Things are about to get real, yo.
On Monday, Tim and I will begin a 6-month program which will earn us an official diploma stating that we are, in fact, legitimate professional brewers — The American Brewers Guild Intensive Brewing Science & Engineering Program. OMG.
I am, like, beyond excited just from typing that last paragraph. Holy crap.
Okay, so, since the #1 reaction I get from people when I tell them I’m going to brewing school is, “There’s a school for that??” let me give some background.
Firstly, of course there’s a school for that! People go to culinary school, right? So naturally, brewing, which is perhaps more complicated than cooking (I say “perhaps” because I’m not a professional chef, and don’t want to offend anyone out there who may be, but really what I mean is “definitely”), requires enough expertise for there to be entire schools focusing on the subject matter.
There are a few different types of brewing schools out there, from 4-year college degrees to 2-week quick-and-dirty (but nonetheless valuable) courses, that can get you a variety of different certifications.
ABG is by far the most convenient and worthwhile program for us, because they offer a 23-week distance learning course, complete with hours upon hours of DVD lectures, large volumes of lecture notes and additional readings, and six full text books on brewing science and technology. This is only a portion of the course material (our next shipment of goodies comes in a couple months):
Not to mention the course website, containing loads of additional resources, videos, and quizzes, as well as message boards and chat rooms for us to interact with the instructors and other students. The website just recently became available to the students. I’ve perused it quite a bit, and I can tell already that I’ll be visiting it daily!
But the most exciting part is that in the last week of the program, Tim and I will fly out to Sacramento, CA to complete a residential week at Hoppy Brewing Company, where we’ll experience hands-on brewing, laboratory work, and sensory training alongside our classmates.
This course won’t just give us a shiny diploma that says we’re brewers. ABG will arm us with the knowledge we need to take our brewing to the next level, knowledge that will stay with us throughout our brewing career. You see, brewing is as much a science as it is an art. Chemistry, biology, engineering, and math all come into play in brewing, and mastering the applications of these sciences to the brewing process is crucial to making good beer.
Tim and I watched the first part of the first lecture last night. As we giddily took notes on brewing chemistry, focusing on the carbohydrates pertinent to the brewing process, I knew we made the right decision by choosing to enroll in ABG. Hopefully this giddiness will last as the reality of quizzes, exams, and (*gasp*) studying hits home. I’m pretty sure it will. We are going to school to make beer for Pete’s sake.