Beer, sex and . . . bugs?

Nestled in the industrial section of southeast Calgary is a rather conspicuous building that looks much more like a country house than a manufacturing plant or a distributor.

Inside, a group of people get together ­– some are new, but most are regulars.

They meet here almost every month on a Wednesday night for an educational experience, last week’s focused on alcohol, sex and . . . bugs.

Big Rock Brewery turned up the heat for the start of the winter semester of Big Rock University by hosting a scintillating lecture titled “Sex on Six Legs.”

To the disappointment of some, the climax of the evening was not a daring exploration of sexy aerobatics involving chairs or menage à trois, but rather a look into the fascinating world of insect mating behaviour.

“I wanted a title that would interest people who have little knowledge of insects,” said University of Lethbridge president William Cade in an e-mail. “The word ‘sex’ usually grabs interest and the six legs is a play on insect morphology of course, but lends itself to other interpretations as you know. The title ‘Insect Mating Behaviour’ might have been boring to some folks.”

Cade talked about the evolutionary principles of sexual selection and explained the basis of male mating behaviour.

Examples from across the crawly kingdom included dragon flies, preying mantids and Cade’s personal area of expertise, crickets.

“Insects are really fascinating in their behaviour and beautiful in their appearance,” said Cade. “Insects own the planet, so to speak, and we are just passing through.”

Founded in 1984 by Ed McNally, Big Rock Brewery has been crafting beer and ale locally for 25 years.

The company has done a lot to enrich the university experience for students, but not just by selling Grasshopper to the Den.

The proceeds of Big Rock University go towards eight Dr. Ed McNally Graduate Studies Nursing Scholarships available to University of Calgary students.

With seating sold out, the evening was a huge success and Cade largely attributed that to the Big Rock staff.

“They went out of their way to make it a good evening,” said Cade. “Linda and Ed McNally are top notch folks. They are a perfect example of Albertans who had a dream and did it.”

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