Fermentation is our friend. Converting carbohydrates into alcohols is (how shall we say?) kind of important in the craft brewing process. It’s actually quite a science, and the folks at Central Michigan University‘s College of Science and Technology are looking for a few up-and-coming brewing chemists that are interested in delving into the hard sciences of hands-on fermentation.
CMU’s program is the first of its kind in Michigan to provide a hands-on education focused on craft beer and is expected to appeal to students both in and outside the sciences, as well as to brewery employees looking to advance their careers. Those who take the program will be prepared for industry wide certification tests such as the Institute of Brewers and Distillers General Brewing Certificate and their Diploma in Brewing Modules.
“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.”
Similar to other university programs, students interested in the fermentation science program would apply to CMU to be admitted.
Once enrolled, they would take five proposed advanced science classes that would cover all steps of the brewing process to complete the 16-credit-hour certificate, including:
- SCI 320: Fundamentals of Fermentation Science, a lecture course that will cover the chemistry, biochemistry and microbiology involved in the entire beer brewing process;
- SCI 321: Fermentation Analyses, a laboratory course in which students will perform analyses that brewery labs conduct on ingredients, processes and final products for quality control and assurance;
- SCI 322: Applied Fermentation Science, a laboratory course in which students will use their learned fermentation science knowledge to design and brew beer, follow guidelines for specific beer styles, learn how to judge beer, and brew for competitions;
- SCI 323: Brewery Facilities and Operations, a lecture course on the engineering of brewery equipment and design that will cover equipment choices, practical usage and maintenance of a modern, production-scale brewery; and
- SCI 420: Internship in Fermentation Science, a minimum 200-hour internship in a production brewery or brewing-related business.
“To me, the more beer you brew, the better you get at it,” said Jim Holton, a 1995 CMU alumnus and owner of Mountain Town Station Brewing Co. and Restaurant and Mount Pleasant Brewing Company.
Likewise, Cheryl Hunter, owner of Hunter’s Ale House in Union Township, said she’s pleased to be partnering with CMU on this program for hands-on student experiences as well.
“The brewing of a malt beverage is very scientific … Hunter’s Ale House brew master and Michigan Malt Co. founder, Wendell Banks, and I appreciate the opportunity to share our knowledge and professional experience of how great craft beer should be made,” Hunter said.
Review of applications will begin on March 7, and applicants will be notified by email by March 16. Interested applicants with questions can contact Cordell DeMattei at [email protected] or 989-774-4391.