Although chemistry is generally the most dreaded course on college campuses, Professor Brian Gilbert’s “Art and Science of Brewing” chemistry class has a waiting list, and students even ask for extra homework. They learn the principles of chemistry in a four-week winter course called the Art and Science of Brewing.
“This is a blatant attempt to make chemistry relevant,” says Gilbert of his upper-division course, where students analyze the chemical processes that occur at each stage of beer brewing. Students must be 21 or older to enroll.
Jorge Ortega ’11 says his favorite part of the class was discovering the chemical processes that go into brewing, and learning how old the tradition is.
Brewing enthusiast Matthew Moss ’11 says understanding where the flavors come from will help him make better home brews.
“I liked the field trips to local breweries to apply what we had learned in class, and to see brewing on a grand scale,” says Tracey Major ’11. “Kegs are rotated by robots and the fermenters are big enough to swim in.”
And the final exam? Students bottled their beer and invited classmates, professors and local brewers to a campus tasting, where they explained how organic compounds help create aromas and flavors.
“The Northwest is a mecca for the brewing of craft beers, and the Portland area is beer nirvana,” Gilbert says.
Students Cassandra Gilbert ’12, Grant Gilmore ’11, Jordan Jacobo ’11, Tracey Major, Matthew Moss, Jorge Ortega and Arnbjorn Stokholm ’11 were featured in news stories about the class.
“Brewing up a taste for science,” News-Register
KPTV Fox 12 News
(Search for “Positively Oregon” under Video)
Art and Science of Brewing on YouTube
Chemistry at Linfield College