Cheryl Parker '00, currently a brewer with Throwback Brewery, will officially join the university March 31 as its brewery manager and instructor, but she’s already taking measurements, inventorying equipment and working with faculty to design the curriculum to get ready for the fall launch of the new brewing science minor that includes an onsite pilot brewery.
Parker has been responsible for all aspects of operations and production at Throwback along with head brewer Annette Lee and co-brewer Chris Naro for more than three years. She studied freshwater biology in the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture (COLSA) and spent 10 years working as a laboratory supervisor/field technician in EOS before moving to Antarctica, where she spent three years as the assistant supervisor of laboratory operations at the Crary Science and Engineering Center.
It was after Antarctica, during a short stint in Chicago between jobs, when her husband planted the seed for her new career direction with the gift of “The Joy of Home Brewing” and some basic equipment. “I took it very seriously,” she says with a laugh. “When they said to keep things sanitary, I wrapped my kitchen in plastic wrap.”
"I love to watch people get excited about the process."
Parker will teach two courses in the five-course minor, potentially an introductory course that will include field trips to local breweries and a hands-on brewing course. Her first task is helping to get the brewery set up, using the gas-fired equipment the university received from Throwback Brewery when it was upgrading its equipment and an additional electric-powered system purchased from Out.Hause Ales in Northwood.
“We are thrilled to have Cheryl on board,” says Jon Wraith, COLSA dean. “We had an incredibly strong pool of applicants from as far as Idaho and Florida, but she brings the combination of expertise and enthusiasm that we were looking for in our unique academic position. Her return to COLSA as its founding brewery manager is fitting as it brings her full-circle in her career.”
While Parker started as a home brewer, she was quickly producing beer that was sought after and interning in Chicago breweries. At Throwback, she does everything from tank and equipment maintenance and repair to supervising and training new brew house staff, student interns and volunteers.
“I don’t think people realize how much science is involved,” Parker explains when asked about her move to UNH. “In my role at Throwback, I do tours of the facilities, and I love to watch people get excited about the process. It will be so fun to teach science with beer as the hook, especially for students who didn’t think they were interested in science.”