Oct 182007
Authors: Aaron Rognstad

From the farm to the table, students on campus can study the beer brewing process while earning college credit.

Professor Jack Avens and graduate students Jeff Callaway with Donna LaChey form the team that teaches FTEC 460, Brewing Science and Technology, a hands-on course that educates the student on all aspects of brewing beer.

The students will be demonstrating the brewing procedure with their third brew of the semester today on the south patio of the Gifford Building at 2:30 p.m.

Steve Presley, senior assistant brewmaster from the Fort Collins Anheuser Busch plant, along with five other local brewmasters, will be on hand while live music plays to work with the students in perfecting their craft.

“So far our beers have turned out pretty well and hopefully this one is going to be the best of them off all, especially since we’re taking our recipe to Odell’s to make five barrels,” said Kevin Murphy, a senior mechanical engineering student and avid home brewer.

Odell Brewing, a Fort Collins brewery, and the Ramskeller will have an English style Indian pale ale on tap from the class’ first brew after Thanksgiving break for a limited time.

“I’m definitely excited to see how this last beer will turn out,” said Sam Doniach, a senior biology student who wants to make beer brewing a career after college.

FTEC 460 gives the students the hands-on training they need and familiarizes them with the equipment that they will be using in the brewing industry, students said.

Students go on field trips to all six of the breweries in Fort Collins and learn about brewing on a micro to macro level.

“There is no other class like this being offered in the region,” Avens said. “It’s very popular, and we have to turn students away.”

Avens said a former graduate student he taught inspired him to come up with the concept of the class. Now current graduate students help him teach the course.

“It’s really interesting to help teach the class and to work with the other two instructors,” said Callaway, a graduate student studying animal science. “It also opens doors in the industry.”

Callaway, who began making his own beer two years ago, brews at least two to three times a month, and like many of the students in the class, seeks to open his own brewery. He is the brewmaster of the class and applies the unique concepts of brewing to the classroom and lab.

“I’ve been homebrewing as a hobby for years and years and have fiddled with fermentation of all types,” Lachey said.

Lachey helps get class materials and lab equipment together and helps out the students if they need assistance.

Getting into the class could be a little tricky.

Students interested in the course must be 21 and have a prerequisite of organic chemistry to be considered. It is offered only fall semester, has a waiting list and Avens personally interviews all who seek to take the course.

“This isn’t a class for some kid who wants to drink beer,” Avens said. “You have to be scientifically minded.”

Staff writer Aaron Rognstad can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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