Cora Marchand, Oakland Catholic graduate and Junior at Penn State, is currently studying Food Science, which encompasses biology, chemistry, engineering and nutrition with a minor in Microbiology. As you can imagine, academics who study this can work in many facets of the degree, including, you guessed it… craft beer!
That was the direction Cora chose to explore, all thanks to an Anthropology of Alcohol course she took her Sophomore year, which taught about ancient alcohol and techniques, sparking her curiosity. From there, she decided to reach out to a slew of Pittsburgh breweries, seeking an internship.
Then, the pandemic happened.
In the Fall of 2020, she took a food micro-lab alongside a beer course, which reignited her excitement for brewing and once again, pursued her interest!
Thanks to her parents being hip to the craft beer scene, they suggested she try a brewery they enjoyed visiting: Monday’s Brewing, a fantastic addition to the craft beer scene, offering a quaint, neighborhood gathering place in Peters Twp. (Seriously, if you havent visited yet, shame on you.) Sam Fee, founder and head-brewer of Monday’s agreed to the internship. Great for Cora, because at his core, Sam is an educator. In fact, he teaches Computer Science at Washington & Jefferson College.
“There was so much to the brewing process I didn’t expect,” admits Cora. “Like, how much manual labor is involved – but, I like it.” The best part about her day is mashing in. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, it’s when the milled grain is introduced to Hot Liquor (hot water, but don’t you dare ever call it such) and the enzymes and sugars are extracted from the grain to produce wort. It’s the first and, arguably, the most critical part of the brewing process.
“Whenever you do [mash in], you don’t expect the end product to be what it is.” She adds, “I do love the smells. Especially when it’s a complex grain bill and you can kind of tell the difference between all the grain just by smell.”
Ironically, Cora is not a huge beer drinker. She’s explored her palate, especially as of late, and found she is most fond of malty beers. “We racked off a brown ale last week, which I really enjoyed.” She steers clear of hoppy profiles and enjoys an occasional sour ale.
Cora’s internship will be coming to an end in a few short weeks, and as part of her experience, she will be creating her very own beer! She’s aiming for something along the lines of a Blue Moon; a citrus-zesty wheat ale. Be sure to keep your eye on Monday’s Instagram and Facebook for announcements on when that beer goes live!
We wish Cora the best of luck with her future in craft beer. She plans to network with her PSU professors in hopes of finding a brewery to work at post-grad. Go get ’em, Cora!