The student brewmeisters enrolled in Colorado State University’s Brewing Science and Technology class are kicking off the holiday season with a winter-themed brew called Polar Ale – Alt Man Winter.
Head to Odell Brewing Co. on Thursday, Nov. 19, from 4 to 6 p.m. for the ceremonial tapping and tastes for sale in the Odell Tap Room. Polar Ale, a variation on a Düsseldorf Altbier, was brewed by CSU scholars at Odell Brewing with brewery co-founder and owner Doug Odell all day on Oct. 31. It was originally brewed by the same class of students on Sept. 11 in the New Belgium Fermentation Science and Technology Lab in the Gifford Building on campus, and then scaled up.
Many of the students in the class are in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition’s Fermentation Science and Technology program, which teaches students about the science of food and beverage fermentation.
“The classes are super-interesting and a lot of fun while also being very difficult and detail-oriented,” said James Macdonald, a fermentation science major in the brewing class. “I can tell the instructors have a real passion for educating, and the classes reflect their care.”
“Being a homebrewer, I had thought I knew a lot about the brewing process. How wrong I was,” said Macdonald. “All of the instructors and guest speakers have imparted a lot of knowledge. We are being exposed to a lot of the brewing industry at all different levels. The amount of science involved in brewing beer is really mind-boggling. There’s a lot that needs to be controlled and measured in order to make a great, consistent product.”
“Students have applied the science they learned in class to the commercial technology required to actually process ingredients from the farm into desirable fermented beverages for the table,” said Jack Avens, professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition and founder of the Brewing Science and Technology class, which is in its 18th semester.
Avens says as part of the current CSU class, students have brewed three ales on campus. Additionally, they brewed Rocketman IPA at Equinox Brewing Co., which is currently on tap at the Equinox Tap Room and The Mayor of Old Town, and this week will be on tap in the CSU Ramskeller in the Lory Student Center on campus. They also brewed the Flagship Saison at Funkwerks, where it will be available in the tap room on Nov. 20.
An insider’s view
“The industry has been amazing,” said Macdonald, who someday hopes to run his own brewery. “I have been exposed to a lot of breweries in Colorado that I hadn’t been to before, and we have been privileged to taste some really interesting, esoteric and delicious beers. At those tastings, the brewers discuss the different ingredients and processes and how those are shown in a finished beer, which really helps us understand the basic ingredients. The brewers essentially let us get our hands dirty and really learn what’s going on during their unique processes.”
Live music at the tapping event will be a student-recommended local band, Murder City Special, playing from 4 to 6 p.m. At 5 p.m., Doug Odell will offer some comments and a toast to the CSU student brewers.
For those who can’t attend the tapping party, Polar Ale – Alt Man Winter will be available on tap for the rest of the semester, or until it runs out, at Odell Brewing Co. and the CSU Ramskeller.
The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition is in the College of Health and Human Sciences.