PINTS & UNION PORTFOLIO: Beer Ed 101 is coming in October to an outstanding pub near you.

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Once upon a time not so long ago IU Southeast had a department called Noncredit Programs, charged with developing regular non-credit courses across a broad spectrum of interests for community members wishing to pursue continuing education.

This department was abolished in 2012, victim of financial constraints. Accordingly, the spring semester of 2012 was the final time I convened my two IUS noncredit courses: “Here’s to Beer” and “Even More to Beer.”

They were held at the NABC Public House, and when the final bell sounded, somewhere around 100 students had taken part in the class over the preceding years.

Much has changed since then.

I’m no longer an NABC co-owner, and presently work for Joe Phillips as director of beer at Pints&union, his new pub at 114 E. Market in downtown New Albany.

Moreover, during the past six years the world of beer has grown insanely prolific, embracing thousands of new breweries, dozens of revised style definitions and the immediate enhanced electronic dissemination of photos, selfies, ratings, selfies, and on vastly scattered occasions, maybe the by-now-revolutionary act of drinking a good beer with friends just for the hell of it, sans real time documentation.

Please understand that the New Wave is fine by me.

After all, I did my small bit to help create the conditions for this cornucopia even if curating it has become a tremendous challenge for everyone involved with it. In addition, the only constant in life is change. Oldsters like me must resolve to change with the planet, or be left marooned at a chain sports bar.

Change is good … at least up to a point.

Old School ways of thinking and drinking are valuable, too, and in my view they’re being neglected in the current kaleidoscopic age.

Being the stubborn sort, I continue to insist that a basic education in fundamentals is vital to the expansion of the better beer perimeter — because without knowing where we’ve been, we can’t possible know where we’re going.

It’s certainly true that one can enjoy better beer without knowing about the brewing process, beers styles, geography, history and culture. However, the more one knows about these matters, the greater the possibilities for enjoyment.

Favoring a certain flavor is merely a starting point. Knowing the whys and wherefores helps to place flavors in context. Beer education provides the back story, and helps expand the consumer’s savvy. In my experience, it transforms casual adherents into evangelists and spreaders of the better beer gospel.

I believe in it, and so for the first time since 2012, you’re invited to Beer Ed 101 at Pints&union. 

It’s a new name and a new venue for a reformatted “intro to beer” course. Obviously you must be 21 years of age to attend, and here are the other details.

  • In relative terms, Beer Ed 101 is designed for beginners just coming to the sunny side of beer enthusiasm, but rest assured all are welcome
  • Class will be held upstairs at Pints&union on three Tuesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. for approximately an hour, and I’ll stick around for extracurricular beer chat afterward
  • October 9, 16 and 23 are the dates for the initial class offering
  • The next series of dates: November 13, 20 and 27
  • There are no books, pencils and crayons, but there’ll be 3-4 beer samples (as opposed to full beers) at each session; these are included in the price. Naturally, you may eat and drink on your own dime before, during and after the class
  • For $30 (pay in advance or on the first evening), you get three class sessions, beer samples, and a mode of instruction that steadfastly refuses to “power point.” Rather, it’s oral history, sometimes incisive, other times rambling. Live (and sip) with it
  • I’m accepting RSVPs from this point forward; be aware that there is a maximum class size, although I’ll try to offer monthly classes in order to give everyone a chance
  • This course is a work very much in progress, so please stay tuned to future updates

In summary: Don’t fear the dark, consider attending Beer Ed 101, and stay tuned for the event notification at Facebook.

You also can contact me by e-mail: mayorbaylor(at)gmail(dot)com.

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