May 19, 2022 at 4:24 pm

New beer at Jackie O’s started in a chemistry class  

Jackie O's Brewer Deshawn Brunner and Francesca Carney get ready to brew her recipe

Jackie O’s Brewer Deshawn Brunner and Francesca Carney get ready to brew her recipe.

For 10 years, students in Mick Held’s CHEM 4501 brewing science class have been designing craft beer recipes as part of their final capstone project. But for the first time, Jackie O’s and its Brewpub head brewer Liam McDonald have put one of those recipes into production.

The new beer debuts just as Ohio University kicks off a new Craft Brewing Certificate this summer.

McDonald, who has been judging the chemistry students’ recipes for the past decade, said he was inspired to brew Francesca Carney’s “Sun Tea” English IPA recipe for a number of reasons.

“First and foremost, we found the recipe to be interesting! It was something that we hadn’t exactly brewed before, but fit the character of the beers we have been making lately. Additionally, Sun Tea sounded like it would be a big hit this time of year, and that we’d have a lot of success serving it across the bar,” McDonald said.

“I’d say the most intriguing and unique characteristic of Sun Tea is that it marries choice English ingredients with a touch of American hops and citrus to create a bright and lively rendition of a classic English style,” he added.

Francesca Carney stirs the mash at the Jackie O's Brewpub

Francesca Carney stirs the mash at the Jackie O’s Brewpub

Blending the Business and Science of Brewing

Held and Jackie’s O’s owner Art Oestrike have been collaborating on brewing education for many years. This past Fall, the two developed two new craft brewing certificate programs; one for undergraduates and another for graduate students. The new brewing certificates offer two pathways: one for those interested in the science of brewing and one for those interested in the entrepreneurial aspects of running a business.

Oestrike, an OHIO alumnus who studied Russian, Linguistics, didn’t take a biochemistry course like the ones Held teaches. But he turned his passion for brewing into an iconic brewpub in Uptown Athens and a popular brand sold throughout OHIO and across the United States. He teaches one of two required courses in the new certificate: CAS 4413 The Art of Craft Brewing: The Athens Case Study.

“Owning and operating any business is more about being interested in what you are doing and being able to work more and longer hours than you think imaginable, at least from my perspective. If you like what you do, it’s that much more feasible and fun. Jackie O’s started in the room that this beer (Sun Tea) was brewed in 16 years ago. Through hard work, perseverance and some luck, we have grown slowly but surely these past years,” Oestrike said.

“To me science can be learned by doing, so the more you do it, the better you get at it! Business is similar. I am happy that my father sort of gifted me the entrepreneurial spirit through osmosis,” he said. “The biggest take away from CAS 4413 is that anyone can work in the beverage industry. It takes drive and a desire, but anyone can do it! We have students from all areas of the university, and everyone is able to contribute and thrive through the course! It’s also very experiential as you get to check out every fermentation facility around Athens,” added Oestrike, who earned a B.A. in Russian in 2001 and an M.A. in Linguistics in 2008 from the College of Arts & Sciences, along with a BSED from the Patton College of Education.

Liam McDonald adds finishing touches and gets ready to brew Carney's recipe.

Liam McDonald adds finishing touches and gets ready to brew Carney’s recipe.

From Classroom to Tap Room

Carney said the inspiration for the Sun Tea recipe started with her dad, whose favorite style of beer is an India Pale Ale (IPA). Her sister and mom helped her pick the name, which is modeled after her favorite summer drink.

“He was so excited to hear Jackie O’s selected Sun Tea,” Carney said of her father, while describing working on the recipe this spring in CHEM 4501 Principles of Brewing Science. “When designing the IPA, I knew I wanted it to have a bright citrus flavor for the summertime. Dr. Held was incredibly helpful with the beer design and supportive of my idea for an IPA. The most important piece of information learned in Dr. Held’s class, for me, was the defining characteristics of an IPA.”

Carney, a senior chemical engineering major set to graduate this spring, said the hardest part of the course was the chemistry involved in the brewing process.

Held noted that a required course in the certificate is CHEM 4500 – Brewing Science. It has the same name but requires less knowledge of organic chemistry and is open to all OHIO students.

“This summer, the department of Chemistry and Biochemistry will once again offer its Tier III course, CHEM4501: Principles of Brewing Science. Through the practice of beer making, this course touches on fundamental concepts in biochemistry, physiology, microbiology, and plant biology. In addition to the science, the course also explores historical perspectives, business aspects, and health impacts associated with beer making and consumption,” said Held, associate professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the College of Arts & Sciences.

Francesca Carney with her Sun Tea recipe

Francesca Carney enjoys a glass of her Sun Tea.

Brewing is a Community in Athens

Held said the course, a hybrid of lectures and labs, also features several expert guest lecturers and field trips and taps into the vibrant local brewing community in Athens.

“This year’s guests include Dr. Art Trese (Environmental & Plant Biology), Dr. Ruth Palmer (Classics & Religious Studies), Art Oestrike (Jackie O’s President), Sean White (Little Fish Brewery co-owner and head brewer) and Kelly Sauber (West End Ciderhouse & Distillery co-owner & head brewer and distiller), among others” said Held, adding that course includes visits to local breweries and the OHIO Student Farm.

In addition to the required courses taught by Held and Oestrike, students in the certificate will take either additional science courses or business courses as well as an internship course.

Interested students should please see the following for more details:

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