Final-term students from Niagara College tapped into a Grand National Champion title along with multiple new medals for their student-crafted brews at recent U.S.-based competitions.
U.S. Open College Beer Championship
NC won five medals and the top title at the 2023 U.S. Open College Beer Championship.
Every beer that the College’s Teaching Brewery entered in this year’s competition achieved a medal, including two golds, two silvers, and a bronze.
Final term students from the College’s two-year Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management diploma program were behind each of the five medals.
“We’re so very proud of these students and this program,” said Maija Saari, Associate Dean, Culinary, Tourism and Beverage Studies. “It is absolutely incredible to witness such a showing at an international competition for student-produced beers.”
Saari noted that the awards are hard evidence that students not only learn how to brew beer in the program, they learn how to brew beer well.
“That high standard of excellence and attention to detail are terrific attributes to develop while here,” said Saari. “These award-winners will certainly carry that sense of pride in excellence with them when they move through their careers.”
“Our trailblazing Teaching Brewery continues to raise the bar for the industry in Canada,” said Steve Gill, General Manager of NC’s Learning Enterprises. “Our students make some of the best beers in North America, thanks to the quality of applied education at NC, and bring their skills and knowledge out into the industry.”
“This year’s results are superb! It’s amazing that this class of only 10 students won five medals – a medal for each beer that they entered into the competition,” said Brewmaster Professor Jon Downing. “The students not only created thewinning beers but came up with names and selected a maximum of five beers to enter in the competition which all won medals.
“The students did it all, from start to finish.”
NC won gold for Echoes in the Taproom, a Belgian Dubbel beer made by the entire class of 10 final-term students. Each school was invited to submit a beer from this year’s specified specific category – which was Belgian Dubbel for 2023 – to be judged head-to-head according to the U.S. Open style standards.
In addition to winning gold for the class brew, four medals were won for individual student brews that were initially created by final term students for their Target Brew class project during their third term earlier this year. The Target Brew project challenges Brewmaster students to brew a classic beer to style in a test of fundamentals to master traditional standards using Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) style guidelines.
Hulk Roggan, a historical beer created by student Gian Raina Armas, won gold and tied for Best of Show. Armas, who is originally from Cuba and has been living in Niagara Falls for the past 10 years, created a historical roggenbier (rye beer). Inspired to make a beer that is not often seen in the craft beer world, he worked on three homebrew versions of the beer before committing to the style.
“I feel extremely happy with the results of this competition and proud of not just being in this program but of my classmates and thankful to all our teachers who have inspired us to make all these amazing beers” said Arnas. “All the winning beers would have not gotten medals if it were not to the effort and assistance from the class as we all gave 200% of effort not just to make our individual beers, but also make each other’s beers the best representation of what that product should be.”
A silver medal was awarded for Taylor Rd. Saison, made by Stevensville resident Marye Anne Chisholm who also created the recipe for the gold-medal-winning class beer.
“The wins validate that all of our hard work is paying off,” said Chisholm. “It’s rewarding to not only have the skills to create the beers, but to know that people enjoy them. It gives me more confidence as a Brewmaster student who willsoon be graduating.”
Santiago Hernan Ampudia Vasquez – a Thorold resident who taught at a university in Ecuador prior to enrolling in the program – won silver for Te-Toiset Bois Belgian Tripel.
T’Weiss as Nice’ German Wheat Ale, led by student Jenny Lucasiewicz (Port Edward, Ontario) won bronze.
The U.S. Open College Beer Championship is the only competition for beers exclusively from college and university brewing and fermentation programs. For info, visit usopencollege.com.
U.S. Open Beer Championship
NC’s success at the U.S. Open College Championship follows two new medals won at the 2023 U.S. Open Beer Championship, which also announced results in early July. NC’s Beer 101 Bitter achieved a silver in the Bitter category while Beer 101 Strong won silver in the Old Ale/ Strong category.
The two beers are among the most popular from the Teaching Brewery’s Beer 101 series and have won multiple previous awards including golds from the U.S. Open in 2018, and other national and international awards.
“This is a victory for all levels of our Brewmaster students who contribute to our Beer 101 beers,” said Downing. “The consistency and quality of the brewing education that our students receive shines through when the same beers win, even though they are brewed by different classes of students. It’s something that all students and graduates can be proud of.”
The U.S. Open Beer Championship is among the top beer competitions in the U.S. Visit usopenbeer.com.
Products from the NC Teaching Brewery are available for purchase alongside student-created products from the NC Teaching Winery and Teaching Distillery (while supplies last) at NC’s Wine + Visitor Education Centre at the Daniel J. Patterson Campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake (135 Taylor Rd.) or online at ncteachingwinery.ca.
While beer cans from NC’s Beer 101 series are regularly stocked, class Target Brew beers debuted spring 2023 and sold out quickly.
Project Brew Augtoberfest
The public will get a taste of new craft brews from NC’s final term Brewmaster class – the same class of students behind the five medals and Grand National Champion title at the U.S. Open College Championship – at Project Brew Augtoberfest. The Bavarian themed student-organized beer festival will be held on August 11 (5-9 p.m.) at NC’s Daniel J. Patterson Campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake. For info visit projectbrew.squarespace.com.
NC’s Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program was launched in 2010 as the first of its kind in Canada. The award-winning, two-year diploma program offers extensive hands-on training at an on-site, state-of-the-art Teaching Brewery to prepare students for employment in the expanding brewery, microbrewery and brewpub industries. Located at the College’s Daniel J. Patterson in Niagara-on-the-Lake, students learn from award-winning faculty and have access to on-site hop yard and local farm products to brew a full range of beer styles. Visit ncteachingbrewery.ca.
Niagara College has a full-time enrolment of more than 10,000 students from over 95 countries, who study in 130 diploma, certificate and bachelor degree programs at specialized campuses in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake. Niagara College is also involved in educational projects and partnerships around the world and is consistently ranked among Canada’s top 10 colleges for research funding. Learn more at niagaracollege.ca.