Lauren Hickey
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White Labs Yeast Essentials 2.0 Scholarship Recipients Announced
Scholarship Recipients
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The Pink Boots Society is proud to announce the two recipients of the 2019 White Labs Yeast Essentials 2.0 scholarship, each chosen by a selection committee of experienced women beer professionals who hold positions as brewers, educators and writers.

Amanda Mikolay of Urban Chestnut Brewing Company in St. Louis, MO is the national recipient and was selected to receive this scholarship by the committee because, “of all the applicants, she might have the MOST to learn from this course, which in this case is a good thing. Other applicants might simply refine their knowledge, but we predict she would grow by leaps and bounds with this education and continue to confidently pursue new opportunities.”

Amanda’s start in the world of beer was as a bartender in 2013, moving to her current employer in 2015 where she had a “hobby” of setting up blind taste tests with her co-workers. Although she had no formal brewing or lab education when a sensory internship opened up she applied and perhaps due in part to the QA/QC director noticing her “hobby,” she was offered the position. That began a year of learning during which she created a sensory program and afterward she moved into the full time role of Sensory Coordinator. A year later she has been promoted to Lab Specialist and is in charge of daily cellar reports, collecting samples and performing comprehensive tests.

The advancements Amanda has made so far have been due to her hard work, self study and an enthusiasm for sensory and lab techniques however she has been lacking formal training. When she saw this scholarship she applied knowing that, “The fundamentals of microbiological techniques would help immensely as I do not have an extensive background in microbiology. Any additional information regarding the analytical aspects of fermentation would excel my proficiency within the quality assurance lab. I would personally like to see myself get better with yeast propagation and development.”

In addition to furthering her own career she is excited about being able to share what she learns with her local chapter. She says, “Out of all of my talents, talking seems to be the strongest. I have given several off-flavor classes for various local breweries as well as a few informative lectures detailing my position as a women in a male dominated field. I believe that sharing is truly the best way we can help each other succeed.

Lauren Hickey of Lookout Farm Brewing & Cider Co. in Natick is the Boston Chapter recipient and was selected to receive this scholarship due to her “extensive laboratory experience and scientific background that will allow her to take full advantage of this opportunity in what is a new industry to her.”

Just last fall Lauren left the pharmaceutical industry after, “growing increasingly frustrated and jaded with the cut-throat, ultra-corporate culture.” Before she even qualified to be a member of the Pink Boots Society she connected with the Boston chapter who was able to assist her in landing her first job in the industry this January with a part-time QA/QC position at Lookout Farm.

While Lauren’s B.S. in Biology, thesis work and years of QC microbiology lab experience have given her proficiency with microbial culturing and testing techniques, she says, “I have limited experience with the techniques and theory specific to yeast and brewing.” Gaining hands-on knowledge in that area, an area that up to this point she has only read about, through this scholarship would build upon what she has learned so far at Lookout Farm. She will also be able to directly apply what she learns to her QA/QC role and hopefully further her career in brewing quality and yeast management.

The White Labs Yeast Essentials 2.0 is a two-day workshop at the White Labs Asheville facility that will cover details on setting up a lab and quality control programs along with general lab techniques to improve brewing operations. It will explore fermentation control points, how to maintain optimal yeast performance and develop desired flavor compounds, off-flavor detection, sensory of different yeast strains and troubleshooting problem fermentations.