All About Beer: Craft Brew, Microbrew, You Brew!

OLLI doesn’t usually go in for tests or grades.  But we do like to spring a pop quiz on you every once in a while. Like now!   Read this post’s headline and—without help from Google—tell us in one word what Peter Terzian’s upcoming class will be about.  (Click “Play” on the bar below for help.)

Time’s up!  Who has an answer? Now, let’s not always see the same hands. Yes! The correct answer is “Beer.” Those of you who got it right can congratulate yourselves.  Those of you who got it wrong will just have to study harder.  In fact, you may want to take Peter’s class.  In the spirit of pop quizzes, we asked him some questions about it.

OLLI Connects:  How did you get started with brewing your own beer?

Peter: “I started with an inexpensive Mr. Beer brewing kit that I purchased at Sears.  Then, I discovered a store in Brandon that sold ingredients and equipment. They even offered the opportunity to brew with them.  Another time, I was attending a meeting of fellow teachers, and one of them suggested joining a local home brew club of which they were a member.  After the first meeting I attended I joined immediately!  I could see how much I could learn from the experienced members! Some of them have even gone on to start their own breweries!”

OLLI Connects:  What are some of the aspects of brewing that your class will cover?

Peter: “We’ll cover brewing, bottling, tasting, and judging.  The variety of ingredients, the variables of time and temperature, and the importance of sanitizing are all important factors when brewing your own beer.”

OLLI Connects: Will your class take place at a local brewery or can you meet in a normal classroom?

Peter:In my class I will be using my own simple home brewing system to demonstrate how easy and how much fun it can be to brew your own beer! I’m always learning how to make better beer on a scale that fits my situation.  Most home brewers brew 5 gals. at a time. This requires bigger equipment that is typically used in a garage or on a back porch, such as a propane gas burner, and large chest refrigerator.  I brew 2-1/2 gals. at a time, so I can use a pot on my kitchen stove and a small college dorm sized refrigerator.  I think more people might try this rewarding hobby, if they knew that it really can be done this simply.”

OLLI Connects:  So, a classroom and your own equipment will be sufficient. Excellent!  Is there any pre-class research that might help interested students?

Peter:  “Check out the website I put together for our club at That’s another labor of love–all about beer, brewing, and sharing our stories.  Being a member of a local club is a priceless benefit for the process of learning about beer and how to brew.  Prost!”

OLLI Connects:  Can you tell us a bit more about the club right now?

A fermenter for beer brewing

Peter:  “The Brandon Bootleggers Homebrew Club was established in 2010. We have a monthly club meeting, brew sessions, a bottle-share happy hour and seasonal events. 

You can learn from our experts who, combined, have over 50 competition metals! Then you can join the competition team and learn how to become a certified beer-tasting judge.”

OLLI Connects:  Are there any local microbreweries that you think are good?  And, if so, why?

 Peter:  Bootleggers Brewing Company in Brandon and Hidden Springs in Tampa were both started by members of the Brandon Bootleggers Club. The Craft Beer Cellar is also recommended for their knowledge and variety of unique beers.”


We also pulled some evaluations of Peter’s past courses from the files and found quotes like:

A wortchiller used in brewing
Wort chiller

Interesting varieties of beer to taste and judge.”

” Included information about beer brewing, tasting and judging that I had no idea about.”

” Now I know how easy it is to make beer.”

”A  fun class!”

Whether you passed our pop quiz or not, you should consider Peter’s class.  It’s called–in case you’ve already forgotten– All About Beer: Craft Brew, Microbrew, You Brew and meets at HCC The Regent, one of our newer venues.  Let’s end with another pop quiz:   Who said, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy”?

Peter Terzian, a school media and technology teacher since 1980, started brewing about four years ago as a hobby.  Now retired, he also enjoys volunteering for arts, media, and technology projects.



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