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Letter from the President
By Chris White

As president of White Labs, nothing brings me more satisfaction than seeing brewers making great beer. I especially enjoy visiting brewers at their facilities or at conferences. There are few better places to visit, in terms of beer and beer history, than Europe.

Here is a condensed account of a recent trip to Europe, complete with brewery tours, beer tips and friendly faces.

On May 15, I arrived for the International Congress of European Brewery Convention in Prague. It was about a 12-hour flight from San Diego, with stops in between, of course. When I arrived in the Czech Republic at about 5 p.m., I found the hotel, changed and headed right for the conference. It was wonderful. They had a nice reception with a band and about 1,000 attendees. Besides meeting some new friends from Europe, I encountered brewers from the U.S., including Boulevard Brewing Co. (Kansas City), Stone Brewing Co. (San Diego), and Sierra Nevada (Northern California), among others.

The conferences started the next day, and they were taken very seriously by the beer scientists who presented as well as attendees such as myself. The yeast discussions were particularly enlightening, including a presentation by Brian Gibson of Oxford Brookes University about the stress placed on yeast through oxidation. Gibsonís research involved examining the DNA of lager yeast.

In all, there were three days of scientific conferences. More than 800 delegates attended and there were 60 exhibiting companies. On the last day conference attendees visited a number of Czech breweries, including Budweiser Budvar. (For more on my visit to Budweiser Budvar, turn to "Style Matters" on Page 1 and read my observations under the category "Yeast Notes.")

The next day, we left for Denmark to visit breweries, and I gave a seminar in Copenhagen.

A few days later I was back on the plane to the United States. Everything until this point was wonderful. But going halfway around the world on a plane can be grueling, as anybody who takes business trips knows all too well.

Or was it the commotion from the festivals? Itís okay with me.

I am ready for the next trip.

Chris White is President of White Labs Inc. and is a chemistry and biochemistry lecturer at the University of California, San Diego. He has a Ph.D in biochemistry. Contact him at cwhite@whitelabs.com