If you’ve been tempted to hop on the hop train, stomp your own grape juice into wine, can a batch of pickles or kraut, knead a batch of artisanal bread — and maybe even build a business around those skills — you’ll want to feast your focus on the fine art of fermentation.
The Columbia Gorge is now home to an estimated 45 wineries, 14 breweries, 13 cideries and two distilleries — not counting dozens, probably hundreds, of home brewers.
All those brewers represent different applications of “fermentation science,” the topic of a six-part instructional series starting next month at the Columbia Gorge Community College Indian Creek Campus in Hood River.
According to a college news release, local industry leaders in such disparate fields as beer, cider, wine, spirits, baking and fermented foods will describe the commonalities uniting their work. The series will be facilitated by Dr. Kevin McCabe, lab supervisor at Full Sail Brewing Co. and former microbiology professor at the college.
Each week, a different speaker will introduce students to their specific application of fine ferment.
Students will learn the principles of fermentation science, systems design and engineering, social and cultural implications of quality food and beverage production, agricultural and industrial waste and water treatment, and fermentation business management.
“These courses are designed for anyone with an interest in fermentation, whether they’re established professionals, people who would like to work in the field, or home brewers looking to compare notes with industry experts throughout our region,” says Suzanne Burd, community education coordinator at the college.
“The Oregon State Legislature has invested in fermentation science programs at our colleges and universities because these investments create jobs in a rapidly-growing industry and add value to our agricultural crops. Many of those new jobs are right here in our region, and Columbia Gorge Community College is doing its part to help grow this important sector of our economy,” Burd added.
The Fermentation Science Course starts Jan. 12 and will be held every other Thursday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on the Hood River – Indian Creek Campus of Columbia Gorge Community College.
For details and registration, call (541) 506-6011 or visit the college web site’s scheduling information.