Chemistry lesson: Here's how your microbrew was born

Raise a glass. With St. Patrick's Day just around the corner, the American Chemical Society pours a "Reactions" video showing what it takes to brew craft beer.

Anthony Domanico
CNET freelancer Anthony Domanico is passionate about all kinds of gadgets and apps. When not making words for the Internet, he can be found watching Star Wars or "Doctor Who" for like the zillionth time. His other car is a Tardis.
Anthony Domanico

Do you love quad IPAs with high alcohol content, or pistachio cream ale and stout beer infused with bacon? A new video in the American Chemical Society's "Reactions" series shows how chemistry makes microbrews like these come to life.

The clip, released in celebration of St. Patrick's Day, points out that all beers, from the generic cheap swill to the high-end, flavor-infused microbrew, are made the same way. Start by heating a grain in water until enzymes turn the starches into a sugar solution called wort. Then, throw in some hops and yeast, and let it ferment long enough to turn it into alcohol.

That's basically all there is to it, though you can dramatically change the way your beer looks and tastes depending on which types of grains and hops you use. And you can even add things like essential oils to give a beer the exact flavor and aroma you're looking for.

To learn even more about how chemistry plays a significant role in the brewing process, check out the video at the top of this post. And be sure to grab a bottle of your favorite brew while watching so you really appreciate what went into making the tasty beverage you're now enjoying.

With all kinds of flavors and new brewing techniques, craft brews are boldly going where no beers have gone before. Video screenshot by Anthony Domanico/CNET