Science Made Beerable was born of a desire to help beer drinkers better understand the connection between science and beer. And now, from this week, the team behind the venture is helping ensure the industry itself better understands that link too.
The Tasmanian-based not-for-profit is launching a scholarship to help those working in craft beer – or anyone looking to join the industry – study a science-focused brewing course. Over the last four years, Kelsey Picard and Matt Fielding have been inviting brewers to get experimental with brewing and then presenting the results of those experiments during a National Science Week event that’s one part beer tasting, one part science lesson, all parts fun.
Their most recent ExBEERimental Science event saw Range Brewing make two versions of the same pale ale – one dry-hopped with fresh hops, the other with hops that had already been used once, Molly Rose showcase how yeast impacts an otherwise identical beer, and Shambles explore the impact of haze in beer.
Having grown their flagship event each year, Kelsey says they were eager to help others learn more about their passion.
“We want to be able to help somebody achieve a science-focused, beer-related qualification,” she told The Crafty Pint.
“This year, we got the brewers around in the morning at Shambles to brew a collab beer; the profits from that are going to go towards the scholarships.”
Kelsey adds they won’t be specifying which course successful applicants have to study, instead leaving the choice up to them. As such, the scholarship could be used towards the Institute of Brewing and Distilling’s Diploma of Brewing or one of many university courses around the country. Whatever they choose, a portion of the funds from the collaboration beer will cover $2,000 of the course costs.
“They don’t have to be a brewer or work in the industry,” Kelsey says of the scholarship. “But they could be, or they could be someone who is wanting a complete career change and wants to study brewing science.”
Potential recipients will be assessed on the strength of their written application, with the selection committee made up of the brewers from the collaboration, Beerable's sponsors, and staff from the University of Tasmania.
While anyone is welcome to apply, a key focus is on building a more diverse workforce. Kelsey says they've seen how male-dominated the industry is, something that rings true of their own professional background too.
“Whenever we run our events, we're always trying to get a diverse panel, whether it be gender diverse or racially diverse,” Kelsey says. “It’s actually a real struggle every year.
“Coming from science, it’s very similar and very male-dominated. So we want to try and support some more diversity in the industry.”
They’ve been inspired by the positive work Pink Boots Australia have done in this space, while Young Henrys run a scholarship that’s only open to female-identifying and non-binary applicants.
“There are big changes in our research areas of trying to support more diversity in STEM and science,” Kelsey says. “I know that is happening in the wider brewing industry, but we just want this one scholarship to help someone.”
Having both spent a long time on their own PhDs, Matt and Kelsey have firsthand experience of how important financial support is to those undertaking study. Hence the move earlier in the year to make Science Made Beerable a registered not-for-profit, something that allows them to better connect the dots between the beer and science worlds.
“Every year, we end up doing something extra even though we have no time,” Kelsey says. “It didn’t make sense for us to take a profit from a collab and didn’t feel right.
“The whole reason we started it is to share the love of beer and science that people just take for granted.”
Applications for the Pils of Wisdom scholarship open on September 22, with a launch party at Shambles in Hobart. You can find details of that event here, and apply for the scholarship via the Science Made Beerable website. Full details and terms and conditions here.
You can read more about Kelsey and Matt’s background here and catch up on the latest event below.