Episode 24: Beer and Brewing has a great explanation of the properties of hops and their uses in brewing. Hops are probably the least understood ingredient in a beer and this episode does a very good in explaining them. In addition, the coverage of historic beverages from Dogfish Head Brewery, like Theobroma, was interesting – especially since I am always game to try a new (or in this case, old) brew!
Episode 52: Wine was not as interesting, to me, as Episode 24 but it was nice to see the chemistry of wine given the treatment. Covering oxygenation and sulfites, it debunked one wine myth and reinforced good wine practice. Pointers that anyone can take away from the episode include the fact that hangovers are caused by a combination of food, water, and wine (not by anything in the wine) and that storing open bottles upright is better than on their side (less surface area for oxidation).
Now, they just need to do one on the chemistry of whiskey production … and their is plenty to talk about with it – flavor compounds, effects of oak, differences in still types, and even in types of distillation.