Homebrew Con Seminar: The Dinosaur in My Beer!

blog_imageI’m excited to be on the schedule for Homebrew Con (aka National Homebrewers Conference) in Minneapolis next month! If you’re at the event, come see my seminar: The Dinosaur in My Beer: 250 Million Years of Homebrewing History.

Of course, most beer enthusiasts are familiar with the overall arc of brewing lore (and some of you could probably recite it in your sleep). Things got rolling in the ancient Middle East around the same time that cereal grains were domesticated, hops made it into the equation during the Middle Ages, and craft breweries got their game going during the late 20th century. This is all interesting–and indeed, numerous books and articles have been published on the topic. Yet, virtually every treatment of brewing that I’ve read neglects the much deeper history of all of our brewing ingredients. We wouldn’t have Burton water without events that happened during the dawn of the age of the dinosaurs. We wouldn’t have hops without an evolutionary innovation in plants more than 120 million years ago. And oddly enough, the production of barley malt led to the discovery of many important fossils.

My seminar (around 45 minutes long, with time for questions) ties together threads that stretch deep into our planet’s history. You’ll gain a better appreciation for just how densely beer and beer ingredients are interwoven with the evolution of life–beer ain’t just a cultural phenomenon! I’ve given versions of this talk at Claremont Craft Ales as well as the Arizona Museum of Natural History, but the Homebrew Con version will have lots of new content, plenty of cool images, and interesting anecdotes. I guarantee that you’ll learn something you didn’t know before!

My seminar starts at 9 am on Saturday, June 17, in Auditorium 1. And even if you can’t make the seminar, I’d love to chat about beer, brewing, and paleontology. Hope to see you in Minnesota!

And for an extra bonus…I’m bringing a replica of the skull from Aquilops americanus, the little dinosaur that inspired Eagle Face Oatmeal Stout, as seen in a recent issue of Zymurgy magazine. If you’ve ever wanted to get your selfie with a dinosaur, now is your chance!

[Image info: The dinosaur skeleton in the logo is modified from a 19th century rendering of Iguanodon by Gustave Lavalette. Also of note: the fossil was found in a part of Belgium that is purportedly home territory for saisons! This fact inspired one of my first attempts at the style.]

The Dinosaur in My Beer: March 8 at Claremont Craft Ales

Beer and science are a natural fit…even more so than beer and pretzels, in my opinion. As a homebrewer, I absolutely love geeking out over the scientific facets of the hobby. The usual history of beer starts a few thousand years ago with the rise of agriculture. But, there is so much more to the story. Every brewing ingredient–water, barley, yeast, and hops–has its own tale to tell. In many cases, the narrative extends back to the time of the dinosaurs!

So, if you are in Claremont, California, on Wednesday, March 8, swing by Claremont Craft Ales and catch my talk on the prehistory of brewing ingredients! The event starts at 6:30 pm, but you can swing by before or hang around after for some great beer and also a chance to chat with me about anything you like.

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The basic talk will be a preview of my seminar for HomebrewCon in June. I’ll be posting more about that in the upcoming months, too.

If you haven’t been to Claremont Craft Ales (CCA) before, it’s a really great venue. A few things you can look forward to:

  • Their beer is great! I highly recommend the Jacaranda IPA as well as the Raspberry Gose (both are also available in cans).
  • CCA has plenty of options for non-beer-drinkers. In addition to a nice selection of canned dry sodas (the tasty fancy stuff, not just a bunch of Coke products), various food trucks are also there most afternoons and evenings.
  • It’s a very friendly space — kids and dogs are quite welcome. (note relevant to my talk: although dinosaurs have a reputation as a “kids topic”, my talk isn’t really geared for kids. That’s not to say it’s “adult content”–just that the presentation will be at a level where the typical 12 year old might get a little bored, because the combined topic of beer and paleontology probably isn’t in their wheelhouse, or at least it shouldn’t be.)

Interested in having me talk for your event? Drop a line via the contact form!

Image credit: Dinosaur skeleton from Iguanodon rendering by Gustave Lavalette in the public domain.