Virginia Tech beer. Courtesy of Virginia Tech.

Here’s a round-up of education briefs. Want more education news? There’s no full-time education reporter west of Richmond. You can help change that. Help us fund this position.

* * *

Virginia Tech beer wins silver medal in international competition

The 2022 Australian International Beer Awards — now the largest annual beer competition of its kind — awarded Virginia Tech and Hardywood Park Craft Brewery collaboration Fightin’ Hokies Lager a silver medal in its Munich-style helles category.

“Receiving this award is really exciting for our program and our partnership with Hardywood,” said Brian Wiersema, the pilot plant manager who oversees Virginia Tech’s on-campus brewery in a statement. “This competition focuses on style criteria, and it’s great to see that we were headed in the right direction, especially when you see the list of other international beers that medaled for this style.”

“We note that one of the gold medal brewers in this category has been brewing since 1040 A.D. — we gave them a head start,” said College of Agriculture and Life Sciences professor Sean O’Keefe in a statement.

Hosted by the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria, the Australian International Beer Awards was initially established as a national competition in 1987 and has since grown into the world’s largest yearly beer competition that assesses both draught and packaged beer and now receives over 2,500 entries from more than 420 breweries in 21 countries each year, according to the contest’s website. Brewers, beer journalists, retailers and beer experts from across the globe are tapped as judges. All entries are blind tasted and awarded points based on appearance, aroma, flavor and body, technical quality and style. 

Fightin’ Hokies Lager, the first beer to come out of Virginia Tech’s partnership with Hardywood, is the culmination of nearly a decade of research. It began as a conversation between Department of Food Science and Technology faculty members and eventual Fightin’ Hokies Lager co-creators Wiersema, O’Keefe and Herbert Bruce about their fondness for the helles style after one of the department’s annual student brewing exchanges in Munich.

All Hail to Thee, the team’s newest brew, is a limited edition dry-hopped amber ale that hit the market in May in celebration of Virginia Tech’s sesquicentennial. The hoppy, full-bodied ale is available for a limited time in select Krogers, Giants, Wegmans, Total Wines and independent bottle shops across Virginia.

To find Fightin’ Hokies Lager and All Hail to Thee, visit Hardywood’s beer finder

* * *

Brandon Nania. Courtesy of P&H CC.

P&H names interim baseball coach

Patrick & Henry Community College has named Brandon Nania the Interim Head Baseball Coach.

Nania replaces Cody Ellis, who stepped down to pursue other opportunities.

Nania has helped P&H to 82 wins, 1 Region 10 Championship and 1 World Series appearance since becoming the lead assistant coach for the Pats in 2020.

Nania, while serving as the assistant P&H baseball coach, also has been the head coach of the Martinsville Mustangs in the Coastal Plain League for the past two seasons.

Nania holds honors as being two-time All-Region selection and a part of the All-Defensive Team during his time as a player at P&H. He also held numerous offensive records including single season RBI’s (60), career RBI’s (117), career doubles (42), and career home runs (16). After his two-year stint at P&H, he transferred to Winston-Salem State University where he gained a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education and Youth Development.

* * *

Mountain Gateway chili cookoff postponed until March

A chili cookoff and cornhole tournament hosted by the Mountain Gateway Community College (formerly Dabney S. Lancaster Community College) Educational Foundation has been postponed to March 18, 2023. The benefit tournament was originally scheduled for Sept. 24.

For more information contact scholarship coordinator Vicki Pickle at 540-863-2835 or email