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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Fermentation Sciences at OSU

I have been to a lot of very cool beer places.  Many of them have strata of beeriness, one packed on another over time.  The Brussels area, various places in Bohemia.  None, though, can compete with Munich.  It is in the heart of barley-growing country and just down the road from the Hallertauer hop fields.  Three styles were invented or strongly associated with the town ("inventing" dunkel--I won't go there).  It is absolutely loaded with famous breweries: Spaten (where helles and marzen were first brewed), Paulaner, Augustiner, Hofbrau, and nearby are Ayinger, Andechs, and Weihenstephen.  Speaking of Weihenstephen, there are two brewing schools there, too--it and Doemens.  In Germany, all roads lead to Munich.

I don't want to get too boosterish, but Oregon is starting to lay in a few layers of bedrock itself.  I was reminded of another in an email from Oregon State pointing me to a webpage they recently finished to promote the Fermentation Sciences program.  It used to be that if you wanted to get a undergrad degree in brewing, it meant heading to Davis.  Now you have OSU as an alternative, and it's nothing to sniff at.  The university has wisely put Tom Shellhammer out in front--as one of the world leaders in hop research, he's a pretty attractive draw.  You have hop fields nearby, the campus has its own little brewery, and of course, you can't swing a dead cat without hitting another brewer in the nose.

No place in Oregon is about to eclipse Munich anytime soon.  But if you wanted to Munich-ize your region, you'd do what we're doing here.  Over time, you'd see large breweries emerge, see agriculture respond to the brewing industry (including, as in Hood River, the farming of wild yeasts), see schools dedicated to teaching brewing, research done to support it, and a very broad base of local culture consuming it. 

So far, so good.

1 comment:

  1. Funny that I read this just this morning:

    "“UC Davis has the only significant brewing science program in the U.S.,” said Dan Gordon, co-founder of Gordon Biersch Brewery""