Chemical engineering factors into a staggering array of products and industries. One popular, if somewhat overlooked, endeavor is homebrewing of beer — an activity that demonstrates chemical engineering in action through concepts such as fermentation, separations, heat exchange, and more.
To encourage AIChE members to meet locally, and to tap their collective creativity, AIChE’s Young Professionals Committee launched the AIChE Beer Brewing Competition for local sections. The third annual competition takes place on November 10 at the 2019 AIChE Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL. AIChE local sections from the continental U.S. are invited to assemble brewing teams within their sections. Teams will brew up to three varieties of beer and develop a poster on the chemical engineering behind their brews. Section brewmeisters will then compete head-to-head in a taste test and poster session at the Annual Meeting.
According to Donna Bryant (Syngenta), a leader of AIChE’s Baton Rouge Local Section, the competition provides an engaging way for younger members to integrate with the local section. “Our team presented its poster at a section meeting, where we explained the chemical engineering principles involved in brewing and had members taste our beer,” said Bryant. “It was a good way for our team to get involved with the section and to have a fun, interactive meeting at the same time.”
Bill Liechty (Dow Chemical), a member of the Mid-Michigan Section, emphasized that chemical engineers receive a lot of technical training relevant to beer brewing, adding, “The thing that attracted me most to the competition was the chance to brew with other chemical engineers, and ultimately to compete against other brewers with a similar technical background.”
The Kansas City Section’s Nick Johnson (Burns & McDonnell) says that one of the competition’s key benefits has been the new friendships and connections that the competition has generated within the section. “It also helped to create some excitement within the local section and promoted greater participation, as the competition is very different from our day-to-day work as chemical engineers,” Johnson said.
The AIChE Beer Brewing Competition is supported by the AIChE Foundation. Local teams should consist of two to five AIChE member professionals over the age of 21, and each team should be anchored by at least one members under age 35. Prizes include a complimentary one-year AIChE membership for all team members. The deadline to sign up to compete is August 9, 2019.
To learn more about this year’s competition, visit www.aiche.org/brewbeer.