Penn State Brew Club Back In Action Brewing, Educating

After falling by the wayside for a few years, Penn State’s Brew Club is back in action and cultivating the next strain of homebrewers.

The Brew Club has been around for years, but it disbanded when attendance dipped some years ago. However, students began the process of re-organizing the club last year and soon enough, it was officially rerecognized during this past fall.

Now, the group meets at 5:30 p.m. every other Wednesday in 252 Rodney A. Erickson Building – otherwise known as the place where you get our favorite ice cream: the Berkey Creamery.

This club is strictly about the science of fermentation, so don’t expect to show up and start shotgunning beers. Club members learn how to make truly anything that is made through fermentation.

There are occasional Saturday meetings where members meet to brainstorm ideas and create fermented products, such as beer, bread, kombucha, wine, and sauerkraut. They also take educational tours that show the social, political, and economic areas that exist within the science of fermentation.  

“This group is for anyone that is interested in the fermentation sciences and has a spark for creativity in them,” Eric Falkenburg, the club’s president, said. “We cover a large spectrum of topics, so it’s going to be difficult for students to NOT find something interesting to them.”

Each meeting is different, but the goal is always the same: education about fermentation. Club meetings cover a variety of topics, whether that’s talking about hops and the best practices for using them or learning about Prohibition in the United States and how alcohol has functioned as a social mechanism since then.

“Although we are named the ‘Brew Club,’ this club is anything but a club focused on ‘drinking and alcohol,” Falkenburg said. “We have worked tirelessly with the appropriate university offices to ensure our club is approaching the topic of ‘fermentation’ and ‘brewing’ from a responsible lens.”

In addition to learning about brewing, the group takes several field trips. This semester, members will visit Yuengling Brewery in Pottsville and Good Intent Cidery in Bellefonte.

“When we go to Yuengling, we’re going to learn about their history,” Falkenburg said. “It relates to prohibition and their impact locally, as well as nationally. With the Cidery, we get to hear from the owner about some of the pros and cons of starting up a business that is on a micro-level, and the challenges and rewards experienced.”

The club plans to have a lot of fun this semester, starting off with its home brews. They encourage anyone, even remotely interested in fermentation, to come check them out.

“Even if you aren’t sure about it, stop by and see what we are all about,” Falkenburg said. “We welcome all and love to see what people bring to the club.”

If you have any other questions about the organization, contact vice president Connor Scalamogna.

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About the Author

Alexandra Ramos

Alexandra Ramos is a senior majoring in digital-print journalism with a minor in English. She's been writing for a long time now and has loved every second of it, and Penn State, as well as her love for her school, has been a huge factor in her life. Catch her probably eating a slice of pizza and probably writing herself into oblivion before senioritis catches up with her.

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