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Beer-tomic weight

By Kate Martin
The Daily Times-Call

Five years ago, Skyline High School chemistry teacher Jim Gaudio taught a section on the periodic table of elements to a classroom full of students.

“One of the kids said ‘Somebody needs to invent the Beeriodic Table,’” Gaudio said.

Eventually, Gaudio did just that.

“I didn’t touch it for four or five years,” Gaudio said. “It lay dormant until I thought, ‘What would a Beeriodic Table look like?’”

Matching the names of beers with the atomic symbols of elements took him over a year, and by June 2001, he had the Beeriodic Table.

But Gaudio had never designed a poster.

Long-time friend Brian Brown, a self-employed architect, hopped on board.

Brown, also a former home-brewer, changed a few beers around and added some color.

The Beeriodic Table was born.

“I tried to be even-handed as far as states go,” Brown said. “I tried to name beers that people could actually find.”

One of those beers, Sawtooth Ale, comes out of Longmont’s Left Hand Brewery.

The Beeriodic Table serves two purposes, Gaudio said: education and entertainment. It lists each element along with its atomic weight, but matches the element’s symbol with a beer with the same letters. Fluorine becomes Fat Tire Ale. Sulfur becomes Sawtooth Ale.

Thirteen Colorado brews are represented on the Beeriodic Table.

“Some of the actual names, you will never find. You won’t find an arsenic beer,” Brown said.”

So far, the poster’s success is mostly local, especially in the Boulder business Science Artworks. Science Artworks owner John Bennett says the store has sold several hundred of the Beeriodic Tables since Gaudio and Brown approached him last summer.

“It’s usually purchased as a gift for someone who is hard to shop for, because it’s so unique,” Bennett said. “It’s not a fraternity effort. They really did a detailed analysis of these beers.”

Gaudio and Brown sell the posters Online at www.beeriodic.com, and the posters can also be found in various breweries and restaurants in Colorado, and a few out of state.

Gaudio said that, if they make enough money on the poster, they plan to do a world tour and sample all the beers at their home breweries.

“It’s possible. We always say that tongue in cheek; what we’d do if we really were successful,” Brown said.

When asked to try to remember the student who joked about the Beeriodic Table, Gaudio thought long and hard. After a few minutes, he remembered.

“His name was Scott,” Gaudio said slowly. “Scott ... Scott Wimer. I have no idea what he’s doing now.”

It turns out Wimer has lived in Longmont since he graduated from Skyline in 1999.

“Mr. Gaudio is a pretty smart man,” Wimer said. “I was just messing around in class. I guess it was just a fluke, but I’m glad he’s making money off it.”

Kate Martin can be reached at 303-776-2244, Ext. 389, or by e-mail at kmartin@times-call.com.