It's Official: Beer Makes Everything Better, Even Chemistry

Students from the Art and Science of Brewing
Students from the Art and Science of Brewing

By Aaron Miles

College professors often try, and yes sometimes fail, to make their subjects more exciting to prospective students. Since craft beer makes most things in life more exciting, why not science? Linfield College professor Brian Gilbert has apparently brewed up a winning equation to make chemistry fun by teaching the principles of chemistry through brewing beer.

Gilbert’s says his class, the Art and Science of Brewing “is a blatant attempt to make chemistry relevant.” It appears to be working. This years class, which concluded in late January, was at capacity and there’s a waiting list for next year’s course.

Students must be 21 or older to join the upper division course, which features tastings and trips to local breweries. They analyze the chemical processes that occur at each stage of brewing and look at how organic compounds help create aromas and flavors.

So what did they do for a grueling final exam? Students keg or bottle their beer and invite professors, students and local brewers to take a sip.

A secondary benefit, was instilling a greater appreciation of craft beer: “The class gives you a real appreciation for beer,” said former student Josh Merrick. “Now, instead of buying a six-pack of light, we’ll go out and support local brewers.”

We think it’s time for more college courses to integrate beer and brewing into their curriculum. Any bright ideas? Share your ideas in the comments below and lets help shape the nubile minds of tomorrows craft beer enthusiasts!