Beer is the most widely consumed alcoholic beverage in the world, and few would argue that it is also the most popular alcoholic beverage on college campuses.
That’s why a group of CC students recently organized a beer tasting dinner, in which a variety of beers were paired with accompanying foods.
“Because of the relationship between alcohol abuse and sexual safety, I find it important to have events on campus that foster a safer drinking environment,” said Nathan Brand ’11, who was instrumental in organizing the Dec. 8 Brew Tasting, which was held in Gaylord Hall and attended by 60 guests. “While some campus events already do serve alcohol for students to enjoy, they do not incorporate an educational component. The purpose of events such as Brew Tasting is to teach people how to enjoy alcohol as an art form, rather than just simply as a means to an end.”
“The event was an opportunity for students over 21 to experience alcohol in a mature setting, in which they learned about beer and beer-food pairings. Students also had the opportunity to interact with staff member in a social setting,” said Heather Horton, CC’s sexual assault response coordinator.
Brand, who was last year’s co-chair of SOSS (Student Organization for Sexual Safety) enlisted seniors Nick Hawks and Chris Shambaugh to lead the event, which featured eight craft brews.
Hawks, who writes the popular Brew-HaHa column in the Catalyst, said one of the goals of the Brew Tasting was to educate fellow students so they would know and appreciated what they were drinking.
He and Shambaugh selected craft beers in a variety of categories to complement a five-course meal that started with grapes and cheese and included a Caesar salad, red vegetarian chili, lamb chops, and tiramisu for dessert. “We wanted students to sip slowly and learn to identify the flavors they were experiencing. We asked them to describe and label what they were tasting,” Hawks said.
He labeled the evening a success, adding that students came up to him after the event, saying they had no idea beer could have so much complexity. The evening also had an inferred lesson, he said, which was that beer can be sipped and enjoyed; that drinking doesn’t have to lead to drunkenness, and that imbibing with a meal is a form of drinking that is an enjoyable way to consume alcohol.
The event was sponsored by Horton’s office, along with SOSS and Campus Activities. Hawks said there are plans to hold another Brew Tasting in the spring semester, with a completely different line-up of beers. “There’s just so much great beer out there that I want to introduce people to,” he said.