University students have long been associated with beer, but out at Dookie last week the connection had a new twist to it.
In the century-old Dookie campus winery, teams of students started to put their theoretical knowledge of brewing into practice as part of a new course offered by Melbourne University.
The students split up into teams and started the fermentation process, which, all being well, will result in a few bottles of their own branded beer to be assessed by university staff.
The university’s faculty of veterinary and agricltural science teaches two brewing subjects that introduce students to the science behind craft beer.
Students learn about the biochemical processes, agricultural inputs and economics of the industry.
Lecturer Charles Pagel said craft beers are gaining popularity in Australia, growing from only a handful of breweries 15 years ago to more than 200 across Australia.
Independent Brewers Association chair, Peta Fielding puts the figure at more than 400 small businesses, up from about 200 when the association began about five years ago.
She estimates the industry employs more than 2100 people and generates about $655 million in economic output.
Meanwhile, at Dookie the students will be waiting for their brew to ferment over the next three weeks and learning more about the chemical processes involved.
Tatura student Gabi Johnston is studying a bachelor of science, and can recall her father making homebrew. Her team is concentrating on producing a fruity, pale summer ale.
Each team had the option of adding their own taste variation. Angus Herold, who has has sights set on a career in aquaculture, is working in an ambitious brewing team.
His team decided to go for a ‘‘chocolatey, orange’’ flavour, succinctly described as the ‘‘Jaffa’’ flavour.
We’ll see how that one turns out.
■The Australian Craft Beer Awards are being held at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday, July 27.