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New Brewing Class Begins at the Culinary Institute of America

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“Beer me.”

So says the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, which boosted the former ugly stepchild of the culinary arts to fine dining this fall. The CIA added a new Art and Science of Brewing elective course to its bachelor’s degree offerings, and opened the Brewery at the CIA, a facility made possible through a partnership with Brooklyn Brewery. The course and the brewery were created, the school says, “to help elevate the status of beer on restaurant menus and familiarize the future leaders of foodservice and hospitality with how beer is produced.”

brewing at culinary institute of america
Future beermakers put their new skills to the test during class

The beverage component of the food-and-beverage industry has become ever more important in the hospitality business, says Chef Waldy Malouf, the CIA’s senior director of Food and Beverage Operations. In this country, he compares beer today with the wine world of 20 years ago. “Three- and four-star restaurants like Per Se and Daniel now have extensive beer programs, as do other restaurants all over the country,” he says. “Where most people would order wine, now it is not uncommon at all to order a beer with what you are eating. Good restaurants have craft beers that can match with the food as well as any wine can.”

He adds that about 3,500 CIA graduates are currently working in the beer industry. “And we see that trend growing. There is a lot of interest here on campus, and the CIA should be involved in it. Also, I should add that it’s a lot of fun.”

The course will be taught by CIA instructor Douglass Miller, along with the CIA’s new brewmaster, Hutch Kugeman, who was hired away from Crossroads Brewing Company in Athens, which he cofounded. The brewery has begun producing two flagship brands, Cleaver IPA and Mise en Place Wit. In addition, it will be producing a rotating lineup of “Class Project” seasonal beers designed and inspired by students in the brewing course. Currently, that offering is the Class Project Cast Iron Stout. The beers are available at the college’s public restaurants, in its new Student Commons, and are featured in the just-opened James Beard Tavern at the American Bounty Restaurant.

The Tavern, open for lunch and dinner, fits in with American Bounty’s abiding theme of fresh, local foods. “You can’t get fresher or more local than our beer,” Malouf says. The menu features CIA-worthy pub food, including burgers, salads, seafood, seasonal veggies, and other items highlighting the region’s cuisine. “It’s casual, no reservations required, a very easy and amicable place to come to,” Malouf says. So easy, in fact, that he recommends weekend visits, when the campus is less busy.

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