The microbrewing industry is growing tremendously, and now aspiring beer brewers can get the training they need starting at community college.
Home brewing has become a popular pastime for brew masters across the country. The art of mixing hops, malt and yeast to produce a wide range of beer flavors mixes the best science
and home economics have to offer. If this list sounds like a roster for higher education courses, that is apparently what some community colleges have thought as well! This craze has moved to campuses, with more and more colleges offering classes in how to brew the perfect glass of ale. We have a listing of some of the colleges featuring beer brewing training, along with the details of the courses they offer.
Cabrillo College Gets into the Brewing Act
California resident Mark Taylor has a love of beer brewing that dates back more than a decade. This amateur brew master mixes a variety of ales at home, and he keeps four beers on tap in a converted refrigerator. Taylor decided he wanted to share his love of his craft with others and sent proposals for a home brewing course to four different community colleges nearby. According to a report at the Santa Cruz Sentinel, those first four offers fell short, but another community college eventually took Taylor up on his offer.
Cabrillo College in Aptos decided to give Taylor's beer brewing class a go. 17 students signed up for the first five-week course – just one shy of a full load. The course is now offered three times a year, each semester and during the summer term, with each class reaching capacity. In addition to the basic brewing course, Taylor also teaches a one-day beer tasting course that allows students to sample microbrews from around the globe. This summer he will offer an additional one-day crash course in home brewing.
While Taylor fully enjoy brewing beer at home, he has no plans to take his concoctions commercial at this time. He told the Sentinel, "At home it's fun and you save money if you drink a lot of beer. Brewing commercially is work, but teaching is a blast."
In addition to his stint at Cabrillo College, Taylor takes his show on the road each winter to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where he also teaches.
Appalachian State University Trying to Sell its Own Brew
Beer brewing classes began going strong at Appalachian State University last year, and now the college is trying to take its expertise to the next level. The school has applied for the necessary permits to sell its concoctions at the Ivory Tower Brewery, located in the basement of the Broyhill Inn an Conference Center. According to an article at the Shelby Star
, the beers are crafted by professors and students in brewery classes. The hope is that these specialty brews will become a mainstay on the microbrew market in North Carolina, joining the other 50 or so breweries that currently make the state home.
The class at Appalachian State University, titled The Science, History and Business
of Beer and Brewing, is offered to 15 of the school's upper classmen every semester. According to a report in The Appalachian, classes include instruction on evaluating beers, style categories used to identify flavor compounds and tasting analysis. The idea for the course came in 2009 from chemistry professor Brett Taubman and biology professor Shea R. Tuberty.
Taubman told The Appalachian, "The main goal behind the course is to increase the appreciation of beer." By increasing appreciation, the school hopes to reduce binge drinking and alcohol abuse on the campus
Moving to the business end of brewing will be unchartered territory for the school, however, Taub told the Star, "With the production license, it is sort of untrodden territory. By getting the permitting, we'll be absolutely compliant under the eyes of the state and ABC. If we want to take it to the next level and sell the product, that's great because it makes it a self-sustaining program."
Astoria, Oregon, is a microbrew hub. Consider Clatsop County, which boasts no less than three of its own microbreweries and a host of pubs serving local concoctions, according to a report by the Coast River Business Journal. The Bend Visitors' Center offers tourists a map of all the local beer destinations. A resident of the area, Dan Bartlett, is currently putting together a brochure to help visitors take a self-guided tour of the local beer district.
With a beer renaissance going on in Astoria, Clatsop Community College
is considering getting into the act with courses in brewing – or even more. In the spirit of a true community college, this institution is looking at the industry of microbrewing in the area and determining how they could best meet the needs of their students with applicable training in this industry. Just like training in health care
, auto maintenance
or other middle training jobs
, CCC could prepare students for a rewarding career right in their own community.
CCC President Larry Galizio told the Journal, "We talked about how Oregon is a state where microbrews are a big industry. I think the college should be looking at the potential to train people in the industry. We might offer a certificate
. Who knows – maybe a program. This could be a signature program, unique to our college."
Beer brewing has now come to college, and students across the country are seizing the opportunity to learn more about this industry. Whether you want to brew for fun or profit, you may find a brewing program at a community college near you.