NC student wins Garrison Brewing’s Ultimate Brew-off

Kellye Robertson enters the limelight at Caps, Corks and Forks March 23, when she is asked to explain to the crowd of guests why she just flew in from Halifax earlier that day.


To use her own words, first-year Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management student Kellye Robertson is living a “young brewer’s dream.”

That’s because the recently announced winner of Garrison Brewing’s fourth annual Ultimate Brew-Off will have the opportunity to produce a batch of her original beer with Garrison’s brewmaster Daniel Girard. Her beer will be specially released in bottles by the brewery – complete with her name on the label.

“I can’t believe they’re going to be making my beer with my name on it,” she said. “It’s going to be all over Nova Scotia.”

Robertson, who grew up in the Maritimes, was surprised by the win because this was the first competition she has ever entered. She said she was interested in participating in the challenge, designed to showcase the talents of Maritime homebrewers, because she thought it would be a great opportunity to have her beer professionally judged.

To enter, she had to brew a Rye IPA style beer using her own choice of malts, cereals and hops. She picked up all the ingredients she needed from competition sponsor Noble Grape during a previous trip to the Maritimes and brought them back with her to NC where she brewed her recipe. The final product was sent back to Garrison Brewery with some of her friends in the Brewmaster program who were travelling to the East Coast during Reading Week.

Robertson’s beer was among 62 entries in the competition and she was recently notified that she was among the top  four who were invited to attend the brewery’s event in Halifax on March 22.

“I was amazed that I made it that far,” she said.

While she was there,  she was shocked to hear her name announced as the first-place winner. 

“It’s really about the bragging rights, to know that a beer I made was chosen and they’re going to brew it,” she said. “I’m super excited to have been chosen, especially because I was up against many years of skill and knowledge … there were some really avid homebrewers, mostly guys, who have been doing this a long time.”

Craig Youdale, chair of the Canadian Food and Wine Institute, said he was proud of Robertson’s and her win.

“This is an incredible accomplishment by one of our first-year Brewmaster students, and a first for our new program in reference to a single student accomplishment,” said Craig Youdale, chair of the Canadian Food and Wine Institute.

Robertson’s beer will be released at a Garrison Brewing gala in 2013.


On a roll

Robertson barely had time to celebrate her victory before flying back to Ontario. The night after her Garrison win, she was a key participant in the college’s Caps, Corks and Forks event, as part of Team Beer.

Read Caps Corks and Forks article here.

She and her Team Beer teammate Jennifer Nadwodny also participated in the Beer for Boobs fundraiser in Toronto March 25. The event was held to support the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Robertson and Nadwodny collaborated on a beer with a team of women brewers and also concocted a separate brew to raise money for the cause. The beer, Cocoa Inferno, is available at NC’s beer retail store at the Niagara-on-the-Lake campus.

“It was a great way to not only give back and support a worthy cause, but to meet other female brewers,” said Robertson. “After working together for the past couple of months we’re now a team of women brewers.”

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