Connoisseurs find next generation of brewers – right under their noses

Published 05.11.2022

Student News
Faculty & Staff
Brewing & Fermentation Science
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Assorted explorations in the science of brewing were eagerly appraised by industry experts last week in Pennsylvania College of Technology’s brewing & fermentation lab.

Ten students graduating with certificates in brewing & fermentation science presented their capstone projects in two evening sessions attended by 15 brewing professionals – four of whom are alumni.

Brews presented were: Irish red ale, saison, green tea hazy IPA, sorghum ale, German hefeweizen, Belgian pale ale, fruited sour and gruit.

Chihiro Ikegaya, of Wellsboro, shares her unique explorations with matcha in crafting a green tea IPA.Taylor J. Strein presents assessment samples of his saison. The Montoursville resident will add a brewing & fermentation science certificate to his already impressive toolkit, which includes a physics degree and job experience at Dogfish Head Brewery.“This group of students put an immense amount of time and effort in and received a lot of information in a very short time. Their projects were the most eclectic and innovative to date. The variety of products reflected an intriguing diversity of very individual curiosities,” said Timothy L. Yarrington, brewing instructor.

Karen Brownell, director of brewing operations at Victory Brewing Co., offers her insights. At right are Rob Kathcart, head brewer at Wellsboro House Brewery, and David S. Richards (with his back to the camera), Penn College physics professor and a home brewer.Breweries represented by experts were: Axemann Brewery, Bellefonte; Bald Birds Brewing Co., Jersey Shore; Berwick Brewing Co., Berwick; Lancaster Brewing Co., Lancaster; Levity Brewing Co., Indiana; New Trail Brewing Co., Williamsport; Samuel Adams Brewery, Breinigsville; Straub Brewery Inc., St. Mary’s; Victory Brewing Co., Downingtown; Wellsboro House Brewery, Wellsboro; and D.G. Yuengling & Son Inc., Pottsville.

Blending stand-up comedy with brewing, Ryan Bosch (far left), of Boyertown, and Eamon R. Mahood, of Johnstown, stir laughter from the audience as they present their Irish red ale.“I am always grateful and humbled by the generosity of my professional colleagues who take time from their very busy schedules each year to support this program and engage these students,” Yarrington added. “Industry support is one of many things that makes the Penn College brewing and fermentation science certificate incredibly unique in today’s landscape of American brewing educational programs.”

Ryan J. Hampton, a 2019 brewing graduate who works at New Trail Brewing Co., assesses the aroma of Strein’s saison samples.Among the industry judges were brewing & fermentation science alumni Montana L. Bilbay, ’21, with Bald Birds; Christopher P. Good, ’19, with Victory; and Ryan J. Hampton, ’19, with New Trail. Another New Trail employee, Russell “Rusty” F. Williams, graduated from Penn College in 2012 and 2014 with legal assistant degrees before entering the brewing industry.

Also joining the panels were four Penn College employees with academic connections to the major.