Good Beer Hunting

no. 289

It's rare for my day job—creative director—and my side gig—GBH contributor—to overlap in meaningful ways. Mostly, my business trips serve as opportunities to visit new breweries, mule back some regional beer, or, on the rare occasion, squeeze in a feature story during some down time.

My most recent trip, however, landed smack dab in the middle of an otherwise unoccupied professional/personal Venn diagram: a client related to the beer industry. While on campus at Oregon State University for some brand training, I had the pleasure of touring the Fermentation Science building that’s part of the school’s Food Science and Technology Degree program.

I got to learn about the curriculum, their plans for growth—including a fancy new Esau & Huber brewhouse—and their mutually beneficial relationships with breweries across the globe, but I also got to sample a bunch of the students' beers.

Even though they were allowed to brew anything for their final evaluation, classic German styles dominated the draft lines, including two different interpretations of a Helles, a Dunkel, a Märzen, even a Berliner Weisse. Best of all, each one was thoroughly enjoyable.

Perhaps even more refreshing was the fact there wasn't an IPA in sight. Instead, the crew focused on technical proficiency and interpretation of style. And then every student had to defend each in front of a daunting panel of no-bullshit judges at the end of the year.

Needless to say, I left feeling that the future of our industry is in good hands.