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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Club brews up beer, careers

    Courtesy of Matt Covington Arizona Home Brew Club uses a brew system to create craft beers. The club consists of around 20 students who are interested in the science of brewery.

    Beer: A word that cues nostalgic memories of times with friends and the familiar grip of a cool pint glass on a hot Arizona day. We admire the taste and all the good times a cold one can trigger, but to most, the art behind the creation of our favorite brews remains a mystery.

    Members of the UA Arizona Home Brew Club said a good beer always tastes better when it’s earned. The small club, consisting of about 20 students, mostly engineering majors, was created by Chris Mendoza nearly three years ago and is now headed by president and beer aficionado Matt Covington. Although the club is all about beer, underage members can legally participate in the purchasing of ingredients for the brews, just not the drinking. AHBC is dedicated to teaching both the scientific and creative methods needed for brewing the most delectable drafts.

    At first thought, a club with “brew” in the name may seem like it should be dedicated to fine-tuning your drinking tolerance and mastering a faultless beer chug — but AHBC is focused on more than consuming.

    “I always say it’s about quality over quantity,
    Covington said. “This is not a drinking club; we focus on the creating.”

    Some of the students involved are considering turning their craft into a career.

    “Professional brewing is definitely a viable career path for us, and home brewing is a great way to get your feet wet,” vice president Jeffrey Sander said.

    The club has successfully created both extract and all-grain beers, but creativity comes more into play with the latter.

    “With all-grain brewing, you extract the sugar yourself as opposed to having it pre-extracted; therefore, you are given more flexibility with other ingredients,” Covington said.

    According to Covington, varying ingredients and the timing with which you bitter, flavor and aroma the beer is what allows for creative wiggle room and endless possibilities.

    “In all honesty, imagination is the limit,” said Covington.

    From the hoppy flavor of Indian Pale Ales to the rich taste of brown ales and the lightness of a saison, each beer can be slightly altered to offer a completely different taste to savor.

    “Some of the members are highly experienced and craft their brews with the creativity and passion that any artist would put towards their music, painting or dance,” AHBC treasurer Ryan Dormond said.

    Once the beer has aligned with the inspiration of the brewer, the batches can take anywhere from two to three additional weeks to complete the aging process. After fermentation, the beer is ready to be consumed in all its is ready to be consumed. AHBC has brewed up a wide range of beers thus far, created by the gallon.
    The outcome of the most recent group brew session was tasty Scottish ale, Covington said.

    For Sander, his favorite brew was the Pilsner made through a process called decoction mesh.

    “We had four people trading off stirring a 15-gallon mesh for five minutes at a time, but the beer we had at the end was pretty amazing,” Sanders said.

    As for Dormond, he said the wort brew for football season was perfect.

    “It’s always a good time when you’re brewing with friends,” Dormond said.

    These group concoctions, as well as drafts made individually by Covington in his brew lab, are offered to other groups and clubs.
    “It’s not about consuming all of the beer we make. We drink for the enjoyment of tasting what is made,” Covington said.

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