The Science of Brewing is a class first started by visiting assistant professor, Dr. Garth Patterson. The class was developed to study a wide range of sciences that take place during the brewing process. Just like any other course offered at the Mount, Dr. Patterson aimed to make this course valuable to lessons being taught in other classrooms. “It was my intent to provide context to the same type of material that is taught in other classes, allowing students to have a better understanding of why we might ask them to be more fully engaged with a topic.” This class involves laboratory experiments devoted to water analysis using atomic absorption, gas phase analysis of hops’ aromas, ultraviolet-visible spectrometry analysis of alpha and beta acids in hops, and liquid density analysis to confirm alcohol content. The experiments developed for this class have exposed students to scientific instrumentation that they might not otherwise have access to as part of their required coursework.
Dr. Garth Patterson is not only a professor here at The Mount but is also a Chief Executive Officer at Cherry Lane Group, LLC. He holds over 15 U.S. patents and has several international patents; which mostly focus on the development of novel designs for mass spectrometers and related components. Although these patents are not directly related to brewing, the technology described in them can absolutely be used to analyze the starting ingredients and final product of the brewing process. Dr. Patterson has been thrilled about the success and popularity of his new course and is currently serving as the faculty advisor of the new Brewing Club, started here on campus. His hopes for the future are to expand this course by adding new courses that could identify with a larger group of students. Dr. Patterson explains, “Students in the brewing club are coming from all academic disciplines at the Mount, discussing the context of the beer we brew and their own areas of interest. The students are making connections on their own, without intervention or contrived exercises.”