By Charlotte Burnod
It’s a sunny afternoon in West Campus. Speakers blast the Kinks’ “Waterloo Sunset,” and sophomore Will Cravens home brews beer.
Cravens is a member of the Future Brewers Club, a new student organization at the University of Texas at Austin. According to the president and founder, chemistry junior James Sutton, the organization is open to students interested in beer. Sutton turned 21 last semester and began brewing beer at home because of his interest in beer production and the beer industry. “I started this club as a good way to meet other people interested in home brewing, craft beer, drinking beer, all things beer-related,” Sutton says.
Cravens, a history and psychology sophomore, has been home brewing since high school. “My parents got a brew kit for Christmas,” he says. “I immediately enjoyed it and got really into everything behind it.”
Home brewing beer can be a challenge. For beginners, Cravens suggests starting with small batches when experimenting. “It’s perfect because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made big batches not well. With small batches, you lose a lot less money, and it’s a lot less of a letdown,” he says.“Making the recipes is the most fun, sometimes a lot more fun than trying them.”
Electrical engineering sophomore Andrew Lanham has been helping Cravens home brew since high school. “You can always do weird stuff with beer,” he says. “If you go to the store to buy beer, it’s just beer, but you can make interesting combinations when you brew beer.”
While beer is just a hobby for Cravens and Lanham, Sutton hopes to make it his career. He currently works part time at a local brewery. “It’s a passion,” Sutton says. “I work at Adelbert’s Brewery but I want to do this full time, hopefully. That’s the goal. As a chemistry major, I think this is a good way for me to apply my skills, and it’s definitely interesting to me. It’s cool to make a product that you know people will voluntarily buy and enjoy.”
Although the legal age for alcohol consumption in the United States is 21, the Future Brewers Club is open to all students. “You don’t have to be 21 to join. All we do officially is have meetings, so anyone can show up and talk about beer,” Sutton says.
Sutton says he looks forward to seeing the organization grow. “Come here, learn something, have a good time, meet people — that’s all I want it to be, and it’s been that so far,” he says.