CMU First Michigan College to Announce Beer Fermentation Certificate Program

Central Michigan University is the first school in the state to offer a certification program for a growing industry in Michigan.

CMU rolled out its beer fermentation certification in the fall.

And now students are in the lab phase.

Thirteen students are in the 16-credit fermentation sciences certification program.

All hoping to be part of an ever-growing Michigan industry.

“Twenty years ago, I think there were only a handful of breweries,” said CMU’s Director of Fermentation Sciences Cordell DeMattei. “And now we’re up over 250 breweries in the state.”

CMU started the fermentation sciences certification program to prep students to work in a growing Michigan industry — beer.

“We have a one-year program, 16 credit hours. In the fall it’s a mostly academic program where we’re in the lecture learning all the chemistry, micro chemistry, microbiology behind the brewing process.”

Students also have to do 200 internship hours in the summer at a brewery or brew-related industry.

It can take anywhere from two weeks to several months to make a beer.

‘If you’re making lagers those can ferment a lot longer, or making higher alcohol beers or barrel-aged beers. It can take months to make these beers.”

Students learn everything from making recipes to kegging and serving beer on tap.

Chris Lehr is excited to hopefully take his new skills to a local brewery when he’s done.

“I wanna start by brewing beer while I go to class here. I still gotta finish up at Central, but while I’m doing that I’d love to do a passion of mine, and that’s brew beer at a smaller brewery probably to start then maybe get bigger and something like Bell’s or Founder’s would be awesome,” Lehr said.

Student-made beer started selling at Hunter’s Ale House last month.

There are six on tap now.

For safety, the students have to take a breathalyzer at the end of every class.