U of H students "tapping" into a different type of course

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Beer and wine course offered at University of Houston, Erik Barajas has the details. (KTRK)

From vine to classroom, it's difficult to find an empty chair in the 61-seat beverage lab at the University of Houston. Beverage management program director Chris Taylor says his course stomps the grape down to everyone's comfort level.

"We're trying to help them better understand wine as and approachable product. It's not something to be feared," Taylor told abc13.

The majority of students are enrolled in the school's hospitality program. Many are interested in hotel or restaurant management. Others are aiming for the beverage industry.

Student Justine Jacobson said, "Today we were learning how to break down the bottle. You can just look at a bottle and know what region it's from, what year the grapes were harvested and grown and that makes a huge difference."

But a handful of them just want to learn more about wine.

"It's impossible to jump in and think that you know it all," Taylor said. "We try to dispel that and I think that's the ah-ha moment when they finally understand that they don't know to know it all. They just have to go and explore with some tools that help them be better explorers."

But at the end of the day, Taylor says is not that complex.

Taylor said, "It's just grape juice that's spelled kind of funny sometimes."

While some students prefer grapes, others enjoy grains.

Aaron Corsi, who developed the beer-making course here, said, "We have to take a grain, grow it, malt it. We have to trick it to convert that starch into sugar. We have to turn that sugar into alcohol and then hopefully at the end we haven't gone horribly wrong and we make a flavorful product."

Corsi has brought a vast knowledge of the industry with him.

"I'm the co-founder and brew master of 8th Wonder Brewery," Corsi said. "Everything that I experience and learn from opening up and starting a brewery, I get to pass onto the students, the stuff you can't learn in a text book."

Students get a firsthand experience with their favorite brews from concept to completion.

Corsi told us, "They'll make it. They'll see the specialty malted grains. They'll have the blood, sweat and tears from the boiling to the bottling of that process."

No matter what your goals are, if you love beer, the sky's the limit.

"Some of them even find their own passion and want to start their own brewery," Corsi said.

If you're interested in the class, it's not available yet to the general public just yet. Only those enrolled at the school can take it right now. However, the university is looking into the possibilities of expanding it toward continuing education. Something to keep your eye out for.
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educationuniversity of houstonbeerwineHouston
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