SDSM&T Fermentation Club brews up success

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The South Dakota School of Mines Fermentation Club has been operating for more than 7 years. Now, they’re making moves in the surrounding area. The club is expanding as more students are eager to get their hands on malt, hops and more.

The club is made up of students interested in learning the process and production of beer making. Members work alongside established breweries and gain a hands-on experience in the art and skill of American craft brewing.

Tom Silbernagel, co-founder of Lost Cabin Beer Co., enjoys working closely with the students and remembers brewing craft beer out of his garage.  

“It’s always fun to teach people,” says Silbernagel, “And get people excited about a hobby that I was excited about 15 years ago.”

A culture and interest in craft brewing is growing in Rapid City and the surrounding area. Tristin Bissinger, club president, has been a part of the SDSM&T Fermentation Club for 4 years and can attest to the benefits of this hands-on opportunity.

“The big benefit is giving the members a chance to actually work with the professional brewing equipment,” says Bissinger. “When we have a beer release, we use it as a fundraiser for the club, which also helps fund the School of Mine’s Safe Ride Program.”

And more good news is on the way for young brewmasters at SDMS&T. The club has already brewed up their very own “Pine-ancial Aid,” which was quite a success. Two new club members, who played a huge part in crafting the brew, are proud of their accomplishment and eager for what is next.

“Next semester, we are going to brew wine and start from the picking grapes state,” says club member Delenn Mobley.

Students say they are now inspired to take their skills to the next level.

“It’s going all the way the to where both of us are designing our own brew for a competition this spring,” says club member Morgan Vagts.

All students can join the club and learn the art of craft brewing. If you’re not of legal age to consume, you can still help with the brewing process, up until 24 hours after the yeast has been added.

The big step with the fermentation club’s evolution is that the School of Mines will be adding a brewing and science engineering class next fall. Shortly after, a brew lab is in the works to be added on campus to enhance the learning experience.  

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