Old Fool in the Old School

Old Fool in the Old School

I realize that neither Pearce nor I have any formal training as brewmasters. You probably have thought to yourself, “What are these yay-hoos gonna do once presented with large scale commercial brewing equipment?” Well, you are right. We don’t know how to brew on commercial brewing equipment. But we aren’t afraid to learn either.

Currently, Pearce and I are both enrolled in an online course from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and being administered through Blue Ridge Community College Craft Beer Academy in Hendersonville, NC. Some people may ask why we would go through a semi-regional community college in order to get a certificate in brewing through an internationally recognized organization whose mission it is to advance education and professional development in the science and technologies of brewing, distilling and related industries… Well there are a couple of reasons. The first is that neither of us have the extra time, nor the extra finances, nor the capacity to get into the Siebel Institute and World Brewing Academy. The second is that most of the other courses are taught in person out in Oregon or in the North East. But the true kicker that caused us to choose this particular course is that the class is taught in conjunction with and under the supervision of Oskar Blues Brewery. All of our class videos are actually filmed at the OB location in Brevard, NC. Oh yeah… we also get to go spend a day working at the OB brewery at the end of the course. Hands on experience at one of the coolest breweries around could not be passed up.


And by the way… This course is not a cakewalk. I was talking to my wife the other day and telling her about the section I was studying on Yeast Husbandry and Handling. Sounds dirty doesn’t it? I was throwing out terms like propagation, flocculation, cropping characteristics, subculturing onto agar slopes, and autolysation as a cause of “meatiness.” She looked at me and said, “Your beer conversation has become so much more refined. Careful or you will fall into a less desirable social standing among your peers because of your perceived beer nerdiness.” I have paraphrased. She may have just looked at me and called me a dork.

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So, at the end of this course, we will both have the opportunity to get a General Brewing Certificate from the IBD. But guess what. That still doesn’t make us brewmasters. We are well aware of that. But we both are voracious learners and we understand that when starting a new business, it is best to know the business from the bottom up. We will be more prepared in the commercial realm than if we were trying to do this having only been homebrewers. The more you know, amirite?

With that being said, and if you have actually made it to the end of this post, I would like to tell you that we have had several SUPER exciting things happen over the past couple of weeks. We have had super strategic meetings with municipal staff, legal experts, financial institutions and advisors. I am hoping to make several important announcements in the next month or so that may answer some questions about the ifs and whens and wheres of a commercial brewing endeavor. Make sure to subscribe in order to be notified when we post.

Thanks folks. Be well.



  • John Kater

    March 11, 2016 at 5:09 am Reply

    As a professional brewer who has been in the industry for two decades, my advice is to take college level chemistry before anything else. If you don’t know what buffer capacity is, it doesn’t matter how many brewing terms you can rattle off.

  • Race Vanderdecken

    March 12, 2016 at 7:45 pm Reply

    BRCC Flat Rock, along with other Colleges in North Carolina, have a full Associate’s degree program in Brewing, Distillation and Fermentation. They also have diploma and certificate programs for brewing, packaging and maintenance.

  • David Meadows

    March 13, 2016 at 4:53 pm Reply

    Let me know if you need assistance in any brewing process, equipment, design, recipe development etc

  • Gisela

    March 13, 2016 at 6:38 pm Reply

    This is useful! Thanks for sharing. I too am at the point where I want to know how to scale up and what to expect coming up in this exciting venture. Keep me posted. Beer nerdiness is cool by the way…

  • […] our journey. The recurring feedback from numerous folks after last week’s post about taking a brewing course was that “school learning” is no substitute for hands-on experience. I could not agree […]

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