While brewing good beer is no ‘hop’ through the park, Rob Walker figured it out when he took over Central Oregon Community College’s “Students of Brew” club as club president. The “Students of Brew” is composed of a group of students looking to learn about the home brewing process. The…equipment was just sitting in the back room collecting dust not being used. I didn’t even know how to brew beer. I just took it on because it made no sense to me for it just to sit there,” said Walker.
Athough a school sanctioned club, the ‘Brew Club’ is quite removed from the college despite being run by, paid for, populated, and enjoyed by students. Because of the “no alcohol policy” in effect on campus, the ‘Brew Club’ is unable to use school grounds to make their heady brews, nor enjoy their beers while on campus. Instead, the Club brews in Walker’s garage.
“I’d like to have it on campus, just because it takes up a lot of room in my garage,” said Walker, “but it is what it is.”
When he took on the role of “Students of Brew” President, Walker certainly had some catching up to do but moved forward undaunted.
“I…had a talk with the Brew Shop on Division Street’s owner to get some ideas on how to do it, how it works, what the processes are. I’ve been brewing for…close to two years.”
In a perfect world, the Students of Brew club would meet twice a month to buy ingredients, start brewing, and enjoy a good beer.
In reality however, this is sometimes difficult for President Walker to do. With life happening as it tends to do, the club has taken a back burner for the time being. The Sunday, Feb. 21 meeting was in fact the first meeting of the term – a little late for the club which usually meets at the beginning of each month.
But fear not, Walker has some ideas on how to get the club more involved. Students can expect to see more action from the ‘Brew Club’, starting with a Hash Run being put on by the Military Science club.
A Hash Run is a race where competitors run to check points, but instead of drinking water, they drink beer! The beer for the proposed Hash Run will be provided by the “Students of Brew”, one step towards a more active ‘Brew Club.’
When they do get brewing, the Students of Brew normally get two batches of beer going per meeting. The fermentation process from start to finish usually takes anywhere from one month to one and a half months, and since it’s illegal to sell the homebrewed beer, members who are 21 are allowed to take beer home with them, just as long as they bring back the bottles.
As far as beer recipes go, Walker and the club tend to brew beers from different ends of the spectrum rather than use a specific recipe.
“We try to mix it up,” he said. “My favorite, hands down, is our clone of the Deschutes’ Mirror Pond. I think that was the best beer we’ve made. We have a saying in the Brew Club: ‘When in doubt, hop it out’ so it’s a little ‘hoppier’ than Mirror Pond makes it, but it was fairly close.”
The club spends an estimated $100-$150 per month on ingredients and replacement pieces for the equipment. The club focuses primarily on brewing as closely as they can to actual breweries.
“What they do in the breweries… is ultimately our goal – to make a good beer,” according to Walker.
For students interested in joining or learning more about the Students of Brew club, the Student Clubs section of the ASCOCC website provides contact information for Club President Walker, or students can contact Clubs Coordinator Matt Coito.