Chris Milum started out his career a certified public accountant.

A 1996 graduate of Moore High School, Milum earned his bachelor’s of business administration in finance and accounting from Southern Methodist University.

He went on to get his master’s degree in accounting, too.

And after that, he became a certified public accountant.

Life was OK for about three years.

But at the time when most number jockeys would settle down, find a wife, and have 2.3 children, Chris Milum turned in his calculator.

“I guess I needed more adventure,” he said.

His decision came after an impromptu bull session with some friends. “A bunch of us were sitting around talking about what we would do if we weren’t CPAs. And the answers were pretty typical.”

Except when it came to Chris.

“I told them I wanted to brew beer.”

Having been a beer fan since he turned 21 — the legal drinking age in Oklahoma — Milum didn’t want to just brew any beer; he wanted to create hand-crafted, old world style beer.

Beer that didn’t taste like the six pack variety.

“I was in Dallas,” he said. “We were at Humperdinks and I tried my first crafted beer. And I really enjoyed it.”

He liked it so much, that he began visiting brew pubs and other places were he could try different beers. “When I’d go to a new town, I’d try to find a brew pub and taste everything that I could,” he said. “I wanted to try something I hadn’t tried before.”

The affinity quickly led to a hobby.

And with the help of freinds, Chris began to make his own beer.

“Some friends and I began to brew our own beer and we were making really good stuff,” he said. “It was as good as some of the pubs we visited.”

And it was at this point that Chris Milum began to realize his future was tied to hops and yeast and not numbers.

“A couple of my friends said we should try to open our own microbrewery. But I really didn’t ever think about going back to school.”

Even so, about two years later, Chris enrolled at the University of California at Davis to study brewing.

“The program was developed by the Institute and Guild of Brewing from Burton, England, he said.

Twelve weeks later, he’d learned how to brew beer on the large scale.

“I earned my certificate in brewing and packaging,” he said. “And learned how to brew beer on heavy machinery.”

But Chris didn’t want to work for Budweiser.

“I wanted to learn the art and the science,” he said. “I wanted to study the craft.”

Armed with his basic brewer’s knowledge, he set off again, this time to Middlebury, Vt., and the American Brewer’s Guild.

About six months later, he received his Master Brewer’s diploma and an apprenticeship at the Otter Creek Brewing Company and Wolavers Organic Ales.

The world of accounting was now well behind him.

After completing his apprenticeship, he began searching for a job in the brewing industry.

“I wanted to leave Vermont,” he said. “The winters were pretty rough and I’m a warm-blooded mammal, so I started looking for jobs back south.”

A tip from his brother led Chris to Fayetteville, Ark., and a job at the Hog Haus Brewery.

Two years later, he returned to Moore.

“The brewery began to have financial problems, so I got out,” he said. “Plus I wanted to get back to my microbrewery plan. So I came back here last December.”

With his training and a great deal of practical experience, Chris, now 29, launched an Internet-based business designed to help those home brewing hobbyists.

“We started out as an educational resource,” he said. “I realized there were a whole bunch of misconceptions about home brewers. I was sitting around and thought, ‘I need to correct some of these things.’”

He developed a series of videos which helped answer the home brewer’s questions.

And business took off.

“We spent all of 2006 making new videos and writing scripts,” he said. “And we would always tell people to go to your local home brew shop. After a while we decided we need to start offering the equipment ourselves and from there, business just skyrocketed.”

He was so successful that this June Chris opened his store, Learn to Brew, at 2307 South Interstate 35 Frontage Road in Moore.

“We moved in on June 1st,” he said. “The store looks like a pub with bars in the front and back.”

Built with fixtures created by his father, the store began to offer brewing supplies, advice and even classes to those who want to make their own beer. The store hosted its grand opening Aug. 24.

“Business has been awesome,” he said. “It’s a lot better than I expected, but word-of-mouth is huge among home brewers.”

By coupling training with equipment and supplies, Chris says he can help even the most inexperienced beer fan.

“Beer is basically a recipe of four ingredients: hops, malted barley, yeast and water,” he said. “And here, we offer basic classes and those for the intermediate learner. We want people to learn to brew like a craft brewery.”

Additionally, he says, Learn to Brew will host beer tastings to teach brewers how to analyze and solve problems in their beer.

“It’s not a get-together and drink thing,” he said. “We take beer and then we add different chemicals to it, so people can taste when something goes wrong. If they recognize what it tastes like, then they can learn where in the bewing process to fix it.”

Along with beer, Learn to Brew also will offer classes for wine making.

“Our classes are small, limited to 10 people. That’s because it’s all hands on; it’s not just me lecturing, the students are doing the brewing themselves.”

Future plans include a microbrewery — connected with Learn to Brew’s store.

“We’re probably about five years away from the microbrewery,” he said. “We want to get Learn to Brew up and running, then we’ll move on to the microbrewery.”

And while Chris will acknowledge that beer and home brewing isn’t for everyone; he believes there is a great reward in making a well crafted, good tasting beer.

Because good beer, he believes, is the result of knowledge and patience.

“It’s a great hobby,” he says. “We don’t try to convert anyone. We just want to teach people how to brew great tasting beer at home.”

A noble aspiration for a one-time accountant.

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