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'Engineering of Craft Beer' Focus of USF Event

Whether you're a craft brew aficionado or a chemical engineering buff - or both - "Sampling Science: The Engineering Behind Craft Beer" might be for you.

"A lot of engineers like craft beer," event co-creator, USF Chemical Engineering junior Anna Hayes, said. "We wanted to combine the science of the beer with the (craft beer) industry, and so we thought it best to bring local craft breweries together for a fund-raising event."

The event, which takes place Friday, February 20th at 6:30 p.m. at the USF Sam and Martha Gibbons Alumni Center, will raise money for the university's chapters of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE).

Both groups promote STEM education through events like the USF College of Engineering's Engineering EXPO, which brings thousands of younger students to the USF campus to experience engineering and science firsthand (this year's EXPO takes place this Friday and Saturday, February 13th and 14th). 

Attendees of "Sampling Science" will be able to sample over 50 craft beers from almost 20 Florida breweries, as well as food from local vendors.

They'll also hear from seven guest speakers, including USF chemical and bioengineering professors Vinay Gupta and Ryan Toomey, Eckerd College physical and general chemistry professor Eric Steimle, head brewers Khris Johnson (Green Bench Brewing in St. Petersburg) and Leslie Shore (Darwin Brewing Co. in Bradenton), and craft beer specialists Ann-Marie Bays and Robert Hilferding.

The speakers will cover a wide variety of topics, including the science of barrel aging beer, how home brewing equipment works, and how a head of foam may actually prevent beer spillage.

Credit Sampling Science
"Sampling Science" organizers Taylor Lubecki (left) and Anna Hayes pose with WUSF's Mark Schreiner.

"If science isn't your thing, we have a history lecture, which is really interesting," Hayes said. "You get to learn about why we have Oktoberfest."

"We have a speaker talking about why beer is so bland and how America ended up changing it, and how all these craft breweries came about, so that's interesting too to see why there was the change," co-organizer, fellow USF Chemical Engineering junior Taylor Lubecki, added.

Tickets are $25 plus handling for general admission (must be 21 years of age or older), $15 plus handling for spectators/designated drivers (ages 18 and up). For more information, you can visit the event's webpage, BeakersandBrews.com.

Mark Schreiner is the assistant news director and intern coordinator for WUSF News.