Feb 222011
Authors: Erin Udell

A common Friday afternoon for most CSU students probably includes enjoying a few beers in the Ramskeller after class, but for those in FTEC 460, they’re not drinking it; they’re brewing it.

FTEC 460, or Brewing Science and Technology, is offered through the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, giving students the opportunity to learn how to brew, ferment, package and evaluate micro-brewed-style beers.

As one of the only classes of its kind, FTEC 460 was created six years ago by Professor Jack Avens with the help of then-graduate student Dave Davis.
“There’s a need for such a course in Colorado,” Avens said. “Colorado is the leading beer production state in the nation and CSU is the land-grant state university — teaching students about researching food from farm to table.”

Avens received his bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University before completing his master’s degree and doctorate in animal science from CSU.

The three-credit course has been going strong for nine semesters, with Avens running a weekly lecture and students meeting with instructors on Friday afternoons to learn the highly scientific and technical process of brewing.

According to Kevin Davis and Dan Strevey, both brewers and instructors for the class, Fridays are used for a hands-on approach of brewery science — allowing students to brew the beer themselves.

Students must also attend five Saturday field trips throughout the semester, meeting at the class’ brewing lab located on campus in the Gifford building, as well as separate trips to the Equinox Brewing Co. and Odell Brewing Co.

There are about 20 students in the class in a given semester, but Avens said around seven to eight students may continue on, seeking a career in the brewing industry. But the course is not to be taken lightly, Avens said.

With the class intended for senior science majors interested in careers in applied science, all students must have completed 60 credit hours, an organic chemistry class and be at least 21 years old.

“I’d been home brewing for three or four years, and I decided (FTEC 460) was something I wanted to do, so I got the prerequisites out of the way and did it,” said Cooper Pond, a senior soil and crop science major who is currently taking the course.

He said class with Avens is never boring.

“He’s really energetic and really enthusiastic about what he does,” Pond said.

As for Avens, while he gets to prepare students for career positions in the brewing industry, he also gets to enjoy a rarity that most professors don’t.
“The students are actually excited to come to class on Thursday and Friday afternoons,” Avens said.

Senior Reporter Erin Udell can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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