Dr. Joe Askren looks over USFSM's beer-making system.

‘Sip the Sunshine’ beer fest to aid USFSM’s science of beer class

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: October 07, 2016

SARASOTA, Fla. (Oct. 07, 2016) Craft beer lovers will soon have another excuse to sample Florida’s finest specialty brews: that doing so will benefit USF Sarasota-Manatee.

Some proceeds from the upcoming Sip the Sunshine all-Florida craft beer festival at Nathan Benderson Park, 5851 Nathan Benderson Circle, Sarasota, are slated to benefit the campus’ science of beer course. Students and faculty, meanwhile, have crafted their own beers to provide to festival-goers.

“We’re very excited about this and excited also to be bringing more attention the program,” said Joe Askren, an instructor in USFSM’s College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership.

The festival, scheduled Saturday, Oct. 29, from noon to 4 p.m., couldn’t be better timed, with Florida experiencing a proliferation of microbreweries. Capitalizing on that growth, Sip the Sunshine aims to attract more than 100 beers from 50 Florida-based microbreweries.

Among that mix will be six specialty ales produced by USFSM faculty and students with help from local crafters Darwin Brewing Co., of Bradenton, and Big Top Brewing Co. and Calusa Brewing, both of Sarasota. Additionally, Dr. Paul Kirchman, dean of the College of Science & Mathematics at USFSM, plans to produce a double India pale ale with help from Bradenton’s Motorworks Brewing Co.

“I like IPAs and cars, so Motorworks was the perfect brewery for me to work with,” Dr. Kirchman said. “I also wanted to try a nitrogen IPA. Bob Haa, the brew master at Motorworks, said that the nitrogen would cover up some of the hops so we better make it a double. Who am I to argue with that? Going with a Motorworks car theme, I think we’ll call it Nitrous.”

USFSM’s interest in craft beer stems from a conversation two years ago between Sip the Sunshine founder Mark Tuchman and USFSM’s Askren and Dr. Ken Caswell, a chemistry instructor. The course, which focuses on the science, history and techniques of brewing, launched in Spring 2015.

Tuchman, who remained a supporter of the class after its launch, recommended that students and faculty play a part at Sip the Sunshine in return for some of the proceeds. Askren and Caswell quickly agreed, as did Dr. Pat Moreo, dean of the College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership.

“This event will be terrific for our students,” Dr. Moreo said. “One of the foundations of our college is weaving theory and practice together to produce excellent learning. This event is a great example of that.”

Proceeds will help pay for the class’ brewing equipment and trips to breweries and conferences.

The festival is scheduled Oct. 29, from noon to 4 p.m., followed by the Sundown Session music festival featuring Blues Traveler, which will run from 5 to 9 p.m.

General admission to both the Sip the Sunshine festival and the Sundown Session are $45. For more information, visit sipthesunshine.com/tickets.

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