Ryan Welch is a natural science faculty instructor at Clinton Community College and will teach the first basic of home brewed beer class at the college. Find out more about him and his personal brewing experiences in this week’s edition of Meet Your Neighbor.
Is this your first time teaching a brewing class and what do you expect out of it?
Yes, it is my first time teaching a class like this. I don’t know what to expect out of it; we’ll see. Coming from a purely academic way of going about instructing and going to a continuing education side, it’s going to be a little bit different. It’s going to be a little bit more open and potentially a bit more relaxed.
How did you get into brewing beer?
I got into home brewing in about 2001. We had bought my father for his 50th birthday a home-brewing kit. We would home-brew together and try different things and it just kind of grew from there. When I moved away to graduate school I went and got my own kit and I started doing it myself.
What is your all time favorite beer?
I try all styles. I don’t have a favorite style. I lean more toward India Pale Ale; those things that are hop heavy but I also like a good stout depending on the season, depending on how things go.
Do you have a beer you have perfected?
No, I’ve got a nice one that I call a pail pale ale (pail as in using a bucket) because I grew the hops on it and so I grew my own hops and harvested them when I lived in Cedar Falls. I designed the grains and the malts for it. That one I really like and I’ve had a lot of good feedback from friends I give it to. I’m pretty proud of that one.
How does your science background merge with brewing beer?
Well, that’s an easy merge. You can relate beer to just about anything in life. There’s a huge history behind beer. We’ve had beer in our society for thousands of years. From the science standpoint, and a plant standpoint, it’s all plant physiology. It’s all the breaking down of the sugars, the grains, and the plant and how we can make that and work that and here’s how the plant stores it. There’s actual scientific papers written about the enzyme process that are occurring between the yeast and the grains. They’re technical, I wouldn’t read them for entertainment.