Innovating Minds: Fermentation Innovation Panel
December 5, 2019
We’ve assembled a great panel of professionals throughout the local Northern Colorado fermentation industry to discuss their career paths, innovation in, and science of fermentation. Following the panel, we will move downstairs in the Lory Student Center to the RamSkellar Pub for socializing and networking over appetizers.
Jeff began his brewing career in 1992 as a brewer’s apprentice at the Harpoon Brewery in Boston. In 1993, he became head brewer and production manager at the Tremont Brewery in Charlestown, MA. During that time, Tremont won four consecutive awards for Boston’s best beer and grew to a 10,000 bbl/year craft brewery that focused on traditional, open fermented English ales. Jeff has been an active member of the Master Brewers Association of the Americas for 23 year. In the year 2000, Jeff and his wife migrated to Colorado, where he took a position as head brewer and production manager at Avery Brewing in Boulder. In 2001, Jeff was ecstatic when he was offered a brewing position at New Belgium Brewing company. Over the years, his work has focused on process improvement, R&D, day-to-day troubleshooting & problem solving, process modeling, and applying multivariate experimental design to improve and control complex processes. Jeff has been teaching brewing science as Adjunct Faculty at Colorado State University since 2012. In 2018, he transitioned to a full-time role at CSU where he teaches brewing classes and oversees the two on-campus breweries, his position is sponsored by New Belgium Brewing Company.
Katie graduated from Colorado State University in 2011 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Health. After graduation she interned in the cellar at Fort Collins Brewery before taking a position in the QA/QC lab at Oskar Blues Brewery in Longmont, CO. From that initial part-time lab tech position, she worked up to full-time and then eventually moved into the role of lab manager. She was at Oskar Blues until 2016 when she then accepted a job back at her alma matter, Colorado State University, as the lab manager for the Fermentation Science and Technology program. She is still currently in that role helping build and grow the program to one of the best in the country. She creates and performs research opportunities, mentors the future brewers and fermenters of America, instructs lab courses, and runs a growing service lab for the fermentation industry. She loves learning about all aspects of fermentation and is an avid home fermenter herself. With a passion for learning, she was recently accepted into the Horticulture Master’s program and is concurrently working on her master’s degree, focusing on the progression of aging metabolites in beer.
Shawna Hays – Gilded Goat Brewing Company
Shawna began home brewing with her Dad about 6 years ago while finishing her BFA degree at UW-Milwaukee, which ignited her passion for brewing. She began her time in the industry at Sprecher Brewing Co. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 2013 in the taproom, quickly moving in to the Quality Control laboratory. After 5 years helping Sprecher Brewing develop their quality control program, she decided to take her ventures to Colorado. Shawna started again in the taproom at Gilded Goat Brewing and did everything she could to soak up as much Colorado beer culture as possible, including joining the Pink Boots Society and advocating for women in the brewing industry. She was able to intern for the Boulder Beer Co. quality control lab, assisting in the brewing operation at a Feisty distillery, and brew at Sleeping Giant Brewing Company making beer on a very large scale. Shawna is now the assistant brewer at Gilded Goat Brewing Company and involved in all aspects of small brewery operations and production.
Brynn Keenan – Grist Analytics
Brynn Keenan received a BS in Biochemistry before pursuing a career in the brewing industry. Her love of the craft guided her to Holy City Brewing where she worked in the cellar, getting hands on experience in production. After a move to Colorado she became a lab technician at Left Hand Brewing, and eventually the QA manager. While there she built micro, analytical, and sensory programs. After Left Hand she joined Inland Island Yeast Laboratories as the QA manager to amplify their internal QC program. Across the industry she noticed under-utilized production and process data, and created a software platform to automate brewing data analysis. She now works with the software full time at Grist Analytics, and is excited to see how visualization of data can give back to the brewing industry.
Marni Wahlquist – Odell Brewing Company
Marni Wahlquist is part of the R+D Team at Odell Brewing Company. When she’s not writing recipes and brainstorming, she is brewing on the Pilot System and blending barrels. She attended Colorado State University and graduated with a B.A. in Anthropology. Her love of fermentation began in 2002 when she made her first batch of sauerkraut. It was less than delicious, but it had still transformed enough to taste its potential. Through being a hobbyist fermenter and learning the science of fermentation in her kitchen, she launched a fermentation food business in 2011 which focused on traditionally fermented vegetables. As her company reached a new point of growth in 2014, she made the decision to shift her passion of fermentation to beer and accepted a packaging position at Odell Brewing Company. She began brewing in 2015 and has since brewed numerous styles of beer including kombucha beer, sahti, and gruit. She enjoys the challenges that fermentation presents and the myriad of possibilities of this deeply sensory, artful science.