation for SFU and the Central City Brewery.”

Punja and Kreis will co-teach the sections of the course based on their respective fields of biology and chemistry. Punja hopes students will explore scientific, research and business opportunities related to the beer-making industry in B.C. and abroad.

“Putting together aspects of plant biology, chemistry, fermentation technology and packaging/marketing into one course will be both exciting and challenging,” he says.

Unrau, who has helped nurture this project since its inception, sees the potential to expand the program to include a master’s degree or Certificate in Brewing, and to further develop a “science entrepreneurship” program.

Classes will be held at the Surrey campus, at the CCBD’s former distilling plant and at its recently opened headquarters.