SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A first-year program at Augustana University has students brewing beer, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the school’s new brewing & fermentation minor.
There’s something new brewing at Augustana University.
Augustana is one of only two universities in South Dakota, alongside South Dakota State, to offer a brewing & fermentation minor.
“Students will be learning the theory and the hard science, and they’ll be doing experiments on water quality, yeast quality, temperature, and different things like that,” Assistant professor in Biology Stephanie Bruggeman said.
That’s just a sample of Intro to Brewing.
These students are gathered in the courtyard to create beer and root beer as part of a course called Preserving the Planet Through Bread, Brie and Beer.
“The history and the use and the techniques and how the evolution of food preservation impacted civilization of the world,” Bruggeman said.
Bruggeman is the brewing & fermentation program coordinator. The project has been years in the making, with Bruggeman entering the fold because of her desire to teach sustainability and preservation.
“We were going with Kombucha and then I thought, man I don’t know if I’m going to be able to get enough students in this class, I need a hook and so I had to go to the admin and ask for permission to do a little bit of brewing,” Bruggeman said.
That led to classes and more hands-on fermentation extending well beyond beer.
“Vitamins, ethanol, vaccines, there’s all sorts of different things,” Bruggeman said.
“I like that they’re diversifying what we can do here at Augie and what we can pursue,” Augustana student and Beresford native Cadence Stewart said.
Stewart is a computer science & psychology major from Beresford, but she says Preserving The Planet is her favorite class.
“Growing up, we always did canning and we do a lot of beef jerky and that kind of thing, so I think having those skills are important,” Stewart said.
Augustana has also enlisted the help of an advisory board, including local breweries, vineyards, and an ethanol refinery to help get the program off the ground.
“We asked them what they’re looking for in potential employees and so we created our minor requirements list with their voice and their requirements in mind,” Bruggeman said.
“I always joke, if they would have had that program when I was in school I would have figured out my career path about ten years sooner,” Remedy Brewing Company co-founder Tyler Jepperson said.
Jepperson is also a 2007 graduate of Augustana.
“I really love the program Augustana is setting up because it’s so pan-disciplinary where if you’re business side, marketing, hard sciences, they’re going to find something for you,” Jepperson said.
“We’re getting close to 50 breweries in this state and one of the struggles that we’ve had is attracting talent to this area when it comes to people who are not only interested in brewing but also have some background in it or some understanding of what it is,” Remedy Brewing Company CEO & co-owner Matt Hastad said.
Hastad is an ’08 Augustana graduate. He’s also co-owner of Remedy, where their newest creation — The Brew ‘N Gold — is a collaboration with Augie.
“It’s about a 5% American Lager, very easy on the palate, a really good introductory beer,” Hastad said.
Remedy created the The Brew ‘N Gold, but students played an important role.
“When it came to naming the beer, when it came to coming up with the label for the can, when it came to a marketing plan we’ve gotten all of the students involved in all of that,” Hastad said.
The label was designed by Stewart, who won a campus-wide competition.
“I thought it should be simple and classic and use the Augie colors. It has the Augie helmet featured right in the middle and then some wheat leaves,” Stewart said.
It’s the first of many Augustana-themed beers Remedy plans to produce, and the students’ contributions will only grow.
“We’re hoping to involve the students in a full-on student brew from start to finish to marketing to execution where we have them order the ingredients, come up with the recipe, brew the beer, help with the packaging, put the label on it, and then come up with the distribution plan,” Hastad said.
“Eventually, you’ll be able to buy a six-pack of different varieties all created by Augustana,” Bruggeman said.
Until that day, it’s The Brew ‘N Gold, which debuted in mid-October during Viking Days.
“We’re hoping that at every Augie football game and every Augie sporting event you can get yourself a Brew ‘N Gold to support the blue and gold,” Hastad said.
If you’d like to try the Brew ‘N Gold, the Augustana football team is back home this Saturday against Minnesota-Duluth. Kickoff is set for 1:00. You can also watch the game on KELOXTRA and the CW of the Black Hills.
The Brew ‘N Gold is also available at Remedy Brewing Company and limited stores where Remedy products are sold.