Beer n College – and Not the Way You Imagine It

CIA Brewery

The Culinary Institute of America is one of the most prestigious culinary colleges in the country. So it’s no surprise they are at the vanguard of new programs and offerings, including concentrations (similar to minors) in Advanced Wine, Beverage, and Hospitality.

It’s exactly that program that will be seeing a major change later this year: the addition of an on-campus brewery.

How did it all start? Douglass Miller, associate professor of hospitality and service management at The Culinary Institute of America, first pitched the idea of an on-campus brewery in the spring of 2013. Later that year, a relationship with Brooklyn Brewery and the CIA began. The result? The Brooklyn Brewery at the CIA will start producing beer in the summer of 2015, with the first class starting September 2015. “In the fall of 2015, students who are of age, as well as the general public, will be able to enjoy the beer made on campus,” Miller says.

What does that mean for students? According to Miller, the CIA will soon have a fully functional, eight-barrel brewing system located in the new Student Commons building (currently under expansion). “With the support of Brooklyn Brewery, students in the bachelor’s degree program will be able to take an elective course about brewing,” Miller explains. “The class will expose students to the art and science of brewing.”

And things won’t stop there, as Miller explains that the beer students make will be available for sale, on tap, in the four on-campus restaurants, as well as in the Student Commons. “There will be several CIA signature beers as well as seasonal beer that will change throughout the year,” Miller says. “In addition, beer made in the brewery will be served at special events for the campus community, such as graduations and the annual CIA chili cook-off.”

This is an important move for the CIA because the brewing class will help educate future hospitality industry leaders on how beer is made. “The CIA will not become a brewing school but instead, the brewing class will expose students to information that they will need if they decide to pursue a degree in brewing science,” he explains. “In addition, with the increased amount of brew pubs across the country, the brewing class at the CIA will help educate students how to better manage a beer-focused restaurant.”

What the Class Will Entail
According to Miller, the semester-long brewing class will have both a lab and a lecture component. Some of the lecture topics that will be covered in the class will be on beer fermentation, impact of brewing ingredients, brewery operations, writing beer recipes, and cleaning and sanitation. “The lab portion of the class will take place in the brewery where students learn to make beer in a hands-on environment,” Miller explain. “World-renowned beer expert and head brewer from Brooklyn Brewery Garrett Oliver is assisting CIA faculty in writing the curriculum for the class.”

Another thing the brewery will offer, according to Miller, is the help of a full-time brewer who will assist in educating the students along with the professor of the class. “Brooklyn Brewery will be a continued partner with the CIA when it comes to brewing education, including some of their brewers assisting the CIA brewer in producing special brews,” says Miller.

If that’s not enough, the CIA will also offer a second beer class that will focus on the history of brewing, basic beer production, and how to operate a beer program in a hospitality setting. “In the lecture-only semester-long class, students participate in tastings of different beers from around the world. In conjunction with the lectures, the tastings expose students to the different beer styles,” Miller says. Plus, the students will also learn how to pair beer with food.

The bottom line? The Brooklyn Brewery at the CIA will be an educational environment for students to learn about beer, according to Miller. “Students who take the class will pursue a wide range of positions in the hospitality and the growing beer industry, not only in New York State, but all over the country,” he adds.

Diana Bocco is a writer and author who writes for Yahoo!, the Discovery Channel website, Marie Claire, Poplar Mechanics, and more. You can find more about her work on her website

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