West Virginia University Associate Professor Sven Verlinden wants students to learn to “respect” and “savor” beer.

Verlinden’s new class PLSC 293: “Barley to Beer” will not only teach the fundamentals of brewing, food pairing and the history of beer, but it will also focus on health, wellness and safe consumption.

“I want students to understand how to enjoy it responsibly,” Verlinden said.

Orginally from Belgium, Verlinden knows a lot about the art form of beer brewing. As a home brewer himself, he is passionate about the process and the finished product.

“Beer has a little more vulgar history to it than wine. People think of wine as refined and special. People that enjoy wine are known as connoisseurs, but I want to make clear the same thing goes for beer. It does not have to be just a drink, just a vessel for alcohol – it is much more than that,” he said. “There is a way to savor it, to really enjoy it, and to do that in a socially responsible way.”

The class will be held at the Morgantown Brewing Company, so students can get a first-hand look at the micro-brewery operation. But, Verlinden notes, no beer will be tasted during the course so that people of all ages can participate.

Verlinden will bring in outside speakers to talk about responsible drinking and alcohol abuse. The course will also give students the opportunity to discuss beer advertisements, society and will provide an open forum to discuss the drinking age.

On the brewing side of things – Verlinden will delve into the history of beer and the debate of which came first: bread or beer. He will talk about the ingredients in beer, the fermentation and distillation process and the various types of beer.

Click to hear Verlinden talk about "Barley to Beer"

He also hopes to look at the differences between micro-brewing and large corporate brewing.

To conclude the course, Verlinden will talk about beer cuisine. He will look at recipes that include beer and assess what kinds of beers go best with what foods.

The course is offered by WVU Extended Learning and will be held during the summer session. It is currently scheduled to begin on June 15 and continue until Aug. 5. It will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The course, which is currently being offered as a special topics course, has space for 50 students.

In addition to “Barley to Beer,” a variety of other topical courses are being offered:

  • “The Art of Andy Warhol” focuses on the work of one of Pittsburgh’s most famous sons;
  • “The Hollywood Indian” explores Indian stereotypes in American film;
  • “Riflery” gives students the opportunity to learn to shoot with the coach of WVU’s nationally ranked rifle team;
  • “Monsters, Vampires, and Liberated Women,” takes a multidisciplinary approach to the Gothic genre in film;
  • “Great Books in Law and Politics” gives summer reading a new dimension.

The summer term begins May 17, and students can register throughout the summer.

For more information on summer courses and to register, visit http://elearn.wvu.edu/ .



CONTACT: Sven Verlinden, Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design
304-293-2944, Sven.Verlinden@mail.wvu.edu