MIAMI -

For some South Florida college students, beer is more than an extracurricular activity -- it's a science class.

"It's essentially an applied biochemistry class in that we will look at the chemistry, biochemistry, physics, mechanics of all the brewing operation," said Dr. Barry Gump, who teaches at Florida International University's Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management.

With South Florida's thirst for craft beer growing, FIU began offering its brewing science course year round instead of summer-only. Turning out brewmasters helps make South Florida an up and coming hub in the craft beer industry.

FIU students Matt Weintraub and Zhilong Yang plan to open their own brew pub after graduation. They already are gathering experience brewing beers for private parties.   

"A lot of people just want a local vibe in their beer, using local ingredients, local ideas, local companies," said Weintraub.

During the semester, students study the different nuances of beers by keeping tasting notes, and learning about sanitation, quality control and packaging.  

The class brews about six different beers. As a final project, they then brew their own recipe.

Lemongrass, strawberries, and pumpkin are all ingredients the students have used.

"I just love the endless possibilities you can make in your beer," said Weintraub.

This coming semester, the students will be brewing a special beer for Riedel, a wine glass company, which will be served at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival in February.

FIU also offers one-day brewing seminars which are open to the public.

Click here for more information about FIU's brewing programs.