Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s (KPU) brewing and brewery operations program has won three medals in the inaugural Canada Beer Cup.
Competing against craft brewers from across Canada, Ernesto Cabral and Freddy Nota Guzman won gold in the dortmunder/export style lager category. The second-year KPU students also captured bronze in the North American amber ale category for Birra Rossa. Recent graduate Phil Chrinko earned a bronze for his Italian Pilsner in the hoppy pilsner category, made in collaboration with the KPU brewing team.
“This win is a major accomplishment for KPU and our brewing program to be recognized at a national level, said Brett Favaro, dean of the Faculty of Science and Horticulture. “It’s a testament to our students’ and grads’ creativity and commitment to their craft, and to the expertise and dedication of our instructors who provide a world-class education in brewing.”
Cabral and Nota Guzman were assisting in the KPU brewery over the summer and brewed two of KPU’s core beers, Das Fest and Birra Rossa under the guidance of instructors Martina Solano Bielen and Emily Kokonas.
Both beers have won awards before but this was the first time Cabral and Nota Guzman brewed these recipes.
“These were already award-winning recipes but you still have to brew them with care, hit the targets and make sure the same standard of quality is there,” said Cabral. “Quality and attention to details from start to finish is whatwe’re taught in the diploma, so that the final packaged product is consistent brew after brew.”
Birra Rossa is a malt-forward North American amber ale that was originally developed in collaboration with visiting Italian brewing students. It won first place at the last BC Beer Awards in 2019. Das Fest is a crisp, traditional German Festbier that won third place in the 2019 BC Beer Awards.
Chrinko loves Italian pilsners and created a similar beer for his capstone project in the final term of the two-year brewing and brewery operations diploma. He returned to KPU this summer to redesign the recipe and brew it for the Canada Beer Cup.
“It feels great to win something as a part of the KPU brewing team so soon after completing my diploma,” says Chrinko. “The program was a lot of fun and the instructors are so supportive. I learned an incredible amount about the science of brewing and the degree of complexity in crafting an excellent beer, and that became the goal for the Italian pilsner.”
In addition to lab instructors Solano Bielen and Kokonas, the KPU brewing instructional team that supported the award-winning entries includes faculty members Dominic Bernard and Alek Egi.
Founded by the Canadian Craft Brewers Association, the Canada Beer Cup presented awards in 70 distinct style groups across 10 categories, as evaluated by a panel of Canadian and international beer experts selected byacclaimed beer writer and judge Stephen Beaumont.
More than 1,300 entries were received from over 200 breweries across Canada. Judging took place over three days by a 40-member panel that included top-ranked judges from the U.S., Great Britain, Sweden and Italy.
In all, 176 awards were handed out. Only three of the 46 winning B.C. breweries brought home three medals from the competition: Container Brewing, Dageraad Brewing and KPU brewing.
KPU’s Das Fest will be served at the BC Beer Awards on Nov. 5 at the Croatian Cultural Centre in Vancouver and at the BC Craft Brewers Conference on Nov. 8 and 9 at Anvil Centre in New Westminster.
The KPU Brew Lab teaching brewery in Langley is open to the public on Fridays from 1 to 6 p.m. for sales of student-brewed beers. Six-can packs and growlers fills are available.
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