GV students make history in local homebrew competition


Courtesy / Aleksandra Makrievski

Carlie Sherwood, Staff Writer

What started as a biology credit at Grand Valley State University became a victory for four of professor Mark Staves’s Foundations of Brewing students.

Victoria Lane, Aleksandra Makrievski, Olivia Roumaya and Amanda Schoudt entered the course as strangers without any experience in brewing beer. By the end of the semester they developed a deep bond and a love for a new craft.

“My dad had a lot of experience with brewing, so I experienced it a little bit growing up,” Roumaya said. “Learning the science behind it was brand new to me.”

A course in the Cell and Molecular Biology Department, “Foundations of Brewing” focuses on the science behind the creation of beer along with the physical process of brewing. Experimenting with different combinations and outcomes, the students were put into groups to try out their first ever brew from start to finish.

“I think we just kinda gravitated towards each other at first because we were some of the few females in the class but then we ended up getting along really great,” Roumaya said, regarding their first experience brewing together. 

As the class moved along Staves took notice that the group was very invested in the brewing process and engaged in class. He introduced them to the idea of taking their brew further than the bounds of the classroom. 

The Siciliano’s Homebrew Competition, a beer brewing contest based out of Grand Rapids, was a prime opportunity for the young brewers to enter the brewing world. As the deadline approached, the team’s second attempt at brewing was ready for tasting and they began to consider submitting their inventive take on a “gose,” a German style sour beer.

“The day before a couple of us were like, ‘you know what, I think our beer is pretty good, we might as well just do it for fun,’” Roumaya said. “It was like $15 to enter and we had nothing to lose. It would just be something fun to do at the end of the semester, we didn’t really expect anything to come from it.”

Their submission, “There She Gose Again,” was a passionfruit gose inspired by the lighter drinks they favored while sampling different brews in class. The team described their gose as “gushy” due to the high level of carbonation, “surprising” since passionfruit gosa isn’t something most people have tasted before and “refreshing” because of its lighter, fruity nature.

To the team’s surprise, their creation was awarded Best in Show by industry professional judges. Their victory marked more than one first in the history of the competition.

“It was crazy when we were at the ceremony and everyone was like ‘You don’t understand the impact you had in the brewing community,’” Makrievski said. “We were the first females and the youngest to win in 18 years, so all the home brewers were really excited for us.” 

Schoudt said she advises other students to step out of their comfort zone and to try new things while on campus. 

“There She Gose Again” is available for purchase at Trail Point Brewing Company in Allendale.