“Untapped” Goes All-Modes to Teach Sociocultural Impact of Craft Beer

By Caitlin T. Burns | June 8, 2021

In small groups toward the end of the spring semester, students in Associate Professor of Criminal Justice Dr. Favian Guertin-Martin’s “Untapped: Exploring the Sociocultural and Scientific World of Beer” swirled, smelled, and tasted beers at Naked Brewing Company, detailing the different notes and flavor profiles they discovered.

While the course was taught mostly online this semester, students had the opportunity to visit Artifact Brewing, Brother Kershner Brewing Co., and Naked Brewing throughout the semester and tour the facilities in groups of four. However, unlike in previous semesters, the students were unable to brew their own beer at Crooked Eye Brewing in Hatboro due to COVID regulations.

“I heard about this class my sophomore year and knew I wanted to sign up for it my senior year,” said Theater major Chris Cauffman Cooke ’21. He was inspired by the discussions of the class to start homebrewing, and has already completed two beers: Irish Red Ale and Belgium Pale Ale. “I like homebrewing. There’s gratification in it. Even when there’s mistakes, it’s fun. I learned a lot in this class.”

Instead of brewing their own beer, students (who are all over 21) explored the history of craft brewing and Dr. Guertin-Martin particularly focused on the lack of gender and racial diversity in brewing. 

“We traced how slaves in the South brewed beer that was reflective of what their ancestors brewed,” said Dr. Guertin-Martin. “Then, we looked at the current state of Black Brewers.”

Additionally, the 18 students (in groups of 4 or fewer) were led through their sensory experience at Naked Brewing by Head Brewer Hannah Gohde, where they heard about her journey into the beer and brewing world. 

“If I’m talking about brewing and beer, I’m having a good time,” said Cauffman Cooke. “The big thing I learned is that they all started as homebrewers, which means that I could be a brewer, if I put the time into learning and advancing my skills. It’s nice to know that they all started in the same place I am now. I’m still new and easing myself into this world.”