Kurt's a veteran English teacher by profession, having logged
32 years at the high school level. He holds a bachelor's degree
from Montclair (NJ) State College and a Masters Degree from Kean College
Relatively new to the microbrew scene, he confesses that although he was
never enamoured of beer, he was always "drawn to the English ales and
similar styles, like Ballantine IPA, with more body and character than
the general effluent available."
Michael Jackson and Kurt Epps
A thrice-elected member and President of his
local school board in
central NJ and a frequent contributor of
articles to major
educational publications, this happily married
father of three young
sons (13, 10 and 7) is also an accomplished
emcee and composer. Known for his outspoken
conservative) opinions, he writes a weekly
column on every
imaginable social issue for his local paper.
Active in his church, his
work has appeared regularly in a statewide
religious publication as
He got his start in brewwriting by answering an ad for writers in the
Beer and Tavern Chronicle, a northeastern monthly that he picked up and
perused while getting his monthly supply of new micros. His work has been
featured by The Celebrator Beer News, Ale Street News and American Brewer
well as in a host of
He is a founding member of the New Jersey Association of Beer Writers
(http://kurt_epps.tripod.com/njab_index/), and the North American Guild
of Beer Writers honored his writing in both 1999 and 2000.
He begins teaching his Senior World literature course by using an empty
bottle of Pete's Wicked Red (now Pete's Amber) to introduce a unit on
Mesopotamian and Sumerian literature. That label has Ninkasi depicted on
it, and the thrust of his first lesson was that beer may have been partly
responsible for the development of writing and also for what we know as
"civilization." "The Sumerians invented writing," he says, "and they
valued beer. You've got to credit thinking like that." He even quotes the
label of Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome in his Shakespeare classes.
An ardent opponent of substance abuse (he claims to be among the
"handful" of college students in the mid sixties who NEVER smoked pot or
did drugs), he emphatically discourages his students from partaking of
alcohol until the legal age. He also admonishes them to be moderate - in
the ancient Greek tradition - even after that.
We're betting those techniques capture the attention of his students.
They sure got ours.