Student-organized craft beer Springfest on tap April 8

Move over Oktoberfest โ€“ Niagara College Brewmaster students have a German-inspired Springfest brewing for downtown St. Catharines.

Students from the Collegeโ€™s Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program are hosting Project Brew Springfest at the Market Square in St. Catharines on Friday, April 8 (5-10 p.m.). Expected to draw hundreds from the College and community alike, the festival will feature 15 one-of-a-kind craft beers designed and brewed by students in the graduating class of the Collegeโ€™s Brewmaster program. In keeping with festivalโ€™s theme โ€“ which centres on the 500th anniversary of the German Purity Law, the โ€˜Reinheitsgebotโ€™ โ€“ it will also feature traditional German-inspired beers to be served from casks crafted collaboratively by the students, as well as German-inspired food.

This will be the fourth Project Brew festival from the Collegeโ€™s Brewmaster students since it was launched in April 2015. In addition to being an opportunity for the public to sample unique craft beers, it is a learning experience for Brewmaster students who not only craft the beer but organize the event as part of a Sales and Marketing class.

โ€œProject Brew is a semester-long learning activity for our students, who learn how to put on a successful event from conception to execution. They get to experience all sides of the planning โ€“ from marketing, logistics and working with vendors and hosts,โ€ said class instructor Brianne Hawley. โ€œThe most special part is that students get to showcase and promote a beer that they created and share it with beer lovers for the first time. It is a very exciting time for a new brewer and it is also a great industry networking opportunity.โ€

Project Brew Springfest chair William Garrett, who is in his second year of the Brewmaster program, said he felt it was an invaluable experience for students. โ€œNot only is it an excellent tool that teaches us how to plan an event which we will all be taking part in regularly, but it is a great opportunity for us to learn how to work as a team to accomplish a large task,โ€ said Garrett. โ€œIt is a fantastic experience to have with our fellow classmates and is a great way for us to show the craft beer community how great the program at Niagara College is.โ€

Garrett noted that guests will have the unique opportunity to sample a variety of one-of-a-kind beers served by the brewer. โ€œProject Brew allows the consumer to connect with the brewer and ask them questions about ingredients and processes while they sample the beer,โ€ he said. โ€œIโ€™m excited to serve my beer to friends and family and strangers. Nothing makes me happier than when someone enjoys a beer that Iโ€™ve spent so much time and effort perfecting.โ€

Food vendors will be on site offering German and English fare, including Ello Gov’na, Andrzejewski Perogies, and the Niagara College Canadian Food and Wine Institute.

Guests must be 19 years of age or older (valid photo ID required) to attend. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door (cash only, ATMs available). The cost includes a Project Brew Springfest glass and four drink tokens (each token buys a four-ounce sample, additional tokens may be purchased for $2 each). For tickets and info visit

Proceeds from the event will be donated to the Matt Soos Project Brew Memorial Award. Established in honour of Brewmaster program graduate (2014) Matt Soos who died in August 2015 at the age of 26, the scholarship award will be granted to a student in the Collegeโ€™s Brewmaster program.

The first facility of its kind in Canada, Niagara College Teaching Brewery opened in April 2011 and supports Niagara Collegeโ€™s two-year Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management diploma program. The brewery forms a key component of the Collegeโ€™s CFWI โ€“ a leader in culinary, wine and beer education in Canada. Located at Niagara Collegeโ€™s Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus, the CFWI is also home to the Collegeโ€™s Teaching Winery โ€“ the first and only commercial teaching winery in Canada โ€“ and Benchmark, the collegeโ€™s teaching restaurant.

Niagara College offers more than 100, bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Niagara Falls; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Continuing Education courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit


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