Sean O'Shea - UC Davis Extension Brewing Program

Costa Mesa, CA

What did you learn through this experience?

More appropriate, the question should be “What didn’t I learn”?  It was a great experience with an in depth understanding to the science, process & microbiology of brewing.  Every brewery can make beer, but it takes patience and concentration to make great beer & even more importantly, to make great beer consistently.  Leonard and I made some great friends in the Intensive Brewing Science Class.  Some were brewers, some were associated with a brewery and some were in the class just to understand more about the science of brewing.  The knowledge that was gained from this experience is unmatched from reading books and articles.  We had 2 of the best professor’s in the beer brewing industry teach us about the practicality & process of everything from choosing the correct malt, picking the equipment that is right for my needs, brewing process & different methods of doing so, all the way to packaging the finished beer and making sure it stays the freshest until it gets into the belly of the consumer.  There is so much I could tell you about what I learned.  I am truly passionate about making good beer that other people enjoy drinking!

What do you hope to do with this knowledge?

I hope to open a few brew pubs with Leonard Chan.  He has appointed me “brew master” for his different locations that we are planning on opening up in the near future.  After getting back from UC Davis, I am more excited about homebrewing/commercial brewing than ever.  I really cannot wait until I can make a career out of this.  There are so many beer styles that need to be brewed and enjoyed and so little time.  It is a good thing that we are going to start on a small 3bbl brewpub system.  This will allow us to experiment with each batch of beer and try out different malt and hop combinations.  I will be able to use the literature from our class as reference material through the brewing process.  Even more importantly, the professors will be available via email or phone to discuss any potential issues that come up during the brewing process.

How has IAM been an impactful part of connecting you to this experience?

IAM has been an important motivator for me attending the UC Davis Intensive Science for Practical Brewing program.  The initial cost was just high enough to put me on the edge of “should I go, or is it too expensive”?  With the funding that I was granted, it was a “no turning back now” situation for myself.  I was in it to win it.  Even though it was only partial funding for the trip, it was enough to make a big impact on my budget.  Thanks again for your contribution towards my future success as a professional brewer!

What are your thoughts on IAM as an organization dedicated to connecting artists to things that will inspire them?

It is a great thing that IAM does to enable certain individuals to follow their dreams.  I also love the fact that IAM is open various different arts.  Using the knowledge that is gained through the experiences that IAM contributes towards, it is helping to put professionals out there to share their love and passion for that craft.  This helps benefit the local craft scene to grow, which in turn helps the local economy thrive.  We are living in a time where gastronomy is very popular.  Not to purposely quote the Dave Matthews Band, but it seems like everyone likes to “eat, drink & be merry”.  Why not be part of this expanding food/beer culture?  It is a great place to be.  I would especially like to thank Team IAM for making my dream possible!  Cheers!


Bobby Navarro