From the earliest historical records we have, it’s clear that Britain has always loved its beer and ale. We can say for a fact that when the Romans arrived in Britain around 43AD, they found a surprisingly diverse range of brewed drinks, including a honey-based mead and a malted drink made from local grasses. In fact, a number of words still used in brewing today – malt, mash, wort, and ale among others – are derived from Anglo-Saxon. From these early beginnings (and how old these traditions were already is difficult to say), ale and beer went on to become the most commonly consumed beverage of the middle ages and early modern periods. Whether rich or poor, old or young, these were regular accompaniments to daily meals – do say nothing of more extravagant social occasions in noble households. Thomas Elyot, a renowned sixteenth-century scholar, went so far as to declare ale as “a necessary & conuenient drynk, as well in syknes as in heth.”
Today, Britain’s love affair with its brewed beverages continues unabated. According to the Beer & Pub Association, some 20 million pints of beer are consumed every day across nearly 50,000 pubs – 82% of which is brewed in the UK. Brewing, in short, is an industry at the heart of the social life of Britain, and a major employer across the country. The staff here at the AFTP happily admit we enjoy our beer – though my own time in Yorkshire left me with a deep fondness for ales of all sorts!
Our interest is not just personal: across our partner institutions we have a number of modules that cover topics across the entire length of the brewing industry. You can get an introduction to the underlying biology of brewing in Brewing Microbiology; explore the latest science and practical handling of yeast in Brewery Yeast Management; learn the cutting-edge production processes in Brewhouse Processes; or discover the principles of developing and creating flavours in Beer Flavour Development and Sensory Analysis. Taken individually or together, these modules offer the chance to explore cutting-edge research and the latest industry technologies, whether to develop your own skills or to bring new ideas to your business. All four modules are run online, and as a result can be studied around your professional and personal commitments, and regardless of your location.
In news around the world, brewing seems to serve up stories every bit as varied as its beverages:
Brewers fear the impact of larger breweries on the craft beer market according to the Guardian.
Alcohol is a better analgesic than traditional painkillers the Independent reports.
AgriFood Training Partnership
The University of Reading
PO Box 226, Whiteknights
Reading RG6 6AP