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Craft beer connoisseur to host Beer Academy

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By Madeleine LaPlante-Dube, For The Miami Student

Beer 101, craft beer tasting and an open bar. That is what the Oxford Community Arts Center (OCAC) has in store for Thursday, Oct. 16 at the Beer Academy Event.

Beginning 7:30 p.m., the OCAC will be hosting a U.S. Open Beer Championship and Kona Bistro-sponsored Beer 101 class, in which 50 participants will be able to learn about and taste 10 craft beers for the ticket price of $35.

Caroline Croswell, the director of the OCAC, calls it "a combination of a class and a social event."

"There will be a craft beer tasting and a discussion on what the heck those beers actually are," she said.

Non-ticket holders are also welcome to come to the extra credit event, happening at Kona Bistro, which will be providing hors d'oeuvres from 8:30 to 9 p.m. These participants will be able to take part in the cash bar and live music along with the class participants, who will take part in an open bar instead.

Dow Scoggins, director of the U.S. Open Beer Championship and president of, will be hosting the class.

"We will be tasting 10 different types of craft beer, starting off with lighter beers and ending with the very heavy and very dark," Scoggins said.

Having been in the beer business for 25 years, Scoggins will be introducing those members of the class to the difference between craft beers as well as a little bit of history behind each one. "There's always a story," Scoggins said.

Having began his stint in the real world as a computer science graduate, craft beer began to spark Scoggins' interest when he decided he wanted to start his own business.

"I always liked fishing, soccer and beer growing up. I couldn't be a fisherman, and I couldn't be a soccer player, so I decided to get into beer," Scoggins joked.

Realistically, Scoggins helped start an empire.

"In 1985, I read about a small brewery in Vermont in a 'Times' article," Scoggins said. "There weren't any craft beers around at that time."

In turn, Scoggins relocated to Canada and began working coast to coast exploring and researching breweries.

Scoggins went on to start Georgia's first microbrewery, and at the time was the youngest brewery owner in the United States.

"Today, there are 3,000 breweries in the United States. When I started, I was number 175," Scoggins said.

As the director of the U.S. Open Beer Championships, Scoggins is also exposed to award-winning brews annually.

Caroline Croswell wanted to bring in Scoggins as a committee member, but he did her one better. He offered to put on the Beer Academy class.

"What we're hoping [with the Beer Academy class] is to build on the U.S. Open Beer Championships and also to bring in young people and young professionals into the Arts Center," Croswell said.

The Oxford Community Arts Center is, very community driven, Croswell said. With events like Beer Academy, the Center hopes to create awareness within the Oxford and Miami University community as well as support local arts.

"Craft beer is a kind of art," Croswell said.

For Scoggins, the beer business is all about the people, too.

"It's all about the community with the craft business," Scoggins said. "We're not just selling beers, we're selling ourselves and getting people to join in on that."

Scoggins will bring a bit of that community to the Oxford Community Arts Center this Thursday.

To be a part of it for an evening, purchase Beer Academy tickets online at