Students Research Socio-Cultural Impact of Craft Beer

By Caitlin Burns | May 1, 2019

Students at brewery

Combine 165 pounds of American Pilsner malted grain, citra and lemon drop hops, American ale yeast, and 214 degree Fahrenheit water, and you’ve got the base of 1853 Pale Ale. 

But any student in Dr. Favian Guertin-Martin’s University Seminar course “Untapped: Exploring the Socio-Cultural and Scientific World of Beer” will tell you it’s more than the ingredients; it takes dedication and time to create a delicious craft brew that they’re proud to share Arcadia’s legacy with. 

In April, students put their recipe and patience to the test at Crooked Eye Brewery in Hatboro, Pa., where they started brewing 1853 Pale Ale under the direction of Crooked Eye’s co-owner and beer expert Jeff Mulherin and brewer Steve Capobianco. 

“People talk about how craft beer is better than the big corporation beers,” said Healthcare Administration alumnus Raoul Dhulehar ’19, one of 20 Arcadia brewers. “This course has gotten me into the art of craft beer. There’s so much more to it.” 

Students, all 21 and over, were involved every step of the way—from developing the flavor profile to cleaning out the pot still. “There was a big debate between the students on the citrus and tropical notes, so we combined them in this pale ale,” noted Mulherin. 

This is the second time that Dr. Guertin-Martin, assistant professor of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice, has taught the course, which developed from research he conducted on the environmental sustainability of craft breweries and how they contribute to gentrification. 

“I thought it would be interesting and fun to put together a University seminar on beer,” said Dr. Guertin-Martin. “It’s a booming industry, with over 6,000 craft breweries already in existence and several thousand more expected to open in the next few years. Pennsylvania is in the top five states for beer production.” 

1853 Pale Ale is named for the year Arcadia was founded as Beaver Female Seminary in Beaver, Pa. Last year, students brewed A Midsummer Knight’s Ale, a red ale that paid tribute to the University’s mascot and scarlet color. 

The day of brewing yielded nearly five and a half kegs of 1853 Pale Ale, which was made available to the public at a release party on April 25, during which students discussed the impact breweries have on local communities and the region. 

“I didn’t know about the cultural aspects and the work that goes into opening a brewery,” said Psychology alumna Alex Strouse ’19, who is now helping her stepfather open a brewery in Allentown, Pa. “I don’t really like beer, but it’s been a good experience to understand the industry.”