Cool beer science fact: Making bread is a lot like making beer.
So says Sean Nordquist, Creative Loafing beer writer and BeerfortheDaddy.com blogger. He, together with Tom Williams, the founder of soon-to-launch St. Pete Brew, will discuss the science of beer Tuesday at SciCafe St. Petersburg, an informal discussion series presented by the Pier Aquarium.
Nordquist and Williams will be discussing beer styles, ingredients, chemistry and other fun facts — like just why beer has been referred to as "liquid bread" for centuries.
"It was even described that way by the monks who were brewing it, because it has all the same ingredients," says Nordquist. "Back then you didn't drink the water because it made people sick. But if you turned it into beer it was safe to drink."
Moderated by WMNF news director Rob Lorei, the Science of Beer is a prelude to the St. Petersburg Science Festival. The topic is certainly salient, as Tampa Bay has become the epicenter of the state's craft beer frenzy. According to Nordquist, there are good reasons for that.
"In 2001 Florida laws changed so craft beer could get a foothold, allowing a big influx of imported beers but also beers from California and other places. Dunedin Brewery opened around that time, then not long after that Tampa Bay Brewing Co.," Nordquist said. "But the big thing that put Tampa on the map was the opening of Cigar City. Not only were they making excellent beer right off the bat, but they were also distributing it. Tampa Bay has become the center of things because of Cigar City."
But who wants to just talk about beer? Audience members are welcome to heft one at the free science conversation for adults from 6 to 7:30 Tuesday at the Ale and the Witch, 111 Second Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. RSVP topieraquarium.org/ beerscicafe.
Laura Reiley, Times food critic