The Best Brewing Classes

Lots of people have started brewing their own beer from home in recent times, and we think it’s a great hobby for the at-home scientists and mathematicians as well as those who just love beer.

For those who have had a few successful brews, or even beginners who want to learn more, a brewing class could be the next step on your brewing journey and a brewing course can be your foot in the door of the brewing world.

Sometimes we need to learn from someone who knows more than we do so we can learn more ourselves- this is a great example of that.

A brewing class is usually an online course or in-person workshop that involves a master brewer teaching the basics and sharing tips with their students. Not only can you learn from your tutors, but you can also meet fellow students who are at different places in their brewing journey.

Usually, a degree or equivalent certification in brewing and fermentation sciences is technically an applied science degree and is applicable in many situations beyond brewing.

The courses can get as specific as you want and can range from a one day course to or a longer certification program, this is where they can get confusing.

The last thing you want to do is waste money on a class that teaches you things you don’t know or need. That’s where we come in - read our guide to the best brewing classes to find out which one is for you.

OUR TOP PICK

Siebel Institute Of Technology

No brewing class list would be worth its salt if it didn’t mention the Siebel Institute. This place is basically Harvard for brewing beer.

It’s been around since 1872 thanks to John Siebel himself, who was one of the first minds to start making brewing a true scientific endeavour. 

Although, don’t let this scare you - the Siebel Institute has a range of courses for beginners up to some extremely detailed microbiology classes.

Siebel can offer college level courses that last years and can cost as much as normal tuition fees for a college. In addition, there are many courses that are cheaper and run for less time.

These courses can send you all over the world, if you choose to learn in person, as the Siebel Institute has campuses in Munich, Montreal, and Chicago.

As the Siebel Institute takes an academic approach, for some courses you may have to have completed prior courses in order to enroll, or take an online test to prove your knowledge. 

All the details of the course, its prices, and requirements are clearly explained in the institute’s academic catalogue

Basically, anything you want to learn about brewing can be learned here, it is the epicentre of brewing academia.

If you want the best education on brewing possible, the Siebel Institute has created an academic pathway to become a master brewer and has links to push you into the brewing business by teaching the economics and theory of business too. 

Regardless if you are entry level, or advanced level, there is something at Siebel for all levels of knowledge.

Pros

  • Epicentre of brewing academia
  • Campuses dedicated to studying brewing
  • Wide range of courses
  • A great network of alumni and current students
  • Practical applications in a business setting
  • Online and in person classes

Cons

  • If you want the best education you have to pay the price
  • Academic approach can ware off the beginners 

EDITORS CHOICE

Master Brewers

While not an academic institution like Siebel, the Masters Brewers Association of the Americas (MBAA) is dedicated to providing practical academic courses with the goal being able to provide their students with the academic prowess and certification they need to achieve their desired role within the brewing industry.

They offer a four year course for those who want to rocket into manager level roles within a brewery, two year associate's degree to get you into the day to day jobs at a good brewery as well as a certificate program in order to be certified for entry-level roles in a brewery which spans around 11-18 weeks.

One thing worth noting about these courses is that they don’t run straight from a central campus that is owned by MBAA. Rather, their courses are run in other academic institutions.

Currently the schools that offer MBAA programs are: the Central New Mexico Community College, Colorado State University, MicraCosta College BrewTech Program, and Pennsylvania College of Technology.

The cost of these courses is decided by each individual institution so it can differ, but they don’t vary too widely from the usual academic costs. Obviously, lesser courses will cost less and vice versa.

Pros

  • Focus on integrating students into the brewing industry
  • Courses that specifically cater towards certain jobs
  • No crazy requirements to get in
  • Good balance of academia and industry learning

Cons

  • No brick and mortar campuses
  • Courses are run by other institutions so can potentially differ with each institution. 

BEST VALUE

The Culinary Institute Of America

Food and drink are a closely related study, so it makes sense for The Culinary Institute of America to offer a brewery course too.

They offer a bachelor’s program that covers the basics of microbiology and organic chemistry as well as brewing techniques and equipment.

They also offer more information on brewing than you might get at other institutions such as beer pairings, tastings, and understanding how beer is chosen for restaurants and breweries. 

This is all thanks to the CIA’s relationship with other areas of hospitality and food that compliment the course greatly.

The most attractive part about CIA’s course, beyond their complimenting study of other food and drinks, is the campus they have in the heart of New York City.

On this campus they have erected many establishments such as restaurants, bakeries, cafés, and most importantly their own brewery! At CIA they have a n award winning brewery that is run by their own students.

So if you enroll in this course you get hands-on experience with the real jobs that a brewer would undertake at a real brewery.

Additionally, the beer you make is sold to the public at the CIA’s other restaurants and cafés on campus which are open to the public, so you learn quickly about the industry.

For those who want a hands-on experience with brewing, there’s no better place to look. Fees run closely to other academic institutions of this level.

Pros

  • Focus on integrating students into the brewing industry
  • Gain actual experience working in a brewery run by your tutors
  • Other courses run at CIA enable you to learn about where brewing fits into a the larger world of hospitality
  • Opportunity to network with fellows students across the hospitality business.

Cons

  • Only one course available that is Bachelors level, so requires some commitment both financially and with your time. 

RUNNER UP

UC Davis

At UC Davis, they already have one of the most widely acclaimed wine programs in the country, so it’s no doubt that their brewing courses will be quality too.

Their courses are made and run by industry experts and professionals who have been in the business for years.

What we like about what UC Davis has to offer is that their courses are varied and cater to entry level academics, advanced brewing courses, as well as online short courses for those who want to learn from home.

They offer a Master Brewers Certificate Program, which is a course designed to give you the long and short of brewing education so you can turn it into a career. This course is available both online and in person with differing lengths depending on your choice.

They also have brewing short courses which are more specific courses on specific subjects an intermediate brewer may want to explore and learn more about.

On top of all this, they still offer online courses from brewing expert Charlie Bamforth which cover a variety of topics, and this is a more self-paced and independent approach to learning that can be done when and where you wish. Tuition fees vary by which course you choose.

Clearly, the longer courses will cost more than the short self-paced courses.

Pros

  • Campus based learning is available
  • Academically respected institution as a Public Ivy school
  • Good range of courses that could suit many people.

Cons

  • Program is a little smaller than other courses, meaning less students on your course.

RUNNER UP

American Brewers Guild

This is another non academic institution that offers ways to learn from home while you work.

Essentially, where the American Brewers Guild (ABG) differs from other institutions is that they offer ways to learn while you work, and to work your way up an education ladder as you climb up the rungs in your independent brewing career. 

While most courses do require prerequisites, ABG can provide you with the certification to advance into the next step of your career.

They take a very practical approach to their teaching and while most learning is done at home, they do have some in person classes that operate in their brewery in Virginia.

They offer a few regular courses, one that offers an apprenticeship with 5 weeks of hands-on learning, another is a Intensive Brewing Science and Engineering program that is much longer and is for brewers who lack formal training.

One thing we like is that they also offer courses for ‘working brewers' that essentially cater towards brewers who are already working and require certification to move forward in their career.

We would recommend this for the brewer who prefers a practical approach rather than academic.

Pros

  • Support brewers who are already working
  • Good range of courses
  • Offer apprenticeship with hands on experience 
  • Have their own brewery for students to use and learn from

Cons

  • Not an academic institution
  • Limited class sizes
  • No academic focus

RUNNER UP

Central Washington University

Central Washington University offers an interesting and unique bachelor of science in craft brewing.

This is a heavy science based course that covers microbiology, biochemistry, sensory analysis and hop research as well as many more science based topics.

Although their course is heavy on the science they make sure you also learn about the business and industry of brewing.

Part of their focus on science is due to the Yakima valley being so close to the university, this is where most of America's hops come from, so it is a unique course to learn about the science of beer which can make you stand out during employment.

What's also cool is that they offer this course as a minor subject alongside a major subject like one of the main sciences, or anything really.

They also offer a simple certificate in craft brewing for those who don’t want a full degree’s worth of studying. You have to be an a actual CWU student to enroll in these courses, but it’s worth mentioning in the list.

Pros

  • Science focused
  • Reputable academic institution
  • Close to Yakima Valley
  • Academic approach

Cons

  • Have to be a CWU student to complete these courses

RUNNER UP

Colorado Boy Brewery

This is a brewery immersion course that is led by actual brewers within their own brewery. Forget books and campus life, you will be working right next to the mash and vats in this course.

They run their course so you don’t have to go to an academic institution to get the necessary certificates. They teach the basic skills you need to run your brewery business properly. This course offers a full on immersion into the brewery world and business.

So if you never enjoyed school but want to learn more about brewing while getting your hands on some hops, then this is the course for you.

It’s pricing is also very competitive with other courses that offer the same sort of deal - Colorado Boy saves you money as well as time.

Pros

  • Hands on experience
  • Your work is done in the brewery not in a class
  • Focused on streamlining your learning based on their own experiences as a brewer
  • Practical and industry focused

Cons

  • Not an academic institution
  • Doesn’t cover all the elements of brewing science

RUNNER UP

Prud’homme Beer Certification

At Prud’homme they offer lots of online classes and a virtual classroom where you can learn about brewing from your home office.

These courses are directed at people who would rather learn in their own time or while they work, although some classes have to be taken in person in Toronto or New England, for practical reasons.

Prud’homme has some decent acclaim though, having been founded by Labatt’s Roger Mittag.

They offer four levels of course that you can undertake, each increasing in price but also in learning. These courses run you through the brewing basics and earn you the titles of ‘master sommelier’ at the end.

This is another great way to learn about brewing outside of an academic institution, the prices per course at Prud’homme are also really competitive in comparison to the academic institutions that run similar courses.

Pros

  • Run by professionals in the brewery industry
  • Learn from home
  • Competitive tuition prices

Cons

  • Not much hands on experience

RUNNER UP

Metropolitan State University Of Denver

At the Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSUD), the main attraction for any brewing nerd is the $3.7 million dollar beer lab, a microbial fermentation lab, packaging lab, and draft training centres are all available to their enrolled students.

If this wasn’t enough to drag you to their campus, they also have the Tivoli Brewery right on campus.

A notable faculty member of these courses is Scott Kerkmans, a beer judge who was one of the first five cicerones in the world. (a cicerone is the equivalent of a master sommelier.)

There are degree options for those who want it, you can achieve a bachelor of science or arts in brewery operations as well as a bachelor of science in craft brewing and pub operations, the latter being more science based and the former being more business related.

These degrees are some of the modern and deal with common issues that face modern breweries such as utilising water responsibly, understanding a breweries effects on the environment, and sustainable sourcing of raw materials.

As they are a respected academic institution, prices will be high, and entry will be competitive, but you can guarantee some serious value for your money with the facilities MSUD has.

Pros

  • $8 million dollar facility on campus for brewing, packing, and distribution.
  • Brewery on campus
  • Two separate courses to choose from with different focuses
  • Course content is modern and applicable today.

Cons

  • Competitive entry
  • High tuition prices

Final Word

If you want to enter a career of brewery then you will need different forms of certification at different stages in your career, so brewery classes and courses are important to be informed about.

Some focus on getting you that certification as quickly as possible, others take time to go through the ins and outs of the business and the science behind brewing.

The Best Brewing Classes

So as you can see, there are many brewing courses and classes of large quantity and differing quality.

Each course has their own operandum, whether that be to help you learn the fundamentals so you can deep dive into a career of brewery, or taking a more in depth look at fermentation science and microbiology to really understand the biological mechanisms that create the beer we love.

Which courses you opt for is completely dependent upon yourself. You may find that you enjoy a campus environment and being surrounded by other prospective brewers who want to get in the industry like yourself.

The good thing about this campus mentality is that people are keen to network - you could easily meet your next business partner while studying.

Others find that they learn better on their own and through self-motivation. Many also find that they don’t have the wallet to support full time academic education and find that learning while they work is fiscally more practical.

Moreover, some people will work as brewers while they undertake an apprenticeship or something similar which earns them certification they need to level up in the industry, as and when they need it.

Whether you’re a career brewer or a home brewer, learning the science behind the brew and business behind the brewery is the next step in your brewing journey.

Mandy Winters
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