BYOB: It's Brew Your Own Beer at some colleges.
When California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, fired up its gleaming new stainless steel brewery in December, it joined a small-but-growing number of colleges instructing students on how to produce high-quality craft beers. At the same time, it took the movement a step beyond -- kegging the results of their labors and selling it on campus.
"To make the beer here and sell the beer here and have a cafe and have an educational component, we're the first to have put all those pieces together," Aaron Neilson, director of dining services for the Cal Poly Foundation, said over a lunch of pizza and -- of course -- beer at the school's new Innovation Brew Works.
A few feet away, senior chemistry major Stephen Moser was in the back room of this former campus bookstore, brewing up a batch of ale. In a few weeks his work will end up in the glasses of patrons in the brew works' cafe, where signs at the front door remind people to drink responsibly.
"Right now my goal is to work for an established craft brewer," said Moser, who graduates in June. "I really want to do small batch projects, like creating new and interesting brews."
Although Cal Poly officials say theirs is the only college in the country to make its own beer and sell it on campus, that could soon change. Colorado State University expects to begin selling its microbrewed beer at a campus pub later this year, said Jim Francis, director of the school's Beverage Business Institute.
Students at the University of Wisconsin, Madison; Oregon State University; and other campuses around the country also make beer on campus.
A pioneer in the process is the University of California, Davis, where students have been brewing beer since the makers of Lucky Lager built them a microbrewery in 1959. Like the other campuses, however, Davis doesn't sell beer and has no plans to. Charlie Bamforth, the university's Anheuser-Busch endowed professor of brewing science, believes getting into the retail end of things would be a distraction for him and his students.
Asked what happens to his students' creations, his gives a reply guaranteed to send a shiver down any serious beer drinker's spine: "It all goes down the drain."
Well, almost all.
Students studying for bachelor's and master's degrees in fermentation do have to taste each batch to ensure what they have produced is not what Bamforth, a former Bass Ale executive, would dismiss as "absolute swill."
There's also an annual competition to determine the school's best brewmaster.
What's driving the interest in college brewing, beer makers say, is the increased fascination with craft beers. They note that the number of U.S. breweries has tripled over the past 10 years to about 3,000. That counts everything from those operated by industry giants to small regional producers.
"A lot of young people, 30 and under, consider themselves beer geeks," said Francis, whose school offers a degree in fermentation science.
In this Thursday, March 19, 2015, photo, Koby Harris, brewery production manager, left, and Sandra Cain, assistant director of retail operations, present their freshly brewed beers at Innovation Brew Works in the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona in Pomona, Calif. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
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|Date:||Apr 25, 2015|
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