Over this last semester, students enrolled in the Beer Brewing Class at Maryville College have been hard at work making beer. Led by Chemistry Professor Dr. Nathan Duncan, students have had the opportunity to develop and brew some of their own unique beers.
On April 22, the class hosted a beer tasting event to showcase their hard work and came together to taste beer. Not only did students in the class participate in the beer tasting event, other members of the community joined as well. Maryville Mayor Tom Taylor joined the class as a guest judge, along with Captain Jeff Burchfield of the Blount County Sherriff’s Office to give his input on his favorite beers.
Among these guests were three members of the Maryville College Community. Professor of Mathematics, Dr. Dan Ross tasted the students’ beers with Dr. Dave Unger, Professor of Biology, and Dr. Dan Klinginsmith, Interim Dean of the College.
The brewing class only met once a week on Mondays from 6 PM to 9 PM. This gave students enough time to gather materials, brew the beer, and prepare the beer for fermentation. Throughout the semester, students in the class had to wait at least two weeks for fermentation to occur, so students in the class had to eagerly wait to taste-test their finished product.
During this event, students shared their beer for the first time alongside the judges, critiquing their creation. “It’s rewarding to get to see other people react to the beer you made,” mentioned Sarah Glenn, a senior biology major, during the tasting event. “If the beer doesn’t taste good, we will all find out together.” Ultimately, learning from mistakes, and trying new things is the ultimate goal of the class.
The syllabus for the course summarizes the goal of the class best, stating, “[The beer brewing process] will include hands-on experimentation that will demonstrate the chemical processes that take place in the journey of water, grains, hops, and yeast becoming beer.”
Maria Vanegas, a junior Political Science major, explains her experience thus far in the class, “It was cool to learn how to brew beer and to understand more about the ingredients that make beers different from one another.”
Not only were student tasked with making beer, they were also required to make creative labels for their batches. As the event came to a close, the guest judges, along with members of the class, voted for the best-tasting beer in addition to the most creative label.
If you are interested in taking the class next Spring, and want more information about the course, reach out to Dr. Nathan Duncan.