Many of us first discovered beer; especially our love for drinking beer in college. But what if you could take a class about beer? Luci Benedict, a Chemistry Professor at the University of Southern Maine, does just that. Her students love the class on Fermentation and the science behind everyone’s beloved brews. We got out of the rain and met up with Luci at the Thirsty Pig in Portland where she told us more about the science of beer warming up over pints of Bissell Brothers Angels with Filthy Souls: an American Porter with maple syrup perfect for a rainy cold day.
So, a 300 level college class on beer… Why? Taste testing after class is a given reason; sign me up. Luci wanted to reach her students because the subject of chemistry could be daunting. It all comes down to “measuring stuff in stuff.” The chemistry and biology changes during brewing and fermentation. Students in her classes also study sour kraut, kimchi, cheese, and bread. All this research and study of the chemistry of beer is paying off for the local beer community. Luci received a grant that is creating a lab next Fall that will provide quality control education and a space for brewers to measure ABV, IBU, and color without having to send samples out of state. Students will work with the breweries applying what they learn in her class.
Keep the University of Southern Maine on your radar! With the help of Luci, they are positioning themselves to be an amazing part of the Maine beer scene.
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Have you ever taken a class on brewing or fermentation? Whether it was at a university or a friend’s garage; let us know on Twitter @greatbeerwomen.