« on: April 23, 2013, 06:02:01 AM »
I am currently enrolled in the American Brewers Guild's "Brewery-In-Planning" brewing course, which is an online course that culminates in a week-long, on-site mini-apprenticeship at the ABG's lab and brewery in Vermont. The course starts in June, and the ABG describes it as an intensive and comprehensive course on brewing science and engineering for the brewery-in-planning (the ABG says it's the same course as the diploma'd course without the 5-week apprenticeship).
Even though I've been homebrewing for the past 8 years (160+ batches), I want the beer that we produce at Bauhaus Brew Labs to be consistently high-quality, world-class beer. I enrolled in the ABG course in order to supplement my existing knowledge, hoping that it will help us to achieve our quality and consistency objectives.
Here's the rub. I attended a beer dinner last night for Summit Brewing Co. here in Minnesota. I got the chance to talk quite a bit with Gabe Smoley, one of Summit's seven brewers. I asked him if he had received any formal brewing education. He said he hadn't, but that he had worked as an apprentice brewer at a 5-bbl brewpub, which he eventually took over and ran for a few years. I've talked with other pro brewers who have not received formal education either.
This is all leading up to the following question: is it worth my time/money to take the ABG course? For you guys who have started breweries/brewpubs (Keith, Leos, Anthony, Sean, etc.), did you receive any formal education? If you didn't, do you wish you would have?
I have a few opportunities to brew with some pro brewers here in the Twin Cities over the next few months. I'm wondering if taking a few days off of work to periodically brew with some pros would be more beneficial (and less expensive!) with regard to preparing me for brewing commercially. My father-in-law, who used to work as a research scientist at a pharmaceutical company, will be maintaining our lab and assisting with quality control. Given his experience, is it still a good idea for me to take the course in order to learn more about brewing science?
Any and all insight and suggestions would be very appreciated!