School of the New American Farmstead

img_1931Craftsbury Common, Vermont.  Population 1200?  How appropriately named!  Images emerge as I consider the words.  “Craft”, “Vermont”, and delving further…”Farmstead” in the program name.  I have been attracted to Vermont since my days at the University of Connecticut, and believe an integral part of my soul was formed in this unique state.  Cheese, skiing, Frye boot outlets, beer, snow…

According to their website Sterling College is img_1906“the leading voice in higher education for environmental stewardship and is one of only eight federally recognized work
colleges.”  After spending a week at the school, most of it on-campus, sharing mealtimes with the students and feeling the vibe of the place…I am in love.  The School of the New American Farmstead really got me thinking about sustainability, craft and a new style and approach to life.

The School of the New American Farmstead at Sterling College offers continuing education courses for agrarians, culinarians, entrepreneurs and lifelong learners.  Courses such as “Holistic Forest Management”, “Fundamentals of Artisan Cheese”, “Mushrooms Molds and Mycorrhizae”, “Sustainable Foraging of the Northwoods”, “Ecological Orcharding” and so forth, populate their course offerings.

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We had the unique opportunity to join the “Art & Science of Brewing” program for an intensive classroom experience.  Lectures from 9-5 were grueling, yet the 17 students and two professors formed a bond in this remote educational setting.  We came from different walks of life, different backgrounds, different generations, but for this brief moment in time, were suspended together in a group that hopefully will preserve this experience as lifelong friends.  There will be new breweries, perhaps already three this year, being started by some of the students, while others will bring back their knowledge to their existing breweries, to other countries, or to their homebrewing passions.

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The professors came from Denmark to share their knowledge with us:

Anders Kissmeyer is a stalwart in the industry, having worked at Carlberg in Quality Management and International Brewing at Carlsberg, Anders founded the acclaimed Danish craft brewery, Nørrebro Bryghus, which brought the craft brewing revolution to Denmark and pioneered a range of beers with distinct Nordic accents. Since 2010, Anders has been at the helm of his own brewing, consulting, and communications company, Kissmeyer Beer & Brewing.  His resume is filled with various awards and positions of great honor.

Jan Paul is the Brewmaster at Svaneke Bryghus, one of the first micro-breweries in Denmark.   Jan is the youngest recipient of the Danish Brewers Association Anniversary Scholarship, which is awarded to recognize and nurture especially innovative and brewing. In addition to being an acclaimed brewer, Jan is also an experienced educator who has taught at the Scandinavian School of Brewing since 2006.  Jan holds a degree in Brewing Engineering at the Technical University of Munich (Weihenstephan).

We are thankful to Anders and Jan, to Sterling College for sharing their campus, to Heather Jerrett for arranging this program, to Shawn Hill of Hill Farmstead Brewery for his support and contributions to this valuable program, and to our classmates, for being a part of this magical experience.  Today begins the task of integrating so much knowledge, including the purchase of a new USB microscope, into our brewing protocols.

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Skål, Proost, Sláinte, Kanpai, Sei gesund, Santé!, Na zdravi, Cheers!

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