Ag Life: Speaker series discusses science of beer, wine

Ag Life

The Virginia Cooperative Extension has teamed up with Parkway Brewing Company and Virginia Tech to launch a new speaker series on the science behind beer, wine and cider.

“This is the first [brewing] class I’ve ever really been to,” said Alex Vance, who brews beer at home. “Most of my information comes from the Internet, so it’s going to be kind of cool to just sit and listen.”

“It should be interesting, I hope, to people who would be interested in craft beers as a whole,” said Sean O’Keefe, a food science and technology professor at Virginia Tech.

O’Keefe was the first speaker in the “Tapping Into Extension: Beakers and Brews” series, discussing the science behind the taste of beer.

“It all goes back down to human perceptions,” he said. “So the first part of my talk is basically to talk about our chemical detectors, our nose and our tongue. Because that’s how we interact with beer.”

O’Keefe said understanding this kind of research can help people who brew from home and in the brewery improve their beer.

“One of the things that I like the most about what we’re doing is how we can try to impact the industry and improve things,” he said.

According to the Virginia Cooperative Extension, other upcoming events in the series will cover topics like hops and wine and grape production.

“We’re hoping this ‘Tapping Into Extension’ series, with this series being ‘Beakers and Brews,’ that might be able to start as an annual series of different topics,” said Kathleen Reed of the Virginia Cooperative Extension.

The “Tapping Into Extension” series will feature events on the fourth Monday of each month through June, Reed said. The events in the series are free and open to the public and will be held at Parkway Brewing Company in Salem, she added.

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