TAFE brewing students win beer medal

Queensland TAFE teacher Kate Stuart with students Brian Dack and Matthew Wolfe, and teacher Steve Henderson (right).

The first student brewers at TAFE Queensland celebrated a major win earlier this month after winning a silver medal at the 2021 RQFWS Beer Awards.

The Certificate III in Food Processing (Brewing) course was launched last year as part of promises made in the state government’s 2018 Queensland Craft Beer Strategy.

It involves practical work onsite at the Queensland BrewLab facility, and beers are brewed under the Froth Rookies Brewing Co. brand, the latest of which, a Pale Ale, received the medal at this month’s Royal Queensland Food & Wine Show.

“It means a lot for both the students as well as TAFE Queensland,” said TAFE Queensland director of Faculty Tourism, Hospitality and Personal Services Pat Dennis.

“For the students, it shows that given the right tools, equipment and guidance that they can brew world-class beer.

“For TAFE Queensland, it shows that the beer produced by the Froth Rookies is as good as any out on the market.”

The students entered their Pale Ale into the awards to get feedback and see where their beer ranked amongst commercial beers. The beer was a team effort between the course’s first full-time cohort and its second part-time cohort who brewed the scaled-up version of the beer for the first time.

“The students learned how to write a beer recipe, translate that into a product specification for others to follow and how to hit the numbers when brewing the beer for the first time,” Dennis explained.

The beer was brewed with Barrett Burston Border Malt, as well as Munich and Light Crystal malts and it’s hopped with Magnum, Mosaic and Cascade.

“The judges commented on the positive characteristics including high hop aroma and alluring golden colour of the beer,” said Dennis.

“They also gave us valuable feedback to be able to improve by aiming to reduce oxidation of the product. Something that we are able to measure going forward.”

The TAFE Queensland course, which is open to everyone from high school leavers to mature students, took in its second cohort in September last year.

It joins a series of other TAFE courses which have been springing up across the country to support the growth of the brewing industry.

Victoria is the latest state to develop a brewing course through a collaboration between Bendigo TAFE, the Kangan Institute and Bendigo Brewing last year, joining South Australia’s traineeship pilot scheme, and the TAFE NSW course, which has been in place for a number of years now.

“For many years, Australia has had a shortfall in access to formal education opportunities and it’s great that organisations like TAFE Queensland are starting to bridge the skills gap,” Dennis said.

“The mission of the Certificate III in Food Processing is to produce graduates who will help grow and improve Queensland’s beer industry.

“This will lead to better-skilled workers in the craft brewing industry which will lead to better product quality outcomes which will finally, grow sales in the craft beer space and lift the entire industry.

“Better beer means a better industry and this award win proves that we’re on the right path to achieving that.”

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