UC Davis Master Brewers Collaborate with Local Breweries on American Amber Ale
An international class of 2023 UC Davis master brewers recently celebrated their completion of Continuing and Professional Education’s intensive, 15-week Master Brewers Certificate Program with a toast of their own brew. This year’s cohort consisted of students from across the Americas, including Brazil, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Vermont and California. “It’s a grueling program and there was a lot of bonding over sharing an intense experience,” said Jon Hughes, director of Brewing and Sensory Science at UC Davis CPE.
The Master Brewers Certificate Program brings together experts from across the industry to train brewers of all levels in brewing science and brewery engineering, and prepare them to step in and run a professional brewing operation. “This cohort really showed just how much beer brings folks together,” said Hughes of the immediate connection students made despite their diverse backgrounds. “Some students had years of experience in very large breweries, others in craft breweries and some only at the homebrew level—yet they were all learning from each other.” Students from Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewing company, gained insight into craft breweries and smaller operations, and were able to share their experience working with large and intricate equipment.
This shared knowledge is what Brazilian brewer Raphael Eloi of AB InBev said was his most valuable takeaway. “The networking was one of the strongest aspects of the program,” he said. “The program provided me with deep dives on the subjects that I’m dealing with on a daily basis.” Students also connected outside the classroom, traveling to breweries across the region and homebrewing on a system that two of the local California students had in their garage.
Perhaps one of the most memorable benefits of the program was the opportunity for students to create their own beer recipe, design a label and brew and package the beer at Oak Park Brewing in Sacramento and Sudwerk Brewing Co. in Davis. The class decided on an American amber ale, which they called “The AmBearican.”
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Following a test batch brewed on the Anheuser Busch InBev Pilot Brewery at UC Davis and feedback from campus brewers, the Master Brewers cohort made some revisions and had their final recipe for the collaboration brews with Oak Park and Sudwerk. The collaboration was a success and a culminating experience for students to showcase and apply what they learned in the program. “Each brewery donated cans for the students to take home, and the rest is sold through their normal distribution and in their respective taprooms,” said Hughes. “I plan to continue this collaboration with both of the breweries in the future and look forward to extending this collaboration to other breweries in the area.”