The Penn State Berks craft-brewing certificate program was made possible by the PA Specialty Crop Block Grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. The grant was awarded in July 2021 to allow the college to develop a craft-brewing certificate program that uses Pennsylvania specialty grains. Penn State Berks partnered with Penn State Cooperative Extension to develop the noncredit courses and free webinars.
Ten Graduate from Inaugural Craft-Brewing Program
Ten new Penn State Berks craft-brewing certificate program students graduated as the first cohort in December 2023 following completion of their final course, Brew Practicum. The students hosted a tasting of their new brew at Broken Goblet Brewing in Bensalem, Pennsylvania.
The students’ brew is named “Land Grant” beer—a land beer, meaning it’s made with locally grown and harvested ingredients. It was brewed at Broken Goblet Brewing, which is a partner brewery of program coordinator Jeremy Myers. Land Grant beer includes barley from Double Eagle Malt in Huntingdon Valley and hops from Fawn Hill Hop Yard in Reading.
“Brewing the ‘Land Grant’ land beer involved an open-fermentation approach. The wort was trans-ferred to an open fermentor, allowing the yeast to express its characteristics more fully. After the initial fermentation, the beer was transferred to a conical fermentor for completion. This process allowed the yeast to be more expressive,” says Brian Mills, a student in the craft-brewing certificate program.
Offering Ingredients to Build Your Business
The new craft-brewing certificate program is designed for students with some brewing experience. Amateurs or homebrewers can gain more knowledge of the science of brewing and fermentation. Individuals who want to enter the brewing industry or current brewing professionals can build their expertise to advance their career in the industry. The program includes eight remote courses where students meet weekly with their instructor via Zoom to discuss course content, ask questions, and engage in discussions.
Courses include Beer: Past, Present, and Future; Introduction to Beer Production, a course focused on the four major ingredients of beer—water, yeast, hops, and malt; two capstone courses on the business of brewing beer; and a brew practicum. There are also course field trips to breweries, malt-house tours, and hop-farm visits for hands-on learning experiences.
For the final course, a brew practicum, students leverage their new skills by crafting a beer in their instructor’s brewery, pulling together knowledge and proficiency from all the previous seven courses.
Instructors with Experience and Passion
Students learn from brewing-industry experts and from growing craft breweries, as well as from specialists who share their expertise.
Jeremy Myers is the curriculum coordinator and instructor of five certificate courses. Former owner and cofounder of Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company, Myers served as head brewer from 2010 to 2019 where he earned Philly Beer Scene Brewer of the Year from 2016 to 2018. He created the Mutual Respect Brewers Co-op, a collaboration of smaller breweries that share resources while still maintaining their individual brewery brands. Currently Myers is also a consultant to the Braumanufaktur Bachs in Neunkirchen, Germany, training German brewers in American craft-brewing techniques. His brewing credentials include certificates from the Sibel Institute, HACCP Level 2 Food Safety, and qualification as a recognized judge by the Beer Judge Certification Program.
“Jeremy’s ability to bring practical experience to the class was the biggest benefit to the course,” says a student in the first cohort.