College brewing program wins international championship


Brian Lindberg, brewing operations manager at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, works in the school's Kalsec Center for Sustainable Brewing Education. Courtesy KVCC

The two-year-old sustainable brewing program at a college in the region has won the championship at an international competition.

Kalamazoo Valley Community College said this week it won the Grand National Championship at the second-annual U.S. Open College Beer Championship.

Fourteen colleges in the U.S. and Canada submitted entries.

The top three overall finishers and medalists in five brewing categories — Belgian, Bavarian, Stout, IPA and Open, or any style of beer — were announced at the event this week in Oxford, Ohio.

KVCC took home a gold for its 9009 Stout and bronze medals for its Babb’s Tradition Weizen and Falcon’s Puddin’ Strong Ale.

“We are thrilled to be recognized as the top brewing program,” said Dean McCurdy, associate VP for instruction and the Bronson Healthy Living Campus, KVCC.

“Competing successfully against the top colleges and universities throughout North America is a validation of the investments we’ve made in recruiting world-class brewers and scientists to teach in our program, the strong partnerships we’ve built with the local brewing community and of the state-of-the-art brewery we opened at our Kalsec Center for Sustainable Brewing Education,” McCurdy said.

Winning team

The winning team was comprised of a group of KVCC students: David Cohoe; Dylon Davis; Joseph Garvin; Christopher Golobish; Jesse Franke-Rose; Dan King; Jake Kirkendall; Amy Pradna-Waugam; James Saddler; Daniel Smith; Colin Thompson; Lea Vanklompenberg; and Scott Vant Hul.

KVCC Brewery Operations Manager Brian Lindberg was the submitting instructor.

KVCC brewing program

The college’s Kalsec Center for Sustainable Brewing Education teaches all aspects of brewing science. Students can earn a certificate or associate of applied science degree in sustainable brewing.

Due to a partnership with Western Michigan University, students can also transfer to WMU after KVCC and earn a bachelor of science degree.

More than 100 students are currently working toward a certificate or degree in sustainable brewing at KVCC.

Top 3 brewing schools at U.S. Open College Beer Championship

1. Kalamazoo Valley Community College

2. Kwantlen Polytechnic University, British Columbia, Canada

3. Central Michigan University

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