St. Mary’s microbiologist Jeffrey Byrd and Ruddy Duck brew master Matt Glass recently collaborated to create a seasonal ale for the restaurant’s menu. “The Great Pumpkin Ale,” available now through the fall to Ruddy Duck Brewery & Grill and Ale House patrons, was the product of the duo’s collaboration and is served complete with cinnamon- and nutmeg-spiced rims.
Byrd, an avid home brewer, wants people to know that there is science behind the festive brew’s flavor. “Most beer drinkers don’t understand where the flavors are coming from,” he said. “There’s a biological chemical process that creates something that people enjoy and it’s naturally done—you’re not chemically inducing it.” Byrd said that he and Glass spent seven hours at Ruddy Duck’s brewery processing the pumpkin ale, in which they infused real pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices into the mix of hops and natural grains.
Byrd has been giving seminars on the “Science of Brewing” for almost 10 years. The seminar has been presented twice at the college’s Natural Science and Mathematics Colloquium and most recently last summer for Alumni Weekend’s “Alumni College” breakout session. It was then Byrd and Glass teamed for the first time to make a special ale to serve during the weekend’s popular crab feast.
Now with a standing invitation as a guest brewer with the Ruddy Duck, Byrd plans to lend his expertise to concocting a holiday brew. His long-term hope, though, is to be guest brewer at breweries owned by St. Mary’s alumni. Alumnus Adam Davis, master brewer at Back Shore Brewery in Ocean City, Md., is the first to extend the invitation.