Tessa Rogers and the Science of Beer

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Every person who works here at Imminent is pretty remarkable in their own right, but as the senior (i.e. old man) of the staff, I personally have marveled at the young people we have here. These kids (pardon the term, but they’re the same age as my daughters, so they will be kids to me for their entire lives) are incredible. They’re all just great people. They work damn hard, they’re engaging and easy to talk to, and each one is smart as hell.

Take Tessa Rogers, for example. She’s giving a talk on Friday – at Imminent – about the science behind the beer we make, and the chemistry that goes into creating all these different flavors.

Tessa is a senior at St. Olaf, and was probably the first person hired to be on our staff, but had to defer her employment over the summer while she was back home in Bellingham, Washington. I have often referred to her as a “warrior,” because I don’t know too many other people who would come to work a full shift at the brewery after separating her shoulder in a rugby match that afternoon. And not only is she tough as nails, she's also nothing short of brilliant.

She’ll tell you that when she started the school year she knew very little about beer. But as a chemistry major, she’s always had interest in the science behind brewing. And really, what college student doesn’t like beer? So she worked out a St. Olaf approved academic internship with Randy, Derek and Laura. As a result, she’s become a vital part of the process. Randy even refers to her as the Brewery Lab manager.

“She does a lot of microscope stuff,” he said. “She works with the yeast viability and the cell count of our beer.  She’s been super helpful.”

All this in just under six months.

So, what exactly is she going to talk about on Friday?

“I’m going to elaborate on what makes a beer a beer and how the brewing process allows us to manipulate the expressed aromas, flavors and color of a beer,” she said. She’s also going to “explain what I do as a scientist in the brew house to increase the sustainability and maintain quality standards of our product.”

Tessa plans to stick around Northfield this summer so she can keep working with us, but she has some bigger plans, too.

“I either want to own a brewery or cidery, or run a full fermentation quality lab (whether it is wine or beer chemistry),” she said. “I’d be all right owning a hop farm, too, hybridizing common varieties to achieve different flavors. “

The "kids" who work here are amazing. Come see Tessa’s talk on Friday and see if you’re not as impressed by her as we are.

The "Flavor Chemistry of Beer" talk, sponsored by the Society of Chemistry Students at St. Olaf College, begins at 4:00 on Friday. It is free and open to the public. SOCS students are invited to a pre-talk tour of the brewery at 3:30. All the details can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1545636608805616/