University Offers “Honors Chemistry: Intro to Brewing Beer”

That’s an “A” in my book…

It looks like it’s time for me to go back to school.  NPR is reporting that Appalachian State University will soon have a carboy cozied up to their Agilent 6850 Series II Gas Chromatographer and a brew kettle bubbling next to the Dionex ICS 1000 (with anion exchange column, of course!).  That’s right – they are giving chemistry students the chance to brew beer for college credit.  

According to the report, the idea met with resistance from the head of the chemistry department and some of the professors, but the robust student response (what a shock) got Honors Chemistry: Intro to Brewing Beer the green light.

Sensing a chance to boost enrollment, Appalachian State is now looking to take their commitment to the ancient art of brewing to the next level.  There is talk of adding Fermentation as a major, creating an on-campus brewery, and they have applied for state and federal permits to sell beer.  I wonder how this will affect their Party School rank in the Princeton Review?

With the craft beer juggernaut continuing its rapid ascent, it makes sense to give kids who are interested in the science of brewing a chance to learn how to do it right. There are careers in beer out there, and Appalachian State is giving their students a keg up leg up.

Now they just have to figure out a way to keep the co-eds from skinny dipping in the bottling tanks. 😉



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25 Comments on “University Offers “Honors Chemistry: Intro to Brewing Beer””

  1. February 22, 2011 at 11:54 am #

    Nice to see that there’s more schools like this opening in the US. I had to travel to Scotland to do it. I’d like to see more accredited US schools offering degrees in Brewing or Brewing and Distilling.

  2. February 22, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

    I agree. I think it shows how much a part of our culture beer has become.

    When I went to school, I could only minor in beer here in the States, and that was only for drinking it. 🙂

  3. February 22, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    First, they beat Michigan in the “Big House.” Now this? I love me some App State, yo.

    • February 22, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

      Holy crap! I was logged in under a work account without realizing it. I think I have too many blogs and accompanying accounts.

      • February 22, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

        Or you’ve had too many beers. 😉

    • February 22, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

      Spoken like a true Buckeye, Zac.

  4. corbomite
    February 22, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

    Auburn University is also in the very early stages of starting a fully accredited brewing program.
    +1 for the Southeast.

    • February 22, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

      I get the sense that this is going to be a recruitment tool that many universities embrace.

    • March 1, 2011 at 11:52 am #

      Virginia Tech has a pretty good Brewing Science course (complete with weekly Sunday brewing sessions!) that has exploded in the past 5 or 6 years. There used to be 6 or 7 kids enrolled, but now it’s up above 200. It’s not a full program, but it’s certainly a start. +1 one more for the Southeast.

      • Don
        March 1, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

        I love the fact that this is becoming a movement within State run universities! It is a very good thing.

  5. February 22, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

    That looks like a blast. I suppose there’s a chance it might serve the negative function of disillusioning kids who are excited about beer but don’t realize the full chemistry behind it… but that’s a small price to pay for something cool like this.

    I work at a university that has a Harry Potter class. I’m not sure why I confessed that, because that’s a big dent in the ol’ party ranking.

    • February 22, 2011 at 12:52 pm #

      Unless they party with a 20-sided die, John! And those LARPers can get NUTS!!

      On the beer front, at least it’ll get some of the idiots out of the Communications program. When I went to school, there was a lot of dead weight in the department, kids who were like “I like to watch tee-vee, so I’ll learn to make tee-vee.” Now they can follow their passion for cheap beer instead.

  6. February 22, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    That’s exciting! If you can get a Master’s in winemaking from UC Davis, or get a food science degree from Cornell, then why not a degree in brewing and distilling? Makes perfect sense to me!

    • February 22, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

      I’m actually surprised this wasn’t already happening across the country.

  7. Jake
    February 22, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

    This is a great reward for the kids busting their humps to get through a chemistry major. My head still hurts from taking organic chem over 10 years ago!

    • February 22, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

      And it’s far better than them using the lab to concoct other fun chemicals that go well with glo-sticks.

      • Jake
        February 22, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

        and Dr. Seuss hats! I’ll bet the success of “Breaking Bad” has spawned a good number of chemists turned meth cooks. Making beer is better. You can sample your produce without losing your teeth.

        • February 22, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

          True. And the chances that you’ll blow yourself up are greatly reduced as well.

        • Don
          February 22, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

          I don’t know Jim…Bayou Burner…Nuff said.

  8. February 23, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

    I just want to point out that the University of Wisconsin-Madison has a very sophisticated fermentation sciences class that has been going for a while now, and brewing beer is part of the course.

    • February 23, 2011 at 3:48 pm #

      That’s not surprising, what with your proximity to New Glarus. I’d do a lot of “research” there if I was a Fermentation major.

  9. February 23, 2011 at 7:09 pm #

    Nice! I like how more attention is being given to brewing beer by colleges now… with all these micro-breweries appearing out of nowhere, it is only a matter of time before more well known colleges offer it as a career…


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