For current students and faculty/staff

Inspiration Flows in NHTI Beer-Making Course

NHTI Chemistry students brew beer at Feathered Friend Brewery in Concord
NHTI Chemistry students brew beer at Feathered Friend Brewery in Concord

Students Learn to Brew Beer as Part of NHTI’s Innovative Chemistry Curriculum

Going to a local brewery and enjoying taste tests is weekend entertainment for many, but it’s classroom work for NHTI students in Chem115: “Brewing: The Science Behind Beer.”

Ryan Connor, head brewer at Feathered Friend Brewery in Concord, has opened his brewery to accommodate the NHTI-Concord’s Community College course for two educational sessions per semester. He has also participated in a classroom panel discussion and hosted final evaluations and beer tasting events, the most recent occurring in the Fall 2023 semester.

We caught up with him for a quick QA to learn more.

How did Feathered Friend get involved with NHTI?

Michael Hauptly-Pierce, a New Hampshire writer and brewing podcaster, suggested that the program director reach out to our owner, Tucker Jadczak. We thought it sounded like a fun project and a great way to help the younger generation interested in the industry.

What was the goal of the Feathered Friend/NHTI partnership?

When you’re in a classroom learning about beer brewing, you are learning the classroom version. We wanted to focused on providing a hands-on, real-life experience. It was good for the students to get a different perspective on the entire process. They got to see how we do things and get feedback from us on their home brews.

What was the curriculum when the class came to Feathered Friend?

We brewed a raspberry stout with the whole class as an experiment, and they bottled it. Then, they each made their own home brew and brought them here. Tucker, my assistant, and I did a taste test and gave them individual feedback. We weren’t going to grade them – they were all pretty good – but we decided to pick our favorite and actually brew that recipe this spring. It’s a watermelon wheat created by NHTI student Solymar Hernandez. I usually hate watermelon, so if I liked it, it couldn’t not win. It’s going to be a popular beer. Her name will be on it, and the whole story will be on the can.

 

 

What was the focus when you went into the classroom?

Bill, from Oddball Brewing, Michael Hauptly-Pierce, and I did a round-robin panel where the students asked questions and we offered our perspectives and ideas. You’d be surprised how differently each person approached brewing. Bill is super science-based, while I’m more of a cook. I like to say that people are either bakers or cooks; a baker must be very precise while a cook just grabs handfuls of stuff. My recipes come from experience. I’m not just throwing things together; I know what they are going to do. But Bill does a lot of testing, and my approach is very different.

Did anything surprise you about the NHTI class?

I heard that past classes were doing a lot of IPAs, but these students were doing crazy styles that you wouldn’t expect first-timers to want to do. So that was fun. I really enjoyed it.

This sounds like an incredible experience for the students. What did you get from your involvement with NHTI?

I work for a great company where I have a lot of creative control, but your passion turns into a job. Watching the students and explaining things to them reminded me why I left my last career to pursue brewing. It got me more excited, and I didn’t see that coming. The students who were super excited about what they were learning reminded me of when I was more passionate, and they made me feel that way again. My involvement with NHTI helped me remember why I do this.

Has the experience changed anything about the way you do your job as head brewer at Feathered Friend?

It did get me excited. We have our brews that are consistent sellers, but we also love to have an assortment of styles. My favorite style to brew is whatever I haven’t brewed yet. The class gave me a boost to get a little more creative. I also hadn’t home brewed for at least 6 years, so getting back to my roots in home brewing was fun!

Will you be continuing your involvement in NHTI’s brewing class?

I’ve already agreed to do it again for the Fall 2024 semester. I had a great time and am eager to meet the next group of students.

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NHTI – Concord’s Community College

NHTI – Concord’s Community College is a dynamic public 2-year college that provides rewarding academics and a full campus experience for students, businesses, and the community. NHTI offers 80+ academic programs to 4,600+ students annually. Our programs include Nursing, Dental Hygiene, Engineering, Liberal and Visual Arts, Education, Criminal Justice, and Mathematics, all with our stellar reputation for academic excellence earned over our more than 50 years serving the Concord community. NHTI is accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the NE Association of Schools and Colleges and is part of the Community College System of New Hampshire.

Press Contact           Amber Gavriluk  |  603-230-4001  |  agavriluk@ccsnh.edu

 

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