Nov 192008
Authors: Brian Anthony

Students who have visited the Ramskeller recently might have noticed something new on tap — the newest ale from the Brewing Science and Technology course, Hoppy Days IPA.

The Indian Pale Ale, which Ramskeller bartender Mike Robinson called “popular,” is the class project of 20 students in the food sciences course.

“(Hoppy Days has a) distinctive bitter taste,” said Brewing Science and Technology course professor Jack Avens.

The students all created three similar beers — the IPA, a wheat-based beer and a stout beer — but always produced the IPA through Odell Brewing Company.

The class brews the beers in a 10-gallon micro brewing system donated by Odells.

Doug Odell, the founder of Odell Brewing Company, said, “Odell Brewing Company values the connection with the CSU community” and called it one of the reasons the company donated the equipment.

“I think our direct involvement is benefiting the class,” he said. “They can brew on a commercial scale.”

Each semester, the students brew five barrels worth of their first product at Odell Brewing Company for distribution. Each barrel is approximately 31 gallons.

The American style IPA the class made was brewed at Odells Brewing Company, and “it took all day (to brew) on October 25,” Avens said. “Odell supervised.”

“We decided three years ago that IPAs would be our first brew. It’s a distinctive brew. It’s something we want to do experimentally,” Avens said.

Odells spokesperson Amanda Johnson said that the taste of Hoppy Days compares to that of most other American IPAs, and Odell said Hoppy Days shares similarities to Odell’s IPA.

“They share some of the same hops. They’re both American style IPAs, so they’re more aggressively hopped,” Odell said. “There is a little difference in flavor, color and aroma.”

Johnson said that an IPA has more hops, and this batch uses three different kinds of hops: Columbus, Amarillo and Centennial.

“IPAs usually are very good beers. Just depends on if you like it or not,” said Ramskeller manager Geoff Valdez. “It’s a very flavorful IPA. I like it. It has three different kinds of hops, so it puts out a good smell, good taste.”

The Brewing Science and Technology course, in its fourth year, is offered every semester to senior-level science majors and requires students to be 21-years-old or older with a strong science background in chemistry and biology, Avens said.

The course focuses on showing students the commercial side of breweries, as well as “converting grains and hops into food. And that food happens to be beer and ale,” Avens said. “It’s not a course about home brewing. It’s about the commercial side of breweries.”

To understand the full commercial side of the industry, the class tours every brewery in Fort Collins.

Avens said, “We’re so fortunate to have six commercial breweries in town, so the students can interact with them.”

All six breweries in the area contribute in one form or another to the class.

Hoppy Days is currently featured at the Ramskeller and Odell Brewing Company’s Tap Room. Valdez said the Ramskeller likes to support things associated with CSU.

“They did it the right way; they went through a brewery that we deal with,” Valdez said. “We jumped on the opportunity to bring it to the college students. We think it’s brought some exposure to class. I think it brings the ability to showcase a beer like this.”

Hoppy Days IPA is the third beer brewed at Odells by the class in its four-year history and is the third beer that has been carried by the Ramskeller.

Profits from sales return to Odell Brewing Company, and go into what Odell said was the “regular sales income.”

None of the beer produced by the students is sold. The second and third brews are divided among the students to take home.

“Each student may get two or three bottles that they make to take off the premises,” Avens said.

Meanwhile, Valdez predicted that Hoppy Days IPA, which is in limited supply, might be gone by the end of this week.

“Once it’s gone, it’s gone,” Valdez said.

Staff writer Brian Anthony can be reached at

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