When I found out that we would be brewing beer in our freshman seminar, I was obviously quite doubtful. I mean, this is college so I didn’t really know what rules we had to abide by, but I definitely wasn’t going to question it. The fact that USC was even allowing this made me love my school even more. I had always romanticized the image of beer brewing with giant bubbling vats, clouds of steam, and taste testing. I also didn’t know that beer brewing is a rather common amateur hobby! It was fascinating to hear our beer expert’s stories about his adventures in brewing, and his opinions of different kinds of beers from different countries. The actual experiment was easy enough (I suppose we didn’t do much of the hard work); we toasted some grain and allowed it to simmer in hot water, like tea. The next thing we knew, we had pots full of brownish liquid! After delivering samples into test tubes and using that in petri dishes to test for bacteria, we waited another few weeks before it had fully fermented. The beer was not bad upon taste; a little bitter, but all around pretty tasty. I’m very thankful we added carbonation to it. The experiment left me with a greater understanding of what beer brewing is really like (and that it’s a lot easier than I thought!), and a greater appreciation of the different tastes it can have. I wish we were able to understand the fermentation process further and see how carbonation was added, but otherwise I was pretty pleased with the outcome of our brewing. 

-Isha Kawatra

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