The History and Science of Beer and Brewing
Beer is one of the four most commonly-consumed beverages in the world, ranking up there with water, tea, and soda, and humans have been making beer for at least five thousand years. The discovery of fermentation (if not an initial understanding of the science behind it) was a major milestone in the development of human civilization, and fermentation continues to play a primary role in such seemingly disparate activities as the production of yogurt, antibiotics, bioethanol and bioweapons. It all began with the humble task of making beer.
This study abroad class, based in at Harlaxton Manor in England, will explore both the history and science of beer and brewing through class work, lab work, and day trips to breweries and other scientifically relevant sites. England itself has a long and storied brewing history, and Harlaxton serves as a central location from which to visit several breweries of different sizes and types, while giving us a central location for holding class.
- Grantham—Brewster's Brewery
- Burton-on-Trent—National Brewing Center
- Bury St. Edmunds—Greene King Brewery
- London—London Science Museum
- Analyze the intersection of science and history as it pertains to alcohol
- Read, interpret, and analyze primary source texts related to this topic
- Compare and contrast bacterial and yeast cells
- Culture yeast and describe properties of different yeast strains
- Describe basic biochemical principles of microbial fermentation
- Describe microbial growth and its control
- Describe technological advances that "industrialized" beer brewing
- Use appropriate terminology to describe the beer brewing process
- Demonstrate analytical writing skills focused on the course content
The curriculum of this study abroad course will require on-site visits to breweries and museums. On some of these trips the class will walk several miles, including up and down the stairways and ladders in breweries. The ability to participate in these tours is required. Weather in England at this time of year can be rainy, cold, mild or warm. Students are encouraged to bring a sturdy pair of walking shoes or boots, as well as lightweight clothing and clothing that can withstand dampness.