Kalamazoo College's Student Newspaper
By Sophie Amodeo Contributor
The feeling that comes from sitting on a friend’s porch in the Vine Neighborhood on a brisk Kalamazoo autumn afternoon is ethereal. The only thing that could make it any better? Sipping on a homebrewed beer.
The age of 21 opens up a whole new world of alcoholic beverages and concoctions. Beer is one of the most popular, coming in as the world’s most widely consumed alcoholic beverage and the third most popular drink after water and coffee. While some college students may be more accustomed to seeing it spilled on the basement floor at a party, other upperclassmen at K have taken a dedicated interest in learning what actually goes into brewing the fermented, frothy drink that so many of us enjoy.
“There’s nothing like the smell of brewing,” agree friends and housemates Chandler Smith K’13 and Ben Dueweke K’13, who started brewing during the spring quarter of their junior year.
In order to start brewing, it is necessary to attain the appropriate gear. Brewing pots, fermentation buckets, grains, and hops can get a little pricey, but Smith says that “it’s definitely worth it. Starting up may cost a couple hundred dollars max, but we have a pretty advanced set up now, so we’re able to brew around less than fifty cents a bottle.” Even in a city that is home to the renowned Bell’s Brewery, located on Kalamazoo Avenue, that price is about a third of the cost that a microbrew would be at the store.
The motivations to start brewing are just as diverse as the types of brews that are possible to make. Some of us may be more accustomed to sipping on popular brands like Pabst Blue Ribbon or Budweiser, but Smith enjoys something a little different.
“I love beer and testing your own brews, and seeing how drastically one beer can changed from another beer, really makes the whole process worth it. It’s like treating it like a food, and less so than a toy, and that’s why I think I started doing it.”
Fellow senior and brewer Eeva Sharp K’13 takes a different approach.
“I think my interest in brewing comes from my research in the historical place of beer, in historical ritual and in the definition of ancient cultures.”
On a college campus where uneducated drinking and preoccupation with other extracurriculars is the norm, taking the time to learn the process of brewing is highly respectable, and the benefits are highly delicious.