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Student brewers bring home medals to Langley’s KPU campus

The beer competition saw local students shine in several categories
Silver medal winners, Team Noble Steed, included Rebecca Deil, left, and Emily Comeau. (KPU photo)

Student brewers at Langley’s Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) campus have tied for second place overall in the top brewing schools in North America.

KPU also won one gold, two silver and one bronze medal in the 2021 U.S. Open College Beer Championship (USOCBC) this month.

“It’s exciting to see our students win again this year in the U.S. Open College Beer Championship and celebrate their accomplishments,” said Dominic Bernard, chair of KPU’s brewing program. “It’s also an honour to be tied in second place in the top three brewing schools in North America. We’re extremely proud of our students’ hard work, creativity and commitment to brewing quality beer.”

Competing against 11 other colleges and universities from Canada and the United States, KPU won gold in the American Amber/Red Ale category for Birra Rossa, brewed by then first-year students Michael Hodgson, Peter Bartnik, and Donghwan Chang.

The two silver medals were awarded for KPU’s Noble Steed Coconut Porter brewed by second-year students and now graduates Emily Comeau, Rebecca Deil, and Alex Paul in the Hybrids Coconut category; and for the Pale Ale in the American Strong Pale Ale category brewed by then first-year students Jacob Wideman, Colton Yakabuski, and Donghwan Chang.

KPU won bronze for the Helles Lager brewed by Kayla Gibson, Wakana Sakurai, Philip Chrinko, and Kevin Reid during their first year of study.

“Seeing our students pour their passion into their brewing and receive this recognition on an international level from the U.S. Open College Beer Championship is incredibly rewarding,” says Dr. Betty Worobec, dean of the Faculty of Science and Horticulture. “It really showcases the skill and talent these new brewers have earned in the program and is a tribute to the dedication of their instructors.”

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Alex Paul, a recent KPU brewing grad now working at Mariner Brewing in Coquitlam said their team was “blown away” to win a medal for their signature recipe beer, Noble Steed.

“This was our capstone brewing project, so Rebecca, Emily and I were fully responsible for creating the recipe, brewing, analysis, and quality control, as well as being involved with marketing and sales of our beer,” says Paul. “It’s so cool that it won an award and we really appreciate all the amazing support of our instructors to help us get to where we are.”

The U.S. Open College Beer Championship is the only competition exclusively for post-secondary institutions that have brewing and fermentation programs and is meant to showcase the best future brewers in North America. A major difference this year from previous USOCBCs is that beer entries were evaluated according to the U.S. Open Style Standards with 132 categories, instead of the previous five. Schools were allowed to submit up to five entries across all categories per institution.

This is the fourth year that KPU Brewing has collected medals in the U.S. Open College Beer Championship. Students won gold and silver medals in 2017; silver and bronze in 2018; and gold and silver medals in 2019, as well as being named the Grand National Champion as the number one school overall that year.

KPU brewing students and bronze-medal winners, left to right, Kevin Reid, Kayla Gibson, Waka Sakurai, and Philip Chrinko. (photo KPU)
KPU silver winners, left to right, are Donghwan Chang, Jacob Wideman, and Colton Yakabuski. (KPU photo)