Brewing Beer Through Grad School

“Chemists love beer,” an editor of mine told me as I pitched to her the idea of turning a failed feature story into a Newscripts item.

My idea was to cover two Northwestern University grad students who transformed brewing beer in their kitchen as a hobby into a full-fledged club in Evanston. Today, the club claims nearly a dozen members from various walks of science.

I was afraid that there would be more clubs like it, and sure enough, I was right.

Newscripts received an e-mail this week from Andy LaFrate, a postdoc at the University of Colorado, saying that there are several chemists in his Boulder lab who homebrew.

“It is a lot cheaper than buying beer at the store, and with a little practice, you can produce beers that rival the best microbrews out there,” LaFrate says.

He points out that there are websites that give “clone” recipes such as the aptly-named that provide guidance to homebrewers.

LaFrate says CU has an official brewing club called “Zymurgy,” as in the branch of applied chemistry that deals with fermentation. The club hosted a seminar not too long ago, and the head of brewing at Shiner Beer gave a talk.

“Very cool,” LaFrate wrote in his e-mail.

Apparently, there is a whole beer-brewing subculture in chemistry grad school I didn’t know about. It just may be a reason to go back to school.

Author: David Pittman

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1 Comment

  1. Seems a lot of people homebrew in college. Certainly beats the beer that most college kids are drinking at that age.