KOKOMO, Ind. — Something interesting is brewing at Indiana University Kokomo.
As part of the hospitality and tourism management (HTM) program, students are learning about the business of micro brewing, or making beer in a commercial facility that brews no more than 15,000 barrels per year.
These beverages, generally distributed regionally, are also known as craft beers, and emphasize quality, rather than quantity.
While a summer class involving learning about beer may sound like a dream come true for a college student, it’s not just about sampling brews — it’s also about learning history of beer making, the technology and science involved, and the management side of running a brewery.
“After taking this class, students will learn the technological side, such as how the beers are made, and why they each have their own flavor,” said Mark Meng, acting assistant professor of hospitality and tourism.
“They’ll also learn about the management, and the unique challenges that come with running a micro brewing business. For those planning careers in event management, they will have the skills and knowledge to pair beers with foods, and to serve it appropriately.”
A highlight of the six-week class was two field trips to Kokomo’s Half Moon Brewery, where John Templet, head brewer, talked about how he creates his beers and the kinds of ingredients involved, and allowed students to taste several of his creations.
They sat at a long table, with small dishes of dried whole hops, hops pellets, and other ingredients lined down the center, to be tasted or smelled. Templet poured shot glass sized servings of several brews to taste, explaining what was different or unique about each one.
Micah Pier, Bunker Hill, soaks it all in, happy to be studying a topic directly related to his career plan.
“This is specifically what I want to do in hospitality and tourism, work in the micro brewing business,” he said. “This is hitting the nail on the head for me, and increasing my interest.”
He was interested in the brewing process, and how many varieties can be produced.
“The whole process, and the way they can change the taste by adding different ingredients, starting from the same basic ingredients, was surprising,” he said.
HTM major Randall Latta said the possibilities are endless.
“It’s like cooking, “the Peru resident said. “You can add stuff as you go, to get the flavor you want your brew to have. You start with four main ingredients, then add honey, lemon, just about anything. It’s like a recipe, as long as you get the process right, you can add what you want.”
The class provided a look into several potential careers, he said, and what it is like to work in that business.
“It’s a very busy job, and you have to put a lot of time and effort into it,” he said. “How much you put into it directly impacts how much people come back and enjoy your beer. This is a potential career you can go into, and I appreciate learning about it. It’s not just college students drinking beer.”
As a future event planner, Macie Thomas, from Galveston, said the class would help her make educated recommendations to her clients about what beverages to serve, and how to serve them.
“It is a neat experience to see it in person, rather than reading it from a book,” she said. “It really shows me what I will be doing in my career, in a hands on way.”
The class was available as an elective to students not in the HTM program. Psychology major Kellin Hardin, Kokomo, enrolled because she is interested in micro brewing as a hobby.
She was surprised to learn that the first beer was created when someone spilled water on bread, and it fermented.
“It was a happy accident, in a way,” she said. “This class has been a good combination of class lessons, projects, and hands on experience.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.