Northeast Philadelphia: Philly Beer Week’s Chemistry School

Beer enthusiasts at the Grey Lodge tentatively listen to Barth's presentation.]

Professor Roger Barth taught the chemistry of beer to bar patrons at the Grey Lodge on Frankford Avenue.

Professor Roger Barth of West Chester is not your ordinary chemistry professor. The name of one of his West Chester University classes is called “The Chemistry of Beer.”

Yes, that brewed alcoholic drink that many enjoy on weekends after a hard day’s work, at a family barbecue and during Philly’s very own Beer Week. Yes, that drink is broken down to a science.

“I thought what do the students do in their spare time and it worked out that there were two activities that stuck out and I thought I’d latch onto one of them. So I came up with the idea of teaching about the chemistry of beer,” Barth said during his introduction.

Barth has always been a lover of chemistry, but his wife Marcy, his son and daughter decided that “daddy needed a hobby.

“Naomi bought him a little beer making kit. Roger had said for years, ‘Maybe when I retire I’ll make beer.’ And it was Naomi’s idea, ‘Why do you have to wait ’til you retire? You’re going to enjoy this.’ So he got the little beer-making kit and after two batches he said, ‘Oh, I gotta do more than this.’”

With the help of his wife, who is a graphic designer, Barth wrote and published the textbook that is used for his class.

This is only the second year that Barth has taught the class to interested beer lovers during the celebration of Philly Beer Week and he looks forward to the years to come.


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