The official summer doesnâ€™t end until September 21st, but that means nothing for most of us. Summer is done when school starts. Whether youâ€™re ushering kiddies off to middle school (bless you), about to start your final year of college (f*** you), or somewhere in between (I feel you), that summer buzz dies when the first bell rings.
But what if it didnâ€™t? What if back-to-school was just a time to continue the party, or at least the science behind the party? For anyone lucky and bold enough to pursue a degree in fermentation science, this fantasy is the reality. After dabbling in three rounds of my own homebrew (IPA, Dubbel, Porter, in case youâ€™re wondering), I canâ€™t say I havenâ€™t itched to test and grow my knowledge in a classroom setting, but three things are keeping my silly dreams at bay:
1. Iâ€™m already living out one set of silly dreams in my pursuit of a career as a writer.
2. School is EXPENSIVE. The only thing more expensive than school is a child- an actual human being- and they really only get in on the technicality that if all goes well, they will eventually attend… school.
3. I know I made that joke before about studying the science of partying, but that was just to help create a colorful intro to draw you in (SECRETS OF WRITING HERE). The science and math behind beer and wine is still science and math: chemistry, accounting, bacterial genetics, and other studies I canâ€™t begin to pronounce.
HOWEVER, should you decide that these setbacks do not apply to you, here are three brewing schools you should check out:
1. UC Davis – As a part of UC Davis Extension, Davisâ€™ continued and professional education arm, the brewing programs came about in 1991 as a collaboration with faculty of the undergraduate fermentation science program (theyâ€™re teaching beer to undergrads!). Davisâ€™ program stands out as the only North American program of its kind to be recognized by the â€œprestigious Institute of Brewing and Distilling in Londonâ€ (which Iâ€™ve never heard of, but totally believe is a thing).
2. Weihenstephan – What if you found out Dogfish Head or Rogue or… Evan Williams was not just a delicious thing to drink, but also a school at which you could make delicious things to drink? Those arenâ€™t yet (but if Evan U. ever opens its doors, I call first dorm).
At the Technical University of Munichâ€™s Weihenstephan (Freising) campus, you can learn to create beautiful brews at (or near?) the very brewery that crafts Weihenstephan (Iâ€™ll be honest; a lot of the literatureâ€™s in German so I canâ€™t totally figure this out, but itâ€™s definitely on the Brewerâ€™s Associationâ€™s list of brewing schools here).
3. Siebel Institute of Technology – Celebrating its 140th anniversary this year, this Chicago-based brewing academy survived prohibition by briefly branching out to other technical studied: â€œbaking, refrigeration, engineering, milling, carbonated beveragesâ€ and more. Thankfully back to itâ€™s original purpose, the current school sits across from Chicagoâ€™s famous Goose Island Brewery and offers the full Diploma Course in Brewing Technology, as well as shorter courses in specialized brewing skills.
These were my favorites, but if youâ€™re looking for information on other schools, or programs specializing in beer knowledge and service (such as the Cicerone Certification Program), check out the Brewers Association list (here’s that link again).