Education

Sierra Nevada Brewing founder donates $2 million toward full-time brewer at UC Davis

Professor Charles Bamforth and Joseph Williams confer as beer is moved into a tank during a brewery class in the Robert Mondavi Institute on December 12, 2016.
Professor Charles Bamforth and Joseph Williams confer as beer is moved into a tank during a brewery class in the Robert Mondavi Institute on December 12, 2016. UC Davis

UC Davis is toasting Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. founder Ken Grossman after he and his wife, Katie Gonser, presented the university with $2 million for the campus’ brewing science program.

The gift announced Thursday will establish an endowment for a full-time brewing position at UC Davis. The first Sierra Nevada endowed brewer is Joseph Williams, a staff researcher with the UC Davis brewing program.

The new position will involve mentoring and managing students and teaching assistants, maintaining the campus brewery and teaching, according to a university statement.

The university tries to give students hands-on training while providing theoretical education, said Charlie Bamforth, the Anheuser-Busch endowed professor of malting and brewing sciences.

“Students don’t get that combination in most other brewing programs,” Bamforth said.

Bamforth and Grossman have known each other since 1999. For many years Grossman lectured three times a year in the introduction to beer and brewing course.

Grossman often hosts UC Davis students at the Sierra Nevada brewery in Chico.

“Over the years, Ken has been incredibly good to UC Davis,” said Bamforth. He added that “our students have learned from Ken the true meaning of quality.”

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., founded in 1980, has breweries in Chico and Mills River, N.C. The brewery’s line of beers includes Pale Ale, Torpedo, Hop Hunter IPA, Nooner Pilsner, Porter and Stout, among others.

Grossman called Bamforth an expert in brewing science and a close friend.

“The ideals that he and the rest of the staff instill in the students are the very same principles that have guided our success in craft brewing for the past 36 years,” Grossman said in the press release.

The UC Davis brewing science program provides students with education in chemistry, microbiology and other sciences. Skills are developed for entry into the brewing profession or related businesses.

Environmental engineer Harold Leverenz, a UC Davis researcher, collects urine from Sudwerk Brewery to convert to fertilizer. At the brewery, a specialized outhouse, known as the pee hive, contains a urinal for use by both men and women. Collected

Bill Lindelof: 916-321-1079, @Lindelofnews

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