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Faculty of Engineering Opens New Brewery on Campus

Posted by Engineering Communications on October 31, 2017 in News
Dal Engineering alumni celebrate the opening of the new TUNS Brewery
Dal Engineering alumni celebrate the opening of the new TUNS Brewery

Nova Scotia has a long history of brew making in Canada. With almost forty craft breweries in the province, Nova Scotia now hosts more craft breweries per capita than any other province in Canada. This fall, one more beer maker has joined that growing list: Dalhousie University.

For many years, Dalhousie’s Faculty of Engineering has offered a series of brewing courses and workshops to its students. Having outgrown its existing-brewing equipment, the Faculty has now taken their teaching and research efforts to the next level, acquiring a brewing license and $50,000 worth of large scale beer-making equipment. With the purchase, they have now officially opened a new brewery on Sexton campus.

Housed on the first floor of the Food Science Pilot Plant, it will be known as the TUNS Brewery. “I think the name pays homage to our past and it’s a nice play on words,” says Allan Paulson, a Faculty member in Engineering and the Director of the Canadian Institute of Fermentation Technology (CIFT).

“The new name is a double entendre in that the school used to be TUNS (Technical University of Nova Scotia), but there are also brew-house vessels called “mash tuns or brew tuns.”

With funding provided through the Faculty and CIFT, the brewery officially opened its doors in October. A long-time Institute of the Faculty of Engineering, CIFT is a specialized resource centre of advanced technology for research, and outreach in food science and process engineering with an emphasis on food fermentation.

Paulson, who has been the Director of CIFT for 7 years, says the brewery will allow students to experiment with new products and try different fermentation processes. Most of these students will be undergraduates from the Faculty’s Department of Chemical Engineering, and a new crop of Masters students who started their program in September.

“The longer-range plan is to launch a non-thesis Masters in Brewing Science and Engineering,” he says. “So this (the Brewery) fits into the educational mandate of the university. Plus, we have developed a number of short courses, workshops and analytical services for people that are in the business right now or are contemplating starting brewing.”

With the help of world recognized brewing scientist and Dal Professor, Alex Speers, students within the engineering program will have the opportunity to brew their own beer and learn about all aspects of the fermentation processes.

Paulson says with the newly acquired liquor license, beers brewed within the Brewery will be served at three different locations on campus: The T-Room on Sexton Campus, and the Grad House and Grawood on Dal’s Studley Campus.

Although a small-scale operation, he adds that the brewery’s main purpose is to advance the education and teaching of students, provide outreach opportunities for faculty and facilitate faculty research.

“Our plan is not to compete with other breweries, but to showcase the capabilities of our students and to get students, faculty, industry and the public interested in what we’re doing.”

Paulson says he hopes the TUNS Brewery will serve as a means of further building strong industry connections for the Faculty of Engineering.

“We believe that Dal is in an excellent position to support the growing Atlantic Canadian fermented products industry due to its location, analytical capabilities, and the expertise of the faculty. This new facility will greatly expand our capabilities while helping to support the industry as a whole.”