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Degree/Class Programs

Bernardo Alatorre

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Beverage Analysis Lab

Katie Strain

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Faculty & Staff

Professor Bernardo Alatorre

Bernardo Alatorre, MS Dipl. Brew

Lecturer – Brewery Operations

Specialty: Brewing Operations, Science, and Technology

Courses: Applied Brewing Operations, Beers of the World, Brewery Mechanics, Brewery Operations, Brewing Quality Analysis, Sensory Quality Analysis Beer

Bernardo Alatorre is a Lecturer for the Brewing Operations program in the School of Hospitality at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Prior to MSU Denver, Bernardo has served in a wide variety of functions in the Brewing industry for over 30 years, most recently as Director of Production and then Quality, Safety and Environment at Avery Brewing Company covering the entirety of the Brewing, Packaging and Distribution of Beer for the company.

Prior to craft brewing, he managed operations at major Breweries in Mexico City, the Pacific Northwest, Georgia and California, carrying responsibilities covering the entire brewing process from planning, supply chain, production and packaging as well as auxiliary services like quality and utilities-facilities.

Bernardo holds an undergraduate degree in Food Engineering from the Metropolitan Autonomous University and a Masters in Science in Biotechnology and Bioengineering from the National Polytechnic Institute, both in Mexico, as well as a Diploma in Brewing By the Institute of Brewing and Distilling in London.

He is an avid outdoors enthusiast, cyclist, music lover, photographer and father.

Helene Ver Eecke

Helene Ver Eecke, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Biology

Specialty: Extreme Microbiology, Fermentation

Courses: Brewing Fermentation

Helene Ver Eecke, Ph.D. teaches biology and is a founding member and intercollege-liaison of the Brewery Operations Program at MSU Denver. Ver Eecke has been involved in the programs’ conceptualization and actualization, including co-developing the fermentation science course curriculum. To further prepare for these tasks she has shadowed at various fermentation facilities and quality assurance laboratories including Avery Brewery, Breckenridge Brewery, New Belgium Brewery, and UC Davis. As an avid home-brewer, she’s excited to further foster collaborations with the brewing community and expand brewing operations programs at MSU Denver.  She also actively runs biological QA/QC for Tivoli Brewing Company on the MSU Denver Campus.

As a specialist in extreme microbiology, her work has been featured in NASA Magazine, Science Daily and PNAS. Ver Eecke served as senior microbiologist for an industrial fermentation company where her skills of screening, cultivating, and optimizing microbes were expanded to large scale processes. Ver Eecke has been a professor of biology at numerous institutions and is currently a tenure-track professor at MSU Denver. She teaches General Microbiology, Microbial Ecology, and Fermentation Science, and is the faculty coordinator of General Microbiology. Ver Eecke’s research lab at MSU Denver is used to study various projects including brewing, bioremediation and extremophiles.


Katie Strain

Katie Strain, M.S., C.B.S., T.T.B.

Lecturer, Brewery Operations Program

Specialty: Brewing Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Homebrewing

Courses: Brewing Quality Analysis, Beers of the World

Katie Strain came to MSU Denver in the Fall of 2018 with over 15 years of laboratory experience. She runs the Beverage Analytics QA/QC Laboratory | Powered by The Siebel Institute of Technology here at MSU Denver. She is one of only seven triple-TTB Certified Chemists in the country, and is qualified for the analysis of Beer, Wine, and Spirits.

Check out this awesome article from Company Week on Katie and the Beverage Analysis Labs she manages!

Previously, Katie earned her M.S. from Southern Illinois University- Carbondale in Zoology, with an emphasis in Ecotoxicology and Analytical Chemistry.  Her thesis project followed the fate and transport of the insecticidal Bt Cry1Ab protein derived from the soil bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis, in a large-scale corn field located in central Illinois. After she graduated from SIU, she started working for the newly-developed SIU Fermentation Science Institute. She helped design and managed the Service Laboratory, and managed the day-to-day operations of the Institute, all while snacking on malt.

She earned a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2005, where she worked in a cancer research lab. When she left Nebraska, she worked at Colorado State University under Dr. Karen Dobos, isolating and generation materials for Tuberculosis research. Starting in Fall of 2020, Katie will be teaching as a full time faculty member in the Brewery Operations Program here at MSU Denver.

Katie is married to her husband, Ryan, who is the head baseball coach at MSU Denver. Get Rowdy!


Michael B. Jacobs

Michael B. Jacobs, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Chemistry

Specialty: Physical, Analytical, Brewing, and Applied Chemistry

Courses: Brewing Science

Michael B. Jacobs is an assistant professor and teaches several chemistry courses within the Chemistry Department as well as Brewing Science within the Brewery Operations Program. Before teaching he had several of years of industrial experience as a chemist in Food Science. 

Jacob’s undergraduate research lab focuses on fundamental and applied spectroscopy research, energy/sustainability biofuel research, and quantitative and qualitative research in brewing science. Jacobs has participated in developing curriculum for the brewing science course and the brewing program as a whole. He has also been active in the planning for the new beer labs to be built at MSU Denver. 

In addition, he has consulted in the food and beverage industry extensively. He is part of the American Homebrewers Association (AHA), has home brewed for 11 years and made wine for five years. He is excited and happy to continue developing collaborations with the craft brewing industry and co-developing a strong brewing program involved in brewing science operations and research at MSU Denver.  He teaches Physical Chemistry I/II, Survey of Physical Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Instrumental Analysis Lab, General Chemistry I/II, Principles of General Chemistry, and Brewing Science.


Andrew J. Bonham

Andrew J. Bonham, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Chemistry                                        

Specialty: Biochemistry

Courses: Brewing Science

Andrew Bonham has experience in grant administration, curriculum development, biochemistry research, and biochemistry teaching. Bonham is the department chair in the MSU Denver Department of Chemistry, where he is an associate professor. He is co-PI on an active NSF-funded educational grant, Denver Metro Chem Scholars, which provides financial support and cohort-building activities for financially-limited students who intend to pursue graduate careers in chemistry. Bonham has an educational career focus on both biochemistry and effective pedagogy.

Bonham regularly teaches courses in biochemistry, senior experience in chemistry, and biological chemistry. Bonham maintains and leads an active research program at MSU Denver, currently with 6 undergraduate students engaged in bio-sensory design and optimization experiments. As a seasoned home-brewer, Bonham has provided input in the design and structure of fermentation courses for brewing operations programs at MSU Denver.