CMU untaps plans for beer brewing program

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (Detroit Free Press) -- Most college students are very familiar with beer - but mostly with what keg prices are and how many they'll need for their tailgate.

Now, they can get academic credit for spending their time around it.

Central Michigan University is putting the final touches on a certificate program in fermentation science‚Äč. It's slated to start in the fall of 2015 and teach students all they need to know about brewing beer. It would be the first such program in the state.

Students would take a mix of advanced sciences such as biochemistry, chemistry and microbiology, with lecture-based and hands-on laboratory courses that cover brewing from farm to glass. An internship of at least 200 hours in a production-scale facility would be required.

There is also a skill to brewing, said Jim Holton, the owner of Mountain Town Station Brewing Co. and Restaurant and Mount Pleasant Brewing Company. "To me, the more beer you brew, the better you get at it."

"What once was a hobby to brew beer requires more skills than ever to exceed customer expectations. I believe CMU is on the cutting-edge of a great program to help educate individuals on the art and science of brewing with an emphasis on fermentation science," Holton said.

Michigan has seen beer brewing explode in recent year. Two malt houses, a brewing yeast supplier, a brewing system manufacturer and hundreds of acres of hops have emerged during the past five years, according to CMU officials.

"The undergraduate certificate in fermentation science will fill a need in the state and across the region for students to learn the science and technology underlying brewing," Cordell DeMattei, CMU director of fermentation science, said. "This opportunity expands CMU's leadership in the sciences and provides the training needed by future leaders of the craft brewing industry."

Contact David Jesse: 313-222-8851 or djesse@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter at @reporterdavidj


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