This week I'll be writing about the first of two events organised by BSA Norwich during the Norwich Science Festival (21st - 29th October). Our first event, From the Lab to your Local, was all about microbiology and the science behind beer!
The event, held in The Forum on the evening of the 23rd October, involved beer tastings and a discussion of science in an informal setting. At the start of the night, the chair of BSA Norwich (Freya Varden) introduced the upcoming speakers and gave an update about the events organised by the branch over the past year. The Norwich Science Festival marks the one year anniversary of BSA Norwich so it was great to hear a summary of all the outreach activities we have coordinated, from our Snowflake Science event to the Science Treasure Hunt around Norwich. Don't forget to check out the other posts on this blog to find out about everything else we've been up to! :)
Our first speaker at the event was Carmen Nueno-Palop, a scientist from The Quadram Institute in Norwich, who discussed her work with the National Collection of Yeast Cultures (NCYC). The NCYC represents a collection of more than 4,000 yeast strains accumulated over 65 years. Whilst many of these strains are involved in the brewing process, there are also strains associated with food spoilage, medical research and the production of biofuels. Carmen described the history of the NCYC and the services provided by The Quadram Institute (such as DNA sequencing and cold storage in liquid nitrogen), then gave some valuable insight into how yeast produce ethanol.
Our second speaker was Fergus Fitzgerald, head brewer at Adnams in Southwold (Suffolk), who gave an overview of the major constituents of beer (barley, water, hops and yeast) and how they are processed and combined to create different products. Throughout the talk, a fantastic events team from Adnams supplied everyone with samples of locally-brewed beer, including Adnams Broadside and Adnams Triple Knot. Fergus provided an excellent summary of how each product was made and described how different industrial processes lead to beers with unique flavour profiles.
Overall, it was great to be part of a relaxed and informative evening - we're really grateful to Carmen, Fergus and the rest of the team from Adnams for their invaluable contributions and for facilitating interesting discussions with the audience. We hope everyone had a good time!
As always, if you have any thoughts or feedback regarding events, social media activity and blog posts from BSA Norwich then we'd love to hear from you! Also, please get in contact if you'd like to volunteer. :)