Beer and college are often synonymous terms, not always in the most favorable of lights.
But there’s more to beer than just drinking it, and Atlantic Cape Community College officials are putting that to the test.
Atlantic Cape is putting an educational spin on suds with a Beer Literacy program, an addition to its offerings through the Academy of Culinary Arts and the Atlantic Cape’s Continuing Education division. The 10-week class will occur every Monday, starting Sept. 14.
Registration is open now — you don’t have to be an Atlantic Cape student to participate — and the cost for the full 10 weeks is $400. There will also be a beer dinner on Oct. 8 planned on campus.
The class is open to anyone with an interest in beer, be it a entrepreneurial, culinary, or a general passion. Topics addressed in the class will range from styles of beer, the history and culture of the drink, how to make it, how it can pair and accentuate food, among other subjects, said Kelly McClay, dean of ACCC’s Academy of Culinary Arts.
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“The interest in microbrewing in South Jersey has grown tremendously,” she said, adding that wineries and distilleries are also growing industries in the area. “We want to do our share to possibly boost the local economy and give people an avenue to learn more about brewing.”
New Jersey, in total, has 32 craft breweries and ranks 29th in the country for such, according to statistics from the Brewers Association trade organization.
Even though there will be tastings during the classes, those under 21 can still participate in the class, McClay said. In an educational setting, underage students can participate, as long as they taste and spit out the beer, she said.
Lynn Hoffman, who’s called himself a “Beer Evangelist”, will be teaching the class. He’s done this before, starting up a “Fundamentals of Beer” class at Drexel University in 2014.
To say he’s passionate about beer is a wild understatement.
“Beer is the world’s most important beverage, no question about it,” he said Tuesday over the phone. The beverage has historical, cultural and culinary significance in the world, he went on: Calcified traces of potassium and calcium found in ancient pottery all over the world shows its historic roots.
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Hoffman said he’s planning on putting students in groups of two or three to brew a batch of beer within the 10-week set of classes. If everything goes accordingly with McClay’s and Hoffman’s vision for the course, there will be additional beer-centric classes in the future. They will be more focused, for example, on how to start up a small brewery or how to work in today’s hospitality industry and know your stuff about craft beer.
“I want people to be culturally aware of those important this is,” Hoffman said about the craft beer industry. “I want them to include these (craft beer) in your formal dinner parties. Pairing beer in dessert. This class will give us more pleasure and understanding in our lives.”