June 20, 2023
With artificial intelligence infiltrating the education, medicine and entertainment spheres, a Bucks County brewery will soon test how it fares in making beer.
Second Sin Brewing Company, located at 1500 Grundy Lane in Bristol, is unveiling two new IPAs: Jake Against, created by head brewer and cofounder Jake Howell, and The Machine, brewed with a recipe generated by the AI chatbot ChatGPT. The brewery is hosting a Jake Against the Machine release party on Thursday, June 22 from 4-9 p.m., where guests can vote for their favorite in the human versus AI showdown.
The idea came from Second Sin cofounder Mike Beresky, a 2010 Temple graduate.
"It's hard to avoid hearing about AI," Beresky said. "I work a normal job as an accountant during the day; I get emails all the time from different companies offering their take on AI and how it could help the company I work for. It's just all around us now. And it's such a hot topic, but it's hard to avoid. So seeing that it could be applied to so many different occupations, we had the idea to basically challenge Jake the human versus what AI could scrape together for a beer recipe."
Beresky owns the brewery with lifelong friends and Penn State alumni Howell and Phil Harris. The trio met as middle school students in the Pennsbury School District and opened Second Sin on Thanksgiving Eve in 2019.
The brewery has since survived a global pandemic and earned statewide recognition; last year, Untappd ranked it in the top 10 Pennsylvania breweries.
ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence chatbot that gives detailed responses to instructional prompts. It is being utilized by social media companies, educators, health care workers, musicians and more, yet many people worry about the darker consequences the technology may bring, such as the replacement of human workers and the spreading of misinformation.
To receive the AI-generated IPA recipe, the Second Sin team sent ChatGPT a simple prompt: "Write me the best hazy ipa recipe in the world?"
The chatbot quickly followed up with a thorough list of ingredients and instructions, which Howell followed "religiously."
"The real challenge was stopping myself with the AI recipe," Howell said. "I did want to recreate it exactly, because it gives you the ingredients to use and the amounts to use. But it does also have the instructions of the temperatures and the times and everything, which were different than how we normally brew them. The differences are certainly going to show in the beer, like it's not going to be like one of the beers that we normally make."
To combat the ChatGPT recipe, Howell set out to create a beer that's distinctly human and different from the beers he's made before.
"The big difference is the process with which I brew it," Howell said. "Because that's been kind of honed over 100-plus batches. I make small tweaks here and there, different changes to the water chemistry ... so much of what goes into it is how you make it. So that is already something that I think is going to have the edge over the Machine."
"The event will be pitting the two against each other," Beresky said. "They're both the same style of beer. Obviously, the AI does not follow the same process that we use for brewing normally. So there's certainly differences. ... I think Jake's will win, but I'm interested to see how it plays out."
Regardless of the winner, both beers will be available in four packs at Second Sin through the weekend and will remain on draft for the next few weeks.
Second Sin is open Thursdays 4-9 p.m., Fridays 2-10 p.m., Saturdays 12-10 p.m. and Sundays 12-9 p.m.