Rice University Offers a Beer Education Your Own College Probably Didn't

When you talk about getting educated on beer at college, I am going to assume that you mean learning about the finer points of keg tapping and Natty Light hauling. Because until recently, a real beer education was something that most universities didn't teach. Wine appreciation classes? Sure. Beer? Forget it.

But beer is in bloom, thanks in large part to the craft beer movement, which is teaching Americans that there's more to the world of beer than Bud and Miller. Last year at Appalachian State University, the chemistry department added an "intro to beer brewing" course. Closer to home, people like Professor Aaron Corsi -- who also happens to be brewmaster at the upcoming 8th Wonder Brewery -- are teaching classes on brewing science, viticulture, enology and distillation science at the University of Houston.

And now, Rice University's Glasscock School of Continuing Studies is offering a seminar of its very own: "Beer Beyond the Hedges."


The course will be taught by Bev Blackwood II, a longtime beer writer and brewer who once brewed professionally for Saint Arnold. (In a funny aside, Blackwood's last Twitter update -- from 2009 -- is a public unfollowing of the Saint Arnold account for Tweeting too much.) The class will focus on old guard brewery Saint Arnold and new guard Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company, both of which are helmed by Rice grads.

Says the full course description:

While the history of consuming beer within the hedges of Rice University may be quite long and storied, Rice has played a significant role in the brewing of beer for the larger community. Through visits to two of Houston's craft breweries that have Rice connections - Saint Arnold Brewing Company and Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company - and one on-campus lecture and beer tasting, you will learn not only about the brewing process but also about the history of beer, how the various styles are created and how to appreciate what many consider to be the world's most varied and versatile beverage.

The class starts on September 20 and wraps up on October 4, so you don't have to commit to a full semester. You do have to commit some cash, though: It costs $109. There are only 61 seats available in the class, so sign up now.

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Katharine Shilcutt