Craft beer education
Students from Southwestern College’s Fermentation Science Program create their beer, Tzunúm, featured at the Novo Brazil in Imperial Beach. Photo credit: Courtesy, Novo Brazil

Students from Southwestern College’s Fermentation Science Program have collaborated with NOVO Brazil Brewing Company, the first time the students’ work has been featured at a professional brewery. 

Tzunúm, an Australian Pale Ale, is available on draft only at the brewery’s Imperial Beach location after making its debut last weekend.

The South Bay college’s program started in Spring 2018 with a lecture class, with the first brewing lab held a year later using a small, five-gallon system.

Tzunúm, Mayan for hummingbird, was named by the students for its lightness and summer-y features. It has a light golden color, steady white head, and a 5.5% alcohol by volume (ABV). The beer is slightly hazy, and features a citrus and fresh lime zest from the single hop, Wakatu.

“It was such a privilege to see the eager students get actual hands-on experience in a professional setting,” said NOVO head brewer Guilherme Hoffman. “It was a great, exciting moment for these beginner brewers, and I can’t wait to be a part of more projects with them.”

Only one keg was created in NOVO Imperial Beach’s nano brewery. The participating students were Amanda Esquivel-Chacon, Fred Hafer, Zackary Lieras, and Matthew Pineda.

“NOVO Brazil has been an amazing supporter and partner of our program, and we are very grateful for this amazing experience for our students,” said David Hecht, Ph.D., a professor of chemistry at Southwestern.

NOVO Imperial Beach opened in November with views of the Coronado Bridge and San Diego’s downtown skyline. The restaurant features 64 taps, serving all NOVO beers and its other lines of beverages, NOVA easy kombuchas, California Spritz beer cocktails and hard seltzers.

NOVO, located at 535 Florence St., opens at 11 a.m. Friday through Sunday and at noon Monday through Thursday.



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Ellen Bullock