Beer, Decoded

A hands-on event exploring the genetics and microbiology of beer open to Swiss alumni and friends. Pour, examine, and taste!

Event Details


swissnex San Francisco
730 Montgomery St., San Francisco, 94111 United States


February 20, 2016 from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm America/Los Angeles (UTC-08:00)


Free. Open alumni of Swiss higher education institutions and friends only. Request an invite:

Join Swiss alumni and students from the Swiss School of Business and Engineering Vaud (HEIG-VD) for a participatory evening decoding the secrets of beer. We welcome researchers and local breweries to uncover the science and business of the oldest alcoholic beverage on earth.

Alicia Taylor presents her research from UC Berkeley on the role that microbiology plays in the brewing process. To better understand fermentation, participants culture their own human microbes and compare them to samples taken from fermented food and beverages.

Guests also participate in the first transoceanic BeerDeCoded workshop using a DIY-biology kit, under the guidance of Gianpaolo Rando via Skype. Extract DNA from local Fort Point Beer Company brews, and contribute to growing the Tree of Beers citizen science project. Collected DNA will be sent back to Switzerland for analysis using genomics and bioinformatics.


6:30 pm           doors open
7:00 pm           presentations with Q&A
8:00 pm           workshops, tastings, and networking
9:30 pm           doors close


Colleen Fredericks

Colleen Fredericks serves as manager of Marketing and Events for Fort Point Beer Company. Colleen began her (recreational) career in craft beer in 2008 while studying abroad in the Czech Republic, where she first understood the merits of fresh, unfiltered beer. A passion for craft beer and the city of San Francisco led her to make the jump professionally to Fort Point Beer Company in 2015, the Bay Area’s fastest growing brewery. Prior to Fort Point, Colleen worked as a Client Advisor at Bessemer Trust, a financial services firm, as well as a Board Manager at Georgetown University’s Advancement Office. Colleen graduated from Georgetown University with degrees in Anthropology and English. She can be found most weekends doing fieldwork on new beer styles and assimilating into Bay Area brewery culture.

Steven Guidos

Steven Guidos serves as a sales representative for Fort Point Beer Company. He gained extensive craft beer knowledge working under Greg Engert, the face and voice of beer in Washington, D.C. He received laboratory training from the Division of Microbiology and Infectious Disease at NIH in Bethesda, MD, but it only fueled his passion to continue a career within the beer industry.  Prior to Fort Point, he was the laboratory manager at Bluejacket Brewing, focusing on cultivating in-house strains. Tasked with providing Fort Point beer to numerous well-known establishments in SF, he still manages to work on personal projects involving wild yeast and bacteria culturing for brewing.

Gianpaolo Rando

Gianpaolo Rando holds a Ph.D. in biotechnology, is an explorer of food-to-DNA trails, clock-to-DNA trails, and other DNA complications. His base camp is at the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and his playground at Hackuarium, an open DIY-biology lab in the Lausanne area of Switzerland. He co-founded the startup SwissDeCode with the vision that consumer genetics will not be that much about our own DNA, but rather all the DNA that surrounds us—beer included. He launched BeerDeCoded, a not-for-profit collaborative initiative between SwissDeCode and Hackuarium, as an open source project promoting public discussion on issues related to personal genomics. BeerDeCoded simply use beers as surrogates of individuals.

Alicia Taylor

Alicia Taylor is a postdoc at UC Berkeley in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology. She investigates interactions in the plant between microbes and environmental contaminants to better apply remediation strategies for contaminated soils. She received her doctorate in environmental toxicology from UC Riverside in 2015, where she conducted research related to the impact of microbial communities on human and environmental health using a model human-intestine bioreactor and septic system. She currently participates in outreach with Community Resources for Science, Bay Area Scientists in Schools, the California Academy of Sciences, and the Communication, Literacy, and Education for Agricultural Research Project.

More info

Fort Point Beer Company is a New American Brewery, shaped by deeply San Franciscan values: quality craftsmanship and a spirit of innovation. Founded in 2014 by brothers Tyler and Justin Catalana, Fort Point creates balanced, thoughtful beers that reference traditional styles but are no means bound to them. The Presidio based brewery strives to make beers that tell a story, inspire an idea, and are thoroughly enjoyable.


Photo: Myleen Hollero

Event Photos