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By Clare McGraw
Cheney Free Press 

Inland Ale Works collaborates with Eastern Washington University

Helps students in brewery program


Last updated 11/9/2023 at 10:27am

Clare McGraw

Inland Ale Works, 505 1st St., offers use of the facility to Eastern Washington University students enrolled in their brewing certificate program.

CHENEY - Nick Johnson, the owner of Inland Ale Works, embarked on his brewing journey over three decades ago when he first dabbled in home brewing.

Today, he's the sole proprietor and operator of Inland Ale Works, a local brewery that he founded three years ago. Johnson's deep-rooted passion for brewing has been a driving force throughout his life.

Johnson's journey into the world of brewing began 33 years ago, and it's been marked by an enduring love for the craft.

He said he's captivated not only by the art of brewing but also the underlying science that makes it all possible.

His path intertwined with Eastern Washington University through an unexpected encounter.

He said one of his customers tipped him off to the university's plans to introduce a brewing course, and asked him if he would be interested.

"I wanted to make a connection with the folks here in town," Johnson said. "I know this is a college town."

One of the highlights of this collaboration is the invaluable experience it offers to students.

Johnson's brewing equipment at Inland Ale Works becomes their laboratory.

"They are actually getting hands-on experience," Johnson said. "Home brewing up to pro brewing is the same process, and they don't have to buy their equipment."

Johnson's brewery showcases a treasure trove of equipment, primarily reconditioned dairy tanks. He's spent a decade amassing this collection, and every piece of equipment in Inland Ale Works is a testament to his craftsmanship and modification skills.

It's a haven for both seasoned professionals and budding brewers he said.

The connection between Johnson and the students goes beyond the shared space. Inland Ale Works becomes an extension of the university for the students.

After their classes, you can often find them at the brewery, eager to learn from Johnson's expertise.

"A bunch of students interviewed me and asked me a litany of questions, and some of them would do their practicum here," said Johnson.

Johnson's love for brewing extends beyond the collaboration with the college. He thrives on the creative aspect of the craft, relishing the process of concocting new recipes.

"I like coming up with new recipes," Johnson said. "I also like the chemistry of it and the science of it, and I get a lot of satisfaction from doing it over and over again and finally getting it right."

Author Bio

Clare McGraw, Reporter

EWU graduate


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