Brewing beer is a lot more like going to college than you think

The parallels you never knew about

Us southerns love our beer, probably more than anything else.

It’s what makes football games great, family dinners bearable, and a frat party a frat party.

While college students are notorious for their consumption of this wonderful product, we’re also notorious for that other thing we do: school.

So here are the parallels between school and beer, you probably never knew about.


It all begins with malting

First, you harvest the barley, then you add heat and dry up the barely until it cracks. This is to isolate the enzymes and prepare it for the coming steps.

Education is similar to this. As kids, we’re harvested and shuffled into the education system during kindergarten and elementary school. It’s here that we’re introduced to our first pressurized systems, where the student body begins to crack, and top students – those enzymes we care about – are detected and isolated.


Next we mash the grains in hot water – not boiling – where the enzymes are broken down and begin to produce sugars. The sugar goes into the grains, the water is drained out, and we’re left with wort, which is the equivalence of dough to bread.

This can be correlated to high school, where the pressure increases, not enough hot enough to scorch those enzymes (remember the analogy; it’s a student), and causes further break down amongst the student body. The “star” students, those lucky enzymes, release their academic potential, sugar, and the water. Those who fail to make it into college, or even graduate, are discarded.

So this dough goes off to be baked into bread…. also known as college, and the irony doesn’t stop there.



HOPS and other spices are added to the mixture as it continues to cook. Hops are needed because they provide bitterness and flavor. So as college students go through their years of higher education, they become more resentful and bitter of the system.

Usually this includes flare, flavor, and a loss of their naive spirit. Just as HOPS act as a natural preservative, this newfound and bitter outlook grants students their first layers of armor against the cold, dark world upon graduation.


This is when our dear college graduate lands their first real job that has potential to rise into a career. The yeast is added after the wort has cooled down; all that excitement about “changing the world” and “having an impact” has been beaten down enough for reality to sink in.

The yeast then begins its action, eating up the sugar: that stellar GPA, those perfect SAT scores, and all the academic accolades that really meant nothing. What comes from this is CO2 and alcohol as waste products. Now this analogy is pretty straight forward.

Bottled and Ready For Consumption

And there you have it: an adult ready to live their lives in their cubicle. A beer that waits on the shelf to be consumed.

University of South Carolina