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Members of Auburn Brew Club helping to develop Auburn’s new brewing program curriculum

Dr. Curt Bird (far left), Professor of Molecular and Cancer Genetics in Auburn’s Department of Pathobiology, and Dr. Julie Howe (sitting), an assistant professor in Auburn’s Department of Agronomy and Soils, pose for a photo at an Auburn Brew Club meeting in 2011. Both are helping develop the curriculum for Auburn’s new graduate-level brewing program.

Another reason that “small but active home brew club” we mentioned in our earlier post is excited about Auburn’s new graduate level program in beer brewing? Some of their members are helping to develop the curriculum.

“It will be one of only three such programs currently offered in the United States,” says Dr. Julie Howe, an assistant professor in Auburn’s Department of Agronomy and Soils, and a four-year member of the Auburn Brew Club. “We have had a lot of interest in the course”–so much that the program will initially have to limit enrollment. But fear not, academic drinkers. Howe says additional courses both on and off campus are likely to be offered “at a more introductory level.”

“The brewing certificate program is starting out as a distance education program. Thus, we will not have classes on campus initially,” Howe says. “However, we are building a lab/small scale brewery for the program that will be located in the Poultry Science building. Here we will do many of the demonstrations for the distance courses.”

Howe says the program’s curriculum is composed of six 3-hour courses: The Business of Brewing, Brewing Materials, Science of Brewing I, Science of Brewing II, Facilities and Operations, and Internship – The Practice of Brewing.

Here’s a statement about the program from Auburn’s College of Human Sciences:

The Graduate Certificate Program is designed to provide opportunities for those wishing to gain the theoretical knowledge and practical skills to pursue a career in the brewing industry or update their current brewing qualifications. It is also designed to meet the credentialing needs of professionals in the growing niche of the craft brewing industry. Curriculum includes the science underlying brewing, materials and worts, yeasts, fermentation and brewing, packaging technology and includes practical experience in a micro-brewery and work practicum within the industry. More specifically the course aims to enable students to:

– Develop and understanding of the field of brewing and the breadth of knowledge and disciplines covered in the field.
– Develop in students the knowledge, understanding and subject-skills related to the science and technology of malting and brewing.
– Develop a sound understanding of the policy, legislation, health and safety issues of concern to the brewing industry.
– Develop an appreciation of the broad business environment and operational and functional skills necessary to bring a product to market and help it find a sustainable competitive edge.

Howe says the program has partnered with the Institute of Brewing and Distillery (IBD) in order to allow Auburn students to the IBD qualification exam.

“We intend to prepare students to pass this exam.”

One obvious question–how will the school get around, you know, the law? Home brewing, despite gallant efforts to legitimize it in the eyes of state legislators, is still technically illegal in Alabama.

But Howe says that since “the purpose of the brewing activities on campus is for demonstration, not consumption,” home brewing laws likely won’t apply.

Related: Beer and Bragging Rights: Auburn Brew Club wins bet, quaffs case of Oregon home brew.

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