The mood was casual and upbeat Thursday night at the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas as approximately 50 patrons and guests participated in a beer-tasting event that raised money for the facility.

The mood was casual and upbeat Thursday night at the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas as approximately 50 patrons and guests participated in a beer-tasting event that raised money for the facility.

Sponsored by M.K. Distributors, the event, presented in the format of a traditional wine tasting, featured three company representatives and one center staff member who each introduced two of eight craft beers to the audience by outlining the history, the specific brewing process, the ingredients and the physical characteristics of each beer.

Center Education Coordinator Timothy Rhoades provided a brief yet comprehensive history of beer, using dry humor to spice up the intoxicating narrative.

“Beer has a long and wonderful history worldwide,” Rhoades said. “Beer can be credited with the development of agriculture. When wheat and barley were first produced it wasn’t for bread but instead for beer. Beer is said also to have saved civilizations as in times of plague beer was much cleaner than the water that was available. So people that drank beer instead of water managed to stay alive while many of those who drank water died.”

Rhoades also provided some beer-related historical trivia.

“During the Revolutionary War there was a shortage of beer such that the commanding officers began to tell their men to mind their p’s and q’s,” Rhoades said. “They were referring to pints and quarts and we still have that saying today.”

Nick Makris of M.K. Distributors said that his company was pleased to host the fundraiser for the second year in a row.

“This is a great way to get people together and raise funds for the Arts Center,” Makris said. “We have some new beers that we are featuring tonight as well as some delicious food prepared by Chef Jamie McAfee from Pine Bluff Country Club. Each dish has been paired up with one of the featured beers.”

Arts & Science Center Executive Director Lenore Shoults was pleased with the evening.

“I believe that a great time was had by all,” Shoults said. “We have a lot of requests for cooking and wine classes and the beer tasting is a fresh perspective on that request. We couldn’t have done it without M.K. Distributors. It was a wonderful event.”

Shoults said the event and others like it provide funding for the work of the center.

“Our galleries are free of charge at all times and the paid events like the beer tasting help us to support the galleries,” Shoults said.