Charlie Bamforth—the Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor of Malting and Brewing Sciences at UC Davis—is a legend in the world of fermented beverages. Many of the brew masters leading the renaissance in beer making today studied under his tutelage.
Three of the brewing industry’s professional organizations this year have or will be honoring the “Pope of Foam” with awards that speak to a lifetime of accomplishments.
In May, Bamforth received the 2018 Brewers Association Recognition Award, which is given to individuals who inspire, defend and innovate within the craft brewing industry to an exceptional degree. “Charles Bamforth trained a generation of brewers as an author, mentor, leader, teacher, professor and beer enthusiast,” the association stated in announcing the award.
Bamforth will be recognized in August with an Award of Honor from the Master Brewers Association of the Americas at the organization’s summit in San Diego. The Award of Honor is given to a Master Brewers member who has delivered significant contributions to brewing science, technology and operations that have benefited the association. The award is bestowed only in years when there is an exceptional member who fits the criteria.
Finally, the Institute of Brewing and Distilling will award Bamforth the Horace Brown Medal this September in London, England. The award is the highest within the institute and is made for “eminent services on the scientific or technical side of the fermentation industries.”
The institute is a members’ organization recognized throughout the professions of malting, brewing, distilling and cider making. With more than 4,500 members in over 90 countries, it is the largest and only worldwide organization for these professions.
Bamforth has been in the brewing industry since 1978. He moved from England to California in 1999 to become professor of malting and brewing sciences at UC Davis and has thrived in that role, helping bring international recognition and significant philanthropic support to the brewing program. Under his watch the facilities dedicated to malting and brewing on campus have been upgraded dramatically. He is an honorary professor in the School of Biosciences at the University of Nottingham and is immediate past president of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling. Bamforth recently retired as editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Society of Brewing Chemists after 18 years in the role.
His research has covered the full gamut of characteristics that make for good beer, such as flavor and foam stability, chemistry and perception, barley composition, and the wholesomeness of beer in a healthful diet. He has written extensively about brewing and has published a number of books, including Standards of Brewing and Scientific Principles of Malting and Brewing.
Bamforth is fond of pointing out that brewing is humankind’s oldest biotechnology. “These days it is a sophisticated operation, based on an in-depth understanding derived from a range of scientific disciplines,” he said. “Yet it retains the charm of an art form appreciated by billions of people the world over.”