MiraCosta College’s brewing program wins U.S. Open College Beer

OCEANSIDE — MiraCosta College’s BrewTech program earned the Grand National Championship title in the U.S. Open College Beer Championship, it was recently announced.

First-time contender in the championship, MiraCosta College won gold medals for their hefeweizen, pale ale, spring IPA and stout, plus a silver for their raspberry Berliner.

The Open College Beer Championship is in its fifth year, with eleven colleges and universities from the United States and Canada participating. The U.S. Open is the only competition for beers exclusively from college and university brewing and fermentation programs. All beers submitted were judged according to the U.S. Open Style Standards allowing any number of gold, silver or bronze medals could be awarded.

The MiraCosta beers were submitted by brewing instructor, Mike Stevenson, and were brewed on approved on or off-campus brewing systems. The MiraCosta students responsible for the school’s championship performance were Ron Bass, Kyle Breckenridge, Kelly Cardinell, Kellen Darnall, Alberto Espinoza II, Mike Hughes, Ricardo Mendoza, Garrett Perkins, Kaitlin Peters, Elizabeth Robles, Amy Still, Patrick Sullivan, William Vazquez and Kristoffer Wheeler.

MiraCosta College graduated first class in its BrewTech certificate program in the spring of 2019. The 280-hour class includes an industry-relevant curriculum, brewing equipment and job placement assistance. Classroom material covers the chemistry and biology of beer production and an introduction to equipment used in breweries of all scales.

Topics covered include the brewing process, brewhouse quality control, yeast and fermentation processes and how they affect beer quality.

BrewTech has a brewery on-site and an 80-hour internship requirement. The program culminates with graduation in which students serve their beers at a campus tasting room with industry representatives.

BrewTech instructors include Stevenson — head brewer and co-owner of Culver Beer Company, in Carlsbad — along with Justin Stambaugh, former head of brewing operations at Rip Current Brewing Company and founder of Stave & Nail Brewing Company, and Greg Turk, who has worked as a brewer at Karl Strauss and The Lost Abbey.