A lot of people procrastinate. I know I do it now as an adult, and I sure as heck did it a lot as a uni student.
This was also the case with Monash University chemical engineering student Shivam Tandon. However, where I spent time playing video games, he did something far more productive – learning to brew – which has in turn led to the creation of an exciting new brewing project.
As he started to hone his brewing skills, Shivam began to see similarities between what he was doing at home and what he had been learning in class.
“I started brewing out of sheer procrastination,” he says, laughing. “I was just brewing in my dorm room at uni.
"Once I really started to delve deeper into the science, I could see a bunch of the concepts from my engineering studies applied to brewing.”
He continued to brew, often receiving glowing reviews from his friends, before a perfect opportunity arose for him to take his knowledge to the next level.
“I saw on the uni noticeboard that Monash was starting a brewing team,” he says. “It was perfect timing ... I applied right away. That’s where I met Daniel Rojas and Gina Pacheco – that’s where the seeds of Scholars Ink were planted."
The three of them joined the Monash Brewlab team at the ground level and, over the next few years, the size of the team ballooned, as did their experience. As they approached the end of their time at the university, the trio decided they were not ready to stop brewing, instead making the decision to take their passion to the next level by starting their own brewing company, Scholars Ink.
First established in October 2019, the team spent the majority of 2020 getting everything in place on the business side of Scholars Ink, while also honing their brews, for which they enjoyed great support from their partners at Burnley Brewing.
Their work finally reached the public with a pair of beers launched at the start of 2021 – the Alpha Mango Lassi Sour and Black Dwarf Session Dark Ale. It's not exactly the most approachable of debut pairings, yet Shivam says this was a deliberate move.
“For both beers, we wanted to use science as a vessel for creativity,” he says. “Innovation plays a massive role in everything we do. Our whole idea was to be different, to be innovative.
"We didn’t want to be safe at launch, we wanted to do something really special.”
After a positive response to the launch, the trio are hosting an evening this Saturday (April 24) at Burnley's brewpub in Richmond where they will not only see their product running through taps for the first time, but will also reveal more about the future of the project.
“The biggest part of the event will be the announcement that we’ll be rebranding Scholars Ink to The Zythologist,” Shivam revealed.
“We want to be so much more than a brewery, and we want the brand to represent that. We’re going to be expanding into different areas, mainly partnering with Monash University and offering more things on the educational side of brewing.
“Our long term goal is to have our own brewing course at Monash, which could act as a pathway to harnessing talent.”
You can join the Zythologists at Burnley's brewpub from 6pm on April 24, 2021.
You can read our story about the brewing classes offered by the University of Melbourne here.