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Beer Crafted by CNM Students To Be On Tap at Local Brewery

CNM’s Brewing and Beverage Management Program partnered with Sidetrack Brewing Co. to release the inaugural signature collaboration beer.
Beer Crafted by CNM Students To Be On Tap at Local Brewery
CNM's Brewing and Beverage Management faculty and the Sidetrack Brewing Co. team toast to the success of the inaugural collaboration brew.

Jun 13, 2019

Thanks to a collaboration with Sidetrack Brewing Co. located in downtown Albuquerque, students in Central New Mexico Community College’s Brewing and Beverage Management program have crafted their very own flavorful brew that will start flowing through taps at Sidetrack on July 16. It will be the first college-crafted brew to be poured in Albuquerque, which is now one of the country’s most decorated brewing destinations.

Over the past two years, CNM students have had the luxury of gaining valuable, hands-on experience working with commercial brewing equipment at Sidetrack Brewing Co. Our students worked closely with Sidetrack's Head Brewer, Dan Herr, to craft a delicious barrel-aged sour that will be featured at Sidetrack's taproom.

“We thought it was a neat opportunity to engage with the community and engage with CNM, and really give the students some insight on how our systems work compared to other systems,” says Dan Herr, co-owner and head brewer at Sidetrack Brewing Co. “Through our partnership and getting to experience the quality of the beer the CNM students have produced, we thought putting this collaboration beer on tap would be a great way to show our support for CNM’s Brewing program and for the way the college stepped up to support the workforce needs of New Mexico’s brewing industry.”

Cultivating strong relationships with the New Mexico brewing industry has been at the heart of CNM’s Brewing Program since it launched in 2016. And the opportunity to collaborate with Sidetrack has been a valuable learning experience for students aiming to join the local industry when they graduate. 

“It’s great for the students to be able to actually brew beer in a commercial brewing facility,” says Nick Jones, a CNM full-time instructor. “I want our students to see how Sidetrack is able operate so effectively and efficiently within a relatively smaller space.”

Dan says that there are many methods to brewing. He wanted to give CNM students a taste of what it’s like to brew in a smaller capacity and at the same time teach them the importance of being adaptable in the brewing process.

“We’ve got a small system. It’s not geared up for big production volume like some of the larger breweries,” says Dan. “I want to show the students that they can brew high-quality beer in a lot of different ways.”

Nick says that the need for highly-trained brewers and technicians continues to grow across New Mexico, and CNM will continue working to produce a skilled brewing workforce that helps the industry thrive. In 2016, Albuquerque made the top 10 of Travelocity’s Top Beer Destinations, and in 2017 Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine named Albuquerque as one of America’s Best Brew Destinations.

“The New Mexico Brewers Guild approached CNM (before the brewing program launched), letting us know that they needed qualified employees to support the growing industry in our state,” Nick says. “Since the inception of our program, we’ve been very rooted in the local brewing community and making sure that our curriculum serves their needs.”

Students worked with Sidetrack's head brewer, Dan Herr, to create a tasty barrel-aged sour.
Students worked with Sidetrack's head brewer, Dan Herr, to create a tasty barrel-aged sour.

In addition to serving the workforce needs of the local brewing industry, CNM’s top-notch curriculum and highly experienced faculty members have quickly turned the college’s program into one of the best in the country. In the 2018 U.S. Open College Beer Championship, CNM was named the No. 2 brewing school in North America. During the competition, CNM students also won the gold medal in the IPA category for their “Galaxy Smash IPA” and silver in the Stout category for their bold “1st Place Stout."

In 2019, CNM became one of 13 colleges and universities to be recognized as meeting the approved guidelines and learning outcomes of the Master Brewers Association of the Americas (MBAA).

Learn more about CNM’s Brewing and Beverage Management Program.

Look out for this barrel-aged sour coming soon to Sidetrack Brewing Co.
Look out for this barrel-aged sour coming soon to Sidetrack Brewing Co.