by Rebecca LaPole
With all the new breweries opening up in town and the popularity of microbrews in our city, Colorado State University is beginning to align even more with the business culture of Fort Collins thanks to generous gifts from local breweries.
In April they received a gift of $1 million from New Belgium Brewing Company and co-founder/CEO, Kim Jordan, which is helping to pay for renovations to the microbrewery in the Ramskeller and continue the growth of the Fermentation Science and Technology (FST) program at CSU. This type of entrepreneurial collaboration began with the Anheuser-Busch Foundation gifting $250,000 in April 2014, and Odell Brewing Company giving $100,000 to the program last summer.
The Ramskeller Microbrewery (which you can help name! Check out the link for naming opportunities: fshn.chhs.colostate.edu/students/undergraduate/fermentation-science/support.aspx), will be located in the on-campus bar that has been in business since the ‘60s, and will feature a 10 hectoliter system that has a production scale of 8.5 barrels.
Jeff Callaway, Director of Industry Outreach for the FST program, has many praises for the on-campus venue. “It’s a great venue for events and music,” he says, “and I would expect the Ramskellar and the beer produced by FST students in the microbrewery to add to the enjoyment. I highly suggest anyone who hasn’t been to the newly renovated LSC or Ramskellar to check it out and consider it for their next event posthaste!”
In 2005, CSU began their voyage toward their microbrewery expansion with the Brewing Science elective. This one class inspired a lot of students and teachers, and industry professionals to create a much bigger program that is now two years old; beginning its fifth semester this fall. The students’ experiential learning will continue as the brews will be for sale on some of the 20 taps at the Ramskellar.
I asked Callaway when the Lory Student Center (LSC) brewery will be open to the public. “Great question. There is no set date at this point as we are still fund-raising and are working with several industry partners to make this project work.” However, Callaway can report that, “the brewing system is currently being built and I expect it to open sometime before the end of the year.”
“There are so many facets to how the University is being progressive with this program and aligning with our business culture in Fort Collins.” Callaway expands on this thought by saying, “The FST program works with, and utilizes support from many people from the fermented food and beverage fermentation industry; from serving on our Industry Advisory Board, to helping develop and teach higher level courses, and in many other ways. Industry members are crucial to the success of the FST program.”
Not only is the FST program an excellent example of community support in action and collaboration between professionals and future fermenters, FST actually includes much more than beer. Callaway reminds us, “It is important to note that this is not a brewing program; while beer is a significant focus, so too are fermented foods (think probiotics, fermented veggies, sourdough bread, and much, much more), and the health impacts associated with food and beverage fermentation.