CSU fermentation team’s brew part of Lazy Dog’s university-themed beer club release

Most of the FST brew crew that created and tested a beer that will be distributed by Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar is shown at the lab in Gifford Hall.
Most of the Fermentation Science and Technology brew crew that created and tested a beer to be distributed by Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar is shown at the lab in Gifford Hall.

When Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar wanted to find universities with brewing programs to craft a brew for their beer club, naturally it tapped Colorado State University.

“Colorado State has an excellent program. It was at the top of our list when we began our search for universities to partner with for this next release,” said John Williams, chief marketing officer of Lazy Dog Restaurants. “The state-of-the-art brewing facility and distinguished fermentation science program attracted us and when the Brewing Science course timing aligned, everything fell into place.” 

The beer created by a group of students in CSU’s Fermentation Science and Technology (FST) will be part of Lazy Dog’s third-quarter beer club release. The as-yet-unreleased beer is one of four brews from college brewing programs. The other schools are the University of California-Davis, Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg.

All the beer is being brewed this summer by Lazy Dog’s partner Melvin Brewing in Alpine, Wyoming. The beer club started in 2018 and the schools’ contributions will be its 15th release.

Photo of a Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar

Future brewers spotlighted

“This is the first time we’ve worked with universities. Typically, it’s breweries from across the U.S.,” Williams said. “So it was a bit of a collaborative learning process on all sides. Students learned how we bring a national release to life and got the chance to collaborate with the brew team at Melvin and a professional label designer. At the same time, we were also learning how to virtually navigate this new process.” 

Jeffrey Callaway, associate director of the FST program within the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, said the decision was made to house the opportunity in FTEC 460 (Brewing Science II).

“FTEC 460 is filled primarily with graduating seniors,” Callaway said. “Jeff B. and John Wilson then took over the reins and ran with the project — to excellent results I will add!”

Brewmaster Jeff Biegert and John Wilson, both instructors, had the students research the theme and come up with a recipe that was batch-tested. Students also consulted with a professional artist and the brew science class includes vetting out beer names with an actual beer industry attorney.

“As part of the marketing team, some of the most useful skills we gained from this was how to collaborate with one another creatively,” said senior Tomas Munoz. “From the start, there were so many different (and all fantastic) ideas for this beer.

“Only after getting together, having meetings and thinking of each idea from multiple angles were we able to compile our ideas into the beer we will soon be tapping into.”

Callaway said the name and label will be unveiled by Lazy Dog, but that the FST team have created an electrifying beer: “An elegant mix of new and old and super tasty!”

Real world experienceThe Fermentation Science and Technology team created a beer from scratch.

Biegert said CSU students in FTEC 460 normally brew a beer at either Odell Brewing Company or New Belgium Brewing Company and have a tapping party at the end of the semester. But with the pandemic, that changed the past two years. So when the pitch came from Lazy Dog in June 2021, Biegert integrated the opportunity into his fall and spring semester classes.

Biegert said this collaboration was a good mix of learning to brew and the brewing industry.

“They got to learn to apply all the science that they learned in terms of understanding raw materials and using those to create a beer and do a pilot batch that is actually really close to what the real thing is like,” Biegert said. “But they also did the marketing and creative development side as well and then integrated that with legal.

“So everything that a commercial brewer or a big producer of any fermented food or beverage producer would do, from the design of the flavors, to marketing, sourcing raw materials and finally production. You want to create this new flavor? This is how it happens in the real world.”

Engaging the students

Biegert said that from the start of the fall semester, his class was ready to go.

“The students were psyched,” he said. “They learned the first week of class that they are going to create and develop a beer that’s going to be commercially released across the country. They were really stoked.”

Later this summer, that idea will be able to be poured into a glass.

“​​This was without a doubt one of the most engaging projects I have had throughout my undergraduate at Colorado State University,” said senior Kenzie Gonzales. “Overcoming issues through innovation and being able to reel in overambitious ideas was a huge aspect in my personal development as a brewer. I am very grateful that we had this opportunity.”

The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition is part of the College of Health and Human Sciences.

CSU/Lazy Dog beer club release factsFST and LD logos

  • Lazy Dog plans to reveal more details about this release and the beers in the coming months and ahead of the late-summer launch date. 
  • By the end of this summer, Lazy Dog will have more than 40 locations nationally, including three restaurants near Denver and one in Colorado Springs. The nearest Lazy Dog to Fort Collins is at 14618 Delaware St. in Westminster, Colorado. (Lazy Dog Bar and Grill in Johnstown is not affiliated with Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar)
  • Prospective beer club members must join by June 30 to be eligible for the third-quarter university release. 
  • Upon joining, members can pick up their first 8-pack of Lazy Dog house craft beer right away at Lazy Dog locations.
  • Members will receive specific instructions via email of when pick up their quarterly 8-pack (2 cans of each style, a glass, and informational booklet).
  • Non-members can order the beers in 16- and 22-ounce pours on draft at Lazy Dog locations.