Brewing beer was exceedingly fun.  As a woman who has been above the legal drinking age for a few years, I’ve had time to develop an appreciation for good artisan beer.  However, enjoying a quality beverage in this day and age requires little more than a bottle opener.  Learning the process behind the “nectar of the gods” revealed to what lengths mankind will go for a drink.

Beginning with the clay jars and raw grain, although even this was a short-cut because ancient man had to go through a lot of trouble to acquire grain in the form needed, we burnished our containers and toasted our wheat.  Toasted wheat smelled delicious, like grape nut flakes.  After mixing our various types of grain and toasting some of it ourselves, it was time to make a “beer tea”.  I have wondered previously how beer was made and known the basics in that it requires grain and yeast, but I had not speculated how the grain becomes liquid.  Making a giant “tea bag” of grain was not something that had crossed my mind, but it makes more sense than say, blending a wheat smoothie.  As the beer bag steeped and brewed, the smell again was rather pleasant.  Then it was time to pour our beer into the vessels we made and wait.

Beer requires patience.  It takes hours to steep, and weeks to ferment.  Now I see how the camaraderie gained from long hours working together and anticipating the final product must have brought people together.  Alcohol has always been a social lubricant, and now I see why this is.  While drinking with your companions has obvious social benefits, brewing with them can be just as important.  It takes many people with varying skill sets to provide all the materials and labor necessary, from farmers and honey collectors to potters and cooks.  All this cooperative work culminating in the enjoyment of the finished product has been bringing society members together for millennia.  I greatly enjoyed the social atmosphere and relaxed conversation in which our class engaged during the final tasting.  I definitely will make beer again.  I’ve known people who do home brewing and my thoughts had been along the lines of, cool but why go through so much trouble?  Now I understand.  And hey, Dodd Brew is really good.  We should label it and craft a seasonal supply for USC students to enjoy after finals.


~Sam Cadwell

Categories: Uncategorized

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