Professor uses beer to brew up more interest in science

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BATESVILLE, Ark. — Students at Arkansas college are buzzed about learning to brew beer while living in a dry county.

Lyon College is offering Fermentation Sciences. It’s a class that teaches students the process of how beer is made.

Behind every ice cold beer is an intricate process to get the taste just right.

“You’re not measuring alcohol; you’re measuring the difference in sugar,” Dr. Alexander Beeser told students.

Dr. Beeser created the specific class to get students more interested in science.

“If you can find something that students already have an interest in and use that as a hook,” Beeser said. “If I can get students saying, ‘I want to take this class,’ as opposed to, ‘I have to take this class,’ I think it just makes for a better class.”

Students taking the unique, hands-on course said it keeps them interested, as it is not your typical college science course.

“It’s fun,” student Tommy Maloney said. “It’s different than anything else I would get to take at most schools.”

The course explains everything from measuring the sugar to how the ingredients blend together to get your favorite tastes.

According to staff, Lyon College is the first small liberal arts school in the state to offer the course.

Dr. Beeser said although Lyon College is in a dry county, there is nothing wrong with making your own beer, and students are not selling their finished product. However, students have to be 21 years old to take the course.

“We do not consume anything in this lab,” he said. “Even in cases where we could, we don’t.”

Some of the students taking the course said this is an eye-opening experience.

“It forces you to expand your boundaries and learn something about it,” Maloney said. “I didn’t know anything going into it, but I’ve learned so much in just the couple weeks that we’ve been here.”

Dr. Beeser hopes to expand the class next year and hopes more non-science majors will sign up.

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