Niagara-on-the-Lake brewing students all hopped up for year-end beer competition

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Published April 3, 2023 at 1:59 pm

Final-term Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management students prepare to host Project Brew, Hops by the Docks. They are pictured standing near the lagoon at NC’s Daniel J. Patterson Campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake. (Photo: Niagara College)

There will be 11 different beers competing against one another when the Niagara College Brewmaster graduating students hold one last competition to pop the cap off this year’s studies.

On top of that, there will be a beer festival expected to draw more than 400 guests to the college’s Niagara-on the Lake campus on April 14 from 4:30-8:30 p.m. for suds-lovers to try all the student-made “Project Brew” beers.

The event, which is themed “Hops by the Docks,” will feature all 11 individual beers, designed and brewed by final-term Brewmaster students, as well as three collaborative class brews, on tap for guests to sip and savour.

The beers will range from a a lightly smoked strong ale right through to a Flanders red ale, a Belgian mixed ferment beer aged in barrels.

All proceeds from Project Brew benefit the Matt Soos Memorial Scholarship, in memory of Matt Soos, who graduated from the Brewmaster program in 2015.

The $4,500 scholarship was established by St. Thomas’ Railway City Brewing and Bracebridge’s Muskoka Brewing, where Soos worked at the time of his passing, shortly after graduating from Niagara College.

Soos’ family plans to attend and have organized a 40-passenger bus from Natterjack Brewing (West Lorne, Ontario) to attend the event.  The judging will be done by college representatives as well as the Soos family, who will also announce the winner at Project Brew.

“On the bus will be a few judges who will help narrow down all the amazing brews, to find the one that will receive the $4,500 prize,” said Daniel Soos, brewer and owner of Natterjack Brewing Company Ltd., brother of the late Matt Soos. “We always say that every one of the beers is a winner, and it’s a challenging competition to judge.”

This year, Natterjack collaborated with Storm Stayed Brewing from London, Ontario – whose head brewer is Brewmaster alumna, Diana Salazar – to create a Coffee Vanilla Vodka White Stout for the event.

“Diana graduated the same year as Matt and they were great friends,” said Daniel. “Not only did we work with Storm Stayed but also various other businesses in the local communities to pick specific flavour profiles to best suit this brew.”

While tickets are currently sold out for the festival, the college expects more tickets may become available closer to the event date, pending expanded outdoor capacity. For more information, check HERE.

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