tom sanders

Millions are connected throughout the world by a passion that indulges their tastes and alows them to embrace their creativity. This passion? The art of brewing beer.

Cal Poly now has its own beer thanks to a campus club, the Brew Crew, which has brewed several types of beer this past year, one of which will be featured Tuesday at Frog & Peach for Pint Night.

The Brew Crew was created last year but went fairly unnoticed until psychology senior Brad Hurvitz inquired about joining. Now, as president of the club, Hurvitz wants to encourage students to learn about what it is they are drinking and that beer possibilities are endless.

“The Brew Crew’s aim is to show people that there are several different types of beer out there to drink, not just the cheap stuff,” Hurvitz said.

Perks to being a member of the club are unbeatable. For only $15 per quarter, which goes strictly toward products for brewing, students receive an official membership card which entitles them to Pint Night prices at Frog and Peach every night, as well as a 50 percent discount on beer and mixed drinks at Downtown Brew Company. Members also receive 10 percent off of products at Doc’s Cellar, a home-brew store in San Luis Obispo.

“It is extremely nice to have the discount because buying a drink for a friend is the same price as buying a drink for yourself without the discount. So it is a cheap and easy way of giving a gift to your friends,” Hurvitz said.

The beer to be featured at Tuesday’s Pint Night is called Cal Poly Brown Ale and will be free for Brew Crew members. The ale has a strong, brown taste and is about 5 percent alcohol, Hurvitz said.

“I tried it recently and it blows Newcastle out of the water,” he said of the Brown Ale.

“This is really exciting for us to have our finished product on display for everybody to enjoy, we worked hard on this beer,” he said. “When the final results are observed, it is a wonderful feeling, and in our case it happens to be the one thing everybody will be celebrating with anyway: Beer.”

The Brew Crew will also be featuring a beer at this year’s California Festival of Beers in Avila Beach on Saturday. Dubbed “School Is Out For … Summer Ale,” this beer has a hint of raspberry and will be poured for everyone at the Brew Crew’s booth.

“It will be exciting to be pouring beer for beer lovers,” Hurvitz said.

The beer is brewed at Central Coast Brewery, which is one of the four “brew on premise” breweries in California. Anyone over 21 is welcome to spend the afternoon brewing a specialty beer, with all of the ingredients and recipes at hand and ready to use.

“You need virtually no experience to brew,” brewery owner George Peterson said.

It takes about two to three hours for the beer to be brewed, and then Central Coast Brewery monitors it for the next month. Costing around $115 to $130 to brew a keg full of your own inventive beer, customers never leave unsatisfied after tasting their own creation.

Central Coast Brewery uses no preservatives in their beers, which only makes for better quality and taste.

“You just don’t realize how much stuff is in commercial beer,” Peterson said.

The Brew Crew’s activities director Abhinav Goyal became involved with the club because he was curious to learn the beer-making process. Goyal, a computer engineering senior, developed the concept of having a discount card for members and develops activities for the club.

“There is a world of beer out there that a lot of people don’t know about, and with the help of Brew Crew, we’d like to expose some part of it,” Goyal said.

“I think the best part about it all was the creativity aspect of the process; we were no longer limited by the options at the grocery store. Brad and I go crazy with the ingredients,” he said.

Goyal’s favorite self-created beer to date was an Amber Ale with cinnamon and cloves.

“Controlling the amount of body the beer has and the flavors makes a huge difference,” he said.

Hurvitz first began brewing beer while he studied abroad in Sydney, Australia last year. Throughout his four months there, he brewed 11 different batches.

“(My) first batch was an Indian Pale Ale (IPA) and ever since then I have become more creative and have tried to incorporate more ingredients, an Amber Ale with cinnamon and cloves, a grapefruit wheat, a chocolate hazelnut brown ale, and more recently an orange vanilla wheat,” Hurvitz said.

By traveling to roughly 30 different countries and observing how countries differ in their beers, Hurvitz said that he began to love beer and it became more of a gift than a drink.

As much as he is an advocate for beer drinking, Hurvitz is also an advocate for beer safety. For his senior project, he is currently working on a program that educates students on how to measure their blood alcohol concentration, which will be facilitated among 3,000 freshmen next year during the Week of Welcome.

“I feel that it is mandatory that people will understand the effects of alcohol if they will be imbibing it. It is a delectably dangerous drink and we must know how it works,” he said.

For those interested in becoming members of the Brew Crew, contact Hurvitz by e-mail at brewcrew@calpoly.edu. The club also has a group on www.facebook.com.

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