The Science of Beer

 One of the most entertaining and interesting conference sessions I have ever attended was the one sponsored by SLA’s Sci-Tech Division yesterday on The Science of Beer.  Charlie Bamforth, Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor of Brewing Science at the University of California, Davis had everyone laughing uproariously at his humorous description of how beer is made and what happens during the process.  Fortunately, it was light on the basic chemistry and heavy on the description–see the charts below which show the process involved in making beer, and some of its characteristics.  (Who would have thought that there was so much to learn about beer?)

Bamforth lost no opportunity in poking fun at his friends and those who also drink that beverage made from grapes that "only comes in red, white, or pink versions", and he said that there is infinitely more variety in beer–that Golden Nectar.  Of course, that was his opinion, and he made that clear.

So why was this in a conference of information professionals?  Well, Bamforth has written several books on the subject, and it’s always good for subject specialists to have some background expertise in the subjects their customers are interested in.  Judging from the enthusiastic receiption of the audience, the program planners came away with a major success.  The only thing they could have done to improve the session was to provide samples of the products that Bamforth descibed!

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today

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