Akademia Brewing Company wins at U.S. Open Beer Championships with its brews, Shrunken Heads and The Dom. 

An environment conducive to constant creativity and improvisation, Akademia Brewing Company crafts distinct ales and savory pub fare since its opening in 2017. Akademia’s new expansion hopes to generate growth in the west corridor of Athens. Recently the brewery received two gold medals in a prestigious beer competition in July, and it’s safe to say the business is well on the way. 

The U.S. Open Beer Championship, held in Oxford, Ohio, can best be described as the chili cookoff of all chili cookoffs, except with beers from all over the world. The competition featured over 130 types of beers and recognized superior and unique brews while also promoting craft beers.

With over 7,000 submissions from professional breweries and home-brewers, the U.S. Open Beer Championship is the first professional competition that Akademia has ever entered. Entering beers into the Barrel-Aged Fruited Sour Beer and Kellerbier or Zwickelbier categories, Akademia’s co-founder Morgan Wireman was excited to see the kölsch-style ale, which he referred to as his “baby,” awarded a gold medal. 

Traveling to Germany in search of the most superior kölsch, Wireman spent a great deal of time crafting the non-pasteurized ale-like brew,  he named The Dom. While unsure of if the beer would succeed due to its hazy composition, judges from England, Canada, and the United States, found Wireman’s recipe to meet the qualifications for an award. 

The creation of the other award-winning Akademia brew, which was entered in the Barrel-Aged Fruited Sour Beer category, was no less extensive than that for The Dom. Aging for 13 months in a wine barrel before being blended with fruit, Brettanomyces and Pediococcus were fermented for 12 more weeks to create the middle-aged sour brew.  Justin Stange, the production manager at Akademia, created the beer and coined it Shrunken Heads due to its “tiki sour” taste. Stange said he was thrilled both he and Wireman were recognized among over 7,000 other entries. 

While some would take a break after such a time-consuming creation process, the brewery only has ambitions to further their success. 

“Winning the awards makes us want to push forward and continue to make better and better beer,” Stange said. 

Wireman hopes opening their own canning line will enable the company to put out more “cool and interesting” beers in a month and increase efficiency to help bring more people into the brewery. 

Stange, also expressed he was looking forward to the sensory program which was being installed in the brewery. 

”It’s always been my thought that you can have the best science in the world, but if the beer doesn’t taste good, the rest doesn’t matter,” Stange said. 

The brewery will host a variety of upcoming events such as live music, percentage nights and trivia. Stange has the highest expectations for Akademia’s Athtoberfest, a three-day festival complete with over 25 live bands, food and a variety of vendors. Closing the event’s description on Facebook with “For the love of the west side, let’s party,” the Oktoberfest-inspired celebration will give the brewpub a chance to continue to grow the presence of craft beer in Athens. 

“When we picked the location for the brewery, we thought it would be a cool place to spark growth on that side of town again,” Wireman said. “We have plenty of space to grow.”


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Akademia Production Manager Justin Stange, everyone...


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