Industry taps into Teaching Brewery expertise at Master Brewers conference

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Brewmaster students (from left) Paul Rakoczy, Jonathan Monster, Christian Crawford, Cole Raiskums, Wes Burbridge, Rob Cdognotto, Thomas Nelson and Nick Jabukowski gather in the NC Teaching Brewery preparing to present at the Master Brewers Ontario District Technical Conference on January 25.

A major brewing conference is bringing hundreds of industry professionals to Niagara, and Niagara College Brewmaster students are ready for the spotlight.

Students from the College’s Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program have been busy preparing beers and presentations for the upcoming Master Brewers Association of Canada’s Ontario District Technical Conference 2018 to be held at the Hilton in Niagara Falls from January 24 to 26. The event is known the longest-running and most informative conference for brewing technologies in Canada.

College Brewmaster Jon Downing noted that he was initially contacted about getting involved with the conference by Jeff Broeders, a member of the MBCA education committee who was also a graduate of the College’s first graduating Brewmaster class (2012).

“I thought becoming involved with the Master Brewers conference would be a wonderful opportunity to showcase what the student’s are learning at Niagara College,” said Downing. “It’s also a great opportunity for the students to present in front of hundreds of people who will soon be their peers in the industry.”

At the conference on January 25, the students will discuss how a variety of distinct beers styles can be created by using the same base wort – a method not commonly used, noted Downing.  Over the past month, they have been working on doing just that at the College’s Teaching Brewery. Six different beers have been crafted using the same base and all six will be presented at the conference, including a Pale Ale, an India Pale Ale, a Honey Ale, a Sour Ale, a Strong Ale, and a Light Ale.  When possible, they have incorporated home-grown ingredients from the College. All the hops used in the beers were from NC’s on-campus hop yard  (three varieties in total including Vanguard, Glacier and Willamette hops) and honey for the Honey Ale was sourced from the College’s apiary.

While virtually all students enrolled in the program have been involved in creating the beers for the conference, a group of students who are now in their second term of the program have also volunteered to lead presentations and are looking forward to the experience: Paul Rakoczy, Rob Codognotto, Cole Raiskums, Christian Crawford, Thomas Nelson, and Jonathan Monster.

“I love presenting and sharing my passion for beer with others and getting other people excited about what they’re going to be experiencing with the beer we make,” said Raiskums. “Everyone is there to learn something.”

“I’m really looking forward to learning some new things from the industry and talking to industry professionals,” said Nelson.

Two 30-minute presentations from NC Brewmaster students will take place on January 25 including:

  • At  12:20 p.m., Niagara College Brewed beers highlighting Ontario-grown hops; and
  • At 4:15 p.m., Niagara College brewed beers highlighting different malts or mashing.

In addition to being a part of the conference program, Niagara College Teaching Brewery will also be the first stop on tour of area breweries for conference attendees on January 24.

For details about the conference click here.

Michelle Verge performs a sensory analysis of the honey ale in preparation for the conference.

Brewmaster students have been working on preparing six different beers to present at the Master Brewers 2018 Ontario District Technical Conference for weeks.

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