Cincinnati State adds new program on craft beer and brewing

Posted at 6:00 AM, Aug 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-19 06:00:41-04

CINCINNATI -- There’s good news for folks looking to get jobs in the flourishing beer industry in Cincinnati.

Cincinnati State Technical and Community College is offering a certificate program designed to help interested folks find employment in the booming and increasingly competitive field.

The Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) has approved a new certificate to be offered for the first time this fall semester, although classes have already been offered -- and taken. The Brewing Sales and Marketing Certificate will include eight courses or 24 credit hours. Students can complete the certificate in two semesters, with courses including basic course BREW 100 and Sensory Evaluation of Beer (BREW 160). Other classes that are part of the fall curriculum are Professional Selling (MKT 130) and Food and Beverage Cost Control (HRM 110).

“I was a beer drinker and loved beer, but it was nice to have a more historical perspective on beer and how it was brewed,” said Anne Neely, who recently took the Introduction to Craft Beer (BREW 100) class. “It was really fun. The coolest part was going on-site at the breweries.”

“I’m a career-shifter,” said Chris Marshall, who now lives in Hyde Park.

Marshall worked for the federal government before relocating and deciding to change careers as well. He took BREW 100 in the spring and is planning to take more classes toward the certificate this fall.

“I’m a lapsed homebrewer,” Marshall said. “I’m taking these classes to reconstitute myself. I would like to pursue a career in beer, specifically craft beer.”

The program has already benefited Pilar Mercedes Perez. Perez was working as a line cook at Taft’s Ale House and between her experiences there and in the brewing program, she was able to take advantage of an opportunity at newly opened Nine Giant in Pleasant Ridge, where she can indulge herself in cooking and brewing.

“What got me into craft beer was Mt. Carmel’s amber,” Perez said. “I’m very impressed with Mike (Albarella, head brewer); he’s like my personal professor.”

Perez has helped brew three batches of beer at Nine Giant, she said, adding that she plans on continuing classes toward the certificate.

“I want to up my game,” she said. “I’m shadowing Mike, tasting grain, learning different types of hops. I’m getting the industrial part of things.”

This fall, Introduction to Craft Beer students will be working with Urban Artifact in Northside. The class will tour the brewery and collaborate with Urban Artifact to develop a class beer. Urban Artifact will brew the beer, which will be tapped during the last week of the semester in December.

This past semester, students worked with MadTree Brewing, and this past Friday they tapped their brew, Window Sill, which was a strawberry-rhubarb American Hefeweizen. The taste, which was supposed to mimic a strawberry rhubarb pie, was achieved.

“I think it turned out really well,” said Ryan Blevins, a brewer at MadTree who worked with the class. “I went in and worked with them on the recipe. It was fun being on the other side of the table. Working with people that are as passionate about beer as I am is always great.

“They did all the hard work while they were here -- that’s always nice, too.”

Carla Gesell-Streeter, chair of the brewing science department at Cincinnati State, said the collaborative work with breweries is “a great way for students to learn about the brewing process.”

Cincinnati State began offering beer brewing courses in fall 2015 and college officials plan to submit an associate's degree program in brewing science for ODHE this fall to begin in the fall of 2017. Several classes in the certificate curriculum are also in the curriculum for the brewing science degree program so students can start now to get a head start.

Gesell-Streeter, who is also a co-founder of the “Hoperatives” blog that's devoted to craft beers, said the college’s brewing programs are being designed more for the emerging craft beer industry than for hobbyists or home brewers.

“Our goal is to train people for good jobs in what has historically been a sound business in Greater Cincinnati,” she said.

Registration for the 2016 Fall Semester is open now. Click here for details. If you are interested in the BREW 100: Introduction to Craft Beer class but do not wish to pursue an academic degree at Cincinnati State, please visit this webpage.

For more information on the brewing courses, contact Gesell-Streeter at