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TTK: A Drinker’s Degree

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TTKs are Sky Blue Window's 'Things to Know,' events, ideas and cultural creations that we think are worthy of your time and attention.

Forget what you were told in college: how drinking, failing grades and a burger-flipping career go hand-in-hand. Thanks to local craft beer expert Ron Smith, now you can earn your MBA and a decent buzz. Wait. What?

It's true. Smith not only encourages his students to imbibe while studying, he makes sucking down suds a class requirement. And to think your parents and professors admonished you for such behavior during your undergrad years. If you're at least 21 and have a few Saturday afternoons to spare, you soon could be updating your LinkedIn page. An MBA at last!

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Not that you need to sit through a long, drawn-out graduation ceremony at the end. Instead, if you pass the course, you'll receive a Master of Beer Appreciation certificate and the sheer satisfaction of proving your parents wrong.

A self-proclaimed "Beer Geek," Smith teaches classes for the masses at a Carmel Payless Liquor location and at IUPUI, where he instructs a 3-credit-hour course on the topic. Basically that class trains students who plan to become Cicerones. A Cicerone is to beer what a sommelier is to wine -- a savvy tour guide of sorts. One must be extremely knowledgeable on all things beer-related to attain Cicerone certification (which Smith possesses).

As a general overview of his MBA (non-IUPUI) class, students will sample more than 50 classic styles of beer and learn about their geographic origin, history, special ingredients, brewing process and how each should be poured and stored. Also necessary for earning a drinking degree, students gain an overview of different brewing techniques, processes and ingredients in general.

Smith also offers private beer education sessions conducted at one's home or place of business. (There's another contradiction from your folks: "...you'll lose your internship if you're caught drinking on the job ... blah, blah, blah.")

For more information on how you can finally make your mom proud and add that MBA behind your name, visit Beer MBA online or call (317) 564-4898, ext. #1.

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