Michael and Sheila Lewis Brewing Scholarship winner Matheus Ramos poses with a glass of beer in a brewery
According to Matheus Ramos, receiving the Michael and Sheila Lewis Scholarship in Brewing is a pivotal step towards becoming a master brewer. (Photo courtesy of Matheus Ramos)

Engineer Turned Brewer Drives Innovation in Brazil

Matheus Ramos Announced as First Lewis Scholar

For Matheus Ramos, all it took was the discovery of a bottle of Erdinger Weissbier in 2014 during a visit to a local supermarket to light his passion for brewing. “This discovery sparked my interest in exploring various beer styles, leading me to appreciate the nuances that set them apart,” he said.

A successful engineer with an educational background in telecommunications engineering and postgraduate degrees in master quality and safety engineering, Ramos left this path to start a new one as a professional brewer.

Along the way, he amassed many achievements, most recently being selected as the 2024 winner of the Michael and Sheila Lewis Scholarship in Brewing, which will fund 50% of the tuition for UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education’s Master Brewers Certificate Program in Davis, California.

“The Master Brewers Certificate Program’s global reputation for cultivating diverse talents is a magnet for me,” said Ramos. “Born in a city deeply connected to brewing, I see my journey as fated, and UC Davis as the ideal place to hone my craft.”

Blending Tradition and Knowledge

Hailing from Juiz de Fora, Brazil—a city rich with brewing history thanks to German immigration in the 1850s—Ramos knew that to become a professional brewer, he needed to immerse himself in the city’s brewing culture. He joined a group that shared his same passion for beer and through a collective effort, they founded the ACZ, or the Brewer’s Association of Zona da Mata.

Brewer Matheus Ramos poses with beer in a brewery
Ramos was a founding member of ACZ, the Brewers Association in his region. (Photo courtesy of Matheus Ramos)

“Through ACZ, I encountered a community of brewers, each brimming with passion and dedication. It was within this group that my affinity for beer truly blossomed,” he shared. “The group has evolved into a platform uniting homebrewers, many of whom have transitioned into successful craft beer entrepreneurs.”

In 2016, Ramos reached a new milestone in his brewing journey by becoming a certified beer sommelier, fully engaging in the sensory analysis of beer. He led off-flavor courses and brewing workshops and participated as a judge in beer competitions.

He later fused his engineering background with his passion for brewing and began a new career as beer quality manager at São Bartolomeu Brewing (a position he still holds today). “This decision marked a profound shift in my life, aligning with the burgeoning craft beer scene in Juiz de Fora,” he said. In this role, Ramos plays an important role in recipe development, quality control and cellar operations.

Ramos is also deeply involved in his region’s brewing community. During the COVID-19 lockdown, he orchestrated a live beer hall fundraiser to support an organization supplying soup to those in need. He remains actively engaged in beer judging and evaluation projects, advocates for the cultivation of beer culture in small cities through the development of tourism and gastronomy, and teaches beer production to prospective brewers. “Witnessing those who never envisioned themselves creating their own brews establish their breweries and sustain a vibrant brewing culture brings immense personal satisfaction,” shared Ramos.

UC Davis master brewer Lewis Scholar Matheus Ramos poses with Michael Lewis
Lewis Scholar Matheus Ramos poses with Michael Lewis at Super Owl Brewing in Davis (UC Davis).

On the Path to Becoming a Master Brewer

Despite his success, Ramos aims higher and strives to become a master brewer—a goal he hopes to achieve with training from the UC Davis Master Brewers Certificate Program. “One thing I have always understood is that knowledge is something to be honed,” said Ramos. “The opportunity to learn in another country with different techniques and knowledge will improve my decision-making skills and make me more robust in disseminating knowledge to students and listeners.”

Take the Next Step in Your Brewing Career

Learn more about how the Master Brewers Certificate Program can help. Talk to an enrollment coach today.

Eager to dive into the program, Ramos sees UC Davis as the ideal partner for this next chapter of his life. “I am confident that my story, combined with UC Davis’ exceptional education, will not only enhance my brewing expertise but also contribute meaningfully to the broader brewing community,” he said, adding that he also values UC Davis’ commitment to diversity. “As a Brazilian with a blend of African, native and European heritage, this venture is an opportunity to leverage my unique background.”

Ramos acknowledged that without the Michael and Sheila Lewis Scholarship in Brewing, he may not have been able to achieve his goals. “I never could have afforded this program,” he said. “A scholarship like this is the only way for people who seek to increase their knowledge to do so, and to make our world fairer.”

What he’s most looking forward to in Davis is networking and discovering the stories of brewers from around the world. “This contact is the experience that ultimately changes everything.”

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