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Monday, May 20, 2024
Niagara College students get their brew on at the Project Brew beer festival
Mateo Barreto, left, Richard Lawson and Sai Kalyanaraman at Niagara College's Project Brew Hops by the Dock. They are standing behind Lawson's brew called Dragon's Breath. (Somer Slobodian)

Guests basked in the sun with an ice cold beer last Friday at Niagara College’s Project Brew Hops by the Docks beer festival. 

More than 550 people came out to the festival at the Niagara-on-the-Lake campus to sample the 14 distinct brews prepared by the college’s brewmaster students. 

The student with the best brew wins a $4,500 scholarship.  

Mark Farrow was announced the winner of the Matt Soos Memorial Scholarship and he won the people’s choice award for his beer, called ‘Responsibility,’ ” Niagara College spokesperson Julie Greco said in an email to The Lake Report. 

Farrow created a refreshing cream ale with strawberry and basil. 

Michael Kessler was second and Nathaniel Perrault third. 

“It’s just been really fun,” said graduating student and project co-ordinator Richard Lawson.

Learning from Prof. Sarah Scott has been a great experience, he said. 

His face lit up when he talked about the special brew he called Dragon’s Breath. 

“It’s a smoked strong ale inspired by English and Scottish strong ales,” he said. “It’s something that I’ve wanted to do (since) first term.”

The students organized the festival from start to finish. 

“They set up sales, they set up all the permits, they map everything out. They sell the tickets, they do media campaigns,” said Craig Youdale, dean of culinary tourism and beverage studies.

It prepares them for real work scenarios and gives them hands-on experience. 

Each brew was unique in its own way, especially Oanh Tran’s entry, Sweet Smile.

Tran created a creamy dark beer with hints of chocolate and coffee.

“(I like) the fact that it’s a coffee brew, but it’s not bitter,” said Teresa Chordash, an international admissions officer at Niagara College. 

Youdale said Project Brew began as a capstone project in 2012, the same year the program launched.

Festivals are like a celebration for the students before they graduate and enter the working world.

“I think that this is one of the best examples of the real deal,” said Youdale.

“This is applied. This is real. These are all real customers. They have to make beer that’s good,” he added.

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