New beer lab honors Colorado craft-beer pioneer
Construction will soon be underway on the Charlie Papazian Brewing Education Lab at MSU Denver.
Beer lovers nationwide are paying tribute to the father of craft beer by helping to fund a new laboratory that will prepare future professionals for careers in this expansive industry.
Metropolitan State University of Denver will soon begin construction of the Charlie Papazian Brewing Education Lab, named in honor of the retired founder of the American Homebrewers Association, the Great American Beer Festival and the Brewers Association, all based in Boulder.
“I’ve been a teacher and educator my entire adult life,” Papazian said, “from teaching preschool through fourth grade and showing adults how to homebrew to launching the American Homebrewers Association and the Brewers Association. The original mission of those two organizations was educational: to make beer knowledge accessible to all. So the lab continues the flow of my life’s work, and it’s very fitting and exciting for me.”
To fund the approximately $2 million project, MSU Denver raised more than $434,000 from nearly 20 industry leaders who wanted to pay tribute to Papazian’s massive contributions as the “Johnny Appleseed” of homebrewing.
MSU Denver has also launched a crowdfunding campaign that enables brewers, craft-beer lovers, homebrewers and industry professionals to help fund the lab.
Being built into a space on the ground floor of MSU Denver’s Hospitality Learning Center, the new facility will feature a 3½-barrel commercial brewing system. It will provide real-world experience to students of MSU Denver’s Brewery Operations Program, which already boasts a number of other hands-on learning facilities and industry partnerships.
“Now, students will learn to brew on a true commercial-scale brewery, so they will be much better prepared for a brewery job,” said Bernardo Alatorre, lecturer and interim director of the Brewery Operations Program.
Alatorre said students will gain experience in all facets of brewing, from procuring ingredients and creating recipes to yeast management, fermentation control and clean-in-place procedures.
“The (lab) will add significant value to our students’ degrees, and it will make the program much more attractive to prospective students,” he said.
It will also commemorate “the transformational role that homebrewers, small brewers and beer enthusiasts have played in making the world a better place for the enjoyment of beer,” Papazian said.
Construction on the nearly 1,500 square-foot lab will begin this summer and is scheduled for completion in 2023. MSU Denver’s Brewery Operations Program, part of the University’s School of Hospitality, blends the art and science of brewing beer with the hospitality knowledge and operational skills sought by the beer and brewing industries.
Support the Charlie Papazian Brewery Education Lab Fund
Funds will go toward construction costs, the purchase and maintenance of equipment and to support the Brewery Operations Program. Donate here.
Situated in downtown Denver on the Auraria Campus, the University’s School of Hospitality offers students access to a considerable number of experiential learning opportunities. They can engage with more than 40 allied breweries, restaurants, distributors and hotels within a few miles of the campus.
Since its founding in 2015, the Brewery Operations Program has served hundreds of students with courses offering an emphasis on brewing sciences, brewery operations, sales and marketing to support the employment needs of Colorado’s expansive beer industry.