Beer & Society, the International Malting and Brewing Symposium held in Leuven

From 17 to 20 October 2021, the International Malting and Brewing Symposium '14th International Trends in Brewing' took place at the beautiful University Hall in the historical center of Leuven. This symposium is jointly organized by KU Leuven, Technical University Berlin, University of Nottingham, Oregon State University, the Italian Brewing Research Centre (University of Perugia), the Siebel Institute of Technology and Ghent University. With prof. Kevin Verstrepen from KU Leuven as local host.

The theme of this edition was "Beer & Society", with four thematic sessions on sustainability, diversification, well-being and experience.The 14th edition of Trends in Brewing was co-organized with the J. De Clerck Chair XVII. The Chair was founded in 1983 by the Royal Association of Alumni of the Brewing Schools of the catholic University of Leuven (Leuven and Louvain-la-Neuve) to stimulate the permanent education of the brewing industries on recent scientific and technical developments. After previous editions in Ghent, Leuven had the honour to host the edition of 2021.

Professor, why did you choose to organize this conference in Leuven?

Leuven is an obvious choice to host this conference because it is truly the beer capital of the world. The city is located in Belgium, home to the biggest brewer in the world, as well as a university with a long-standing tradition in beer science and education.

As early as 1887, the faculty of bio-engineering, which was then essentially still an Agriculture faculty, was educating the brewers of the future and played a key role in making Belgium the most famous beer country on our planet, renowned for its innovative beers and brewing practices.

What did you or your participants enjoy most about their stay in Leuven?

I believe that the true power of the conference is its combination of high-level scientific lectures with long coffee (and beer!) breaks, allowing for more personal conversation and debate. The participants clearly enjoyed being able to meet in person again, after a long time. So, while the Corona pandemic was a true pain in the neck for us organisers since we were forced to delay the conference twice, I do believe that it made us all appreciate even more how collegial the atmosphere in the brewing world really is.

What everybody should know about (KU) Leuven is…

KU Leuven is truly one of the best universities in the world. This is clear from our position in the different global rankings, but perhaps even more so from our combination of high-level education and more translational research. Old, but definitely not old-fashioned!