Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick's Day Special: Beer

Here at New Voices, we want to propose a toast to all of the amazing advocates out there working to make research and science higher national priorities - hear, hear! So in honor of St. Patrick's Day, we're looking into our glass to explore the science of beer and the advocacy community that supports it.

The Science of Beer Brewing
The "art" of beer brewing is actually an exact science. Temperature, timing and ingredients are integral components to producing a tasty brew. Malting allows the barley to partially germinate (sprout) and is followed by a roasting process. The mashing process grinds the barley into tiny pieces and then heats the grain in water, converting some of the starches into sugars. During fermentation (the most important step), yeast and natural enzymes convert the carbohydrates in fruits and grains into alcohol and carbon dioxide. For some How-To tips for home brewing, visit this website.

And for a bit of humorous science/beer trivia, a Freakonomics post last year reported that a study by Thomas Grim, an ornithologist at Palacky University in the Czech Republic, claims that the more beer scientists drink, the less likely they are to have a paper published or cited.
By: Emily Norton
Beer of choice:
Allagash Grand Cru

The Economics of Beer
Americans consume on average 81.6 liters of beer per person each year. Beer sales amounted to $90.8 billion in 2008. More people prefer beer to wine or other liquors. In terms of things people buy from a grocery beer ranks 4th, after milk, soda and bread. The industry has experienced a new burst in activity thanks to high-end microbreweries like the Dogfish head in Delaware that specialize in small batches of hand-crafted brews often with exotic ingredients like green raisins, honey and saffron. According to the Beer Institute, a group formed to represent the industry before Congress the industry directly employs more than 946,000 Americans in virtually every corner of the U.S with a payroll of more than $25 billion. But, brewers like every other sector of the economy have been hit by the economic downturn. So, earlier this year the Brewers Excise and Economic Relief Act of 2009 or B.E.E.R Act was introduced to provide tax-relief to brewers.
By: FlyGal
Beer of choice:

Advocating for Beer
Every community needs advocacy and beer lovers, brewers, and wholesalers are no exception. The Brewers Association, for example, works to "promote and protect small and independent American brewers, their craft beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts." While the National Beer Wholesalers Association is interested in issues like state regulations, driving the marketplace, alcohol taxes, and the marketing and sales practices of the beer industry. They may be beer specific (instead of science or health) but every cause needs spokespeople defending their interests.
By: Heather Benson
Beer of choice: Biere Blanc from the Petit Brassiere Ardennaise in Charleville-Mezieres, France

This St. Patrick's Day, remember that you're enjoying your beer because someone was willing to stand up and advocate!

Want to read more?
Check out these posts from the New Voices archives: Draft Beer, Not People and The Science of Beer.

Bookmark and Share

No comments:

Post a Comment