Yes, mom and dad, you really can drink beer in college and still graduate in four years.
Fundamentals of Beer, taught by Professor Dan Bisogno (aka: Jersey Dan), is a 3-credit course offered at Drexel’s School of Hotel & Restaurant Management. The one-of-a-kind course focuses on the world’s most important beverage and its objective is to educate the next generation of craft beer aficionados. “Drexel is all about experience learning, and that’s what we do here every day,” says Bisogno.
“For me, the discussion of the brewing process, flavors/styles and tradition are just as important as tastings and interaction with people from the industry.”
Students (who are 21 and older, of course) get their hands dirty learning everything from how beer is made, to where ingredients are sourced. They even take field trips to local breweries like Dock Street and Evil Genius to interact with industry professionals who offer a behind-the-scenes look at the beer industry.
And of course, the main highlight of these beer-themed lectures is drinking beer in class! “Tasting is a major aspect of learning,” says Bisogno. And the students happily agree. “It’s my favorite part,” says student Kasey Kline. “It’s a different experience sharing a beer like Rodenbach or Ballast Point’s Tart Peach Kölsch in a room full of people, as we discuss flavor notes and ask questions.”
Surprisingly, many of the students enrolled in the class have very little craft beer experience. “I’m not a huge beer drinker, so when I realized how in-depth the class was, for a moment, I thought about dropping it,” says Emily Hoffman. “But I’m glad I stuck it out. Once you dig into all these different styles, you learn that craft beer tastes great. A beer like Dogfish SeaQuench is pretty different than the stuff you had at the frat party last weekend.”
By the end of the semester, Fundamentals of Beer hasn’t just produced a new swath of craft beer fans, it has also informed a new generation of consumers who are eager to share their knowledge and appreciation of beer with others. “I think craft beer has room to grow in terms of people my age,” says Kline. “The ability to customize a 6-pack isn’t as much of a gamble as buying a bottle of wine and possibly hating it after the first sip. That’s a major plus, because people are always looking to try new things.”