In the year 2000, the brewing industry in North America was poised to expand dramatically. After a “shake-out” period in the late 1990’s when many craft breweries closed, the culture of craft beer caught on among consumers and sales began to boom. Initially, craft beer was mostly made with traditional ingredients and processes that were not much different than the more established lager beers, with pale ales, IPA’s, stouts, and other familiar styles finding their way into brewery portfolios.
Today’s brewing scene is a far cry different than 20 years ago. With more than 9,000 breweries across the USA, the very definition of what we call beer has become somewhat fluid. Drinkers still relish their all-grain beers with traditional yeast fermentation and a sense of balance, yet the excitement and, in many cases, profits, are being generated by innovative ideas of beer. Previously, we may have worked to make beer as clear as possible. Now, we strive to find ways to make styles like “hazy IPA” as consistently opaque as orange juice. Nurturing mouth-puckering sourness is now common brewery practice in sour beer production, as is the addition of lactose and ingredients like peanut butter and marshmallow. The “Anything goes!” reality of today’s brewing environment makes for some great drinking experiences, but it also makes consistency and quality more difficult to achieve in these New World ideas of beer.
As America’s oldest brewing school, Siebel Institute has always worked to stay on top of brewing trends so we can anticipate the needs of students who will be working in a highly diverse commercial brewing industry. Our faculty is composed of industry experts who bring complete understanding of established and emerging technologies to the classroom, and our co-workers at Lallemand Brewing provide in-depth understanding of yeast and fermentation control. While the definition of beer has evolved, breweries still need to rely on a scientific approach to making products that are high quality, shelf stable, delicious, and profitable. Siebel Institute has a 150-year history of helping students to define and maintain the benchmarks of beer quality, and we continue to uphold those standards in our campus and online courses.