Beers crafted at the Niagara College Teaching Brewery will now earn a special distinction when they stick to using local hops.
The NC Teaching Brewery – home to the College’s Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program – is the latest provincial brewery to hop onto the BrewON initiative. Launched by the Ontario Hop Growers’ Association (OHGA), BrewON indicates to consumers which craft beers and ciders from participating breweries are made with authentic Ontario-grown hops. Beers or ciders which use 100 percent OGHA hops earn a gold level BrewON logo, while those which use 50-99 percent OGHA hops earn a standard level logo.
OHGA vice president Rob Rombouts visited NC’s Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus in mid-July to speak to first semester Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management students about BrewON, and dropped off BrewON stickers for 100 percent Ontario hopped beers that the Teaching Brewery produces.
Rombouts said he believes it is important for students to know about the great hops available in their own province and even their own backyards. He noted that Ontario hops are unique and, by brewing with local hops, brewers are supporting businesses in their own community and creating strong relationships with their suppliers.
“Across Ontario, farmers are growing hops and building connections with local craft brewers. We want to reach out to future brewers to get that message to them early,” said Rombouts. “Niagara College fits in as a grower, a brewer and a place to reach the next generation of brewers.”
“The Niagara College Teaching Brewery is proud to participate in the OHGA’s BrewON program,” said general manager of NC’s Learning Enterprises Steve Gill. “Having a two-acre hop yard on campus, we are able to grow 12 varieties of hops which produce various styles of beers just steps away at our NC Teaching Brewery. Craft beer doesn’t get more local than this.”
Brewmaster professor Jon Downing noted that the Brewmaster program has used Ontario hops since it launched in 2010 and has incorporated hops grown on campus for the past four years.
“I believe that having students use hops that are grown in our own backyard is very important. They become educated on the use of locally-sourced ingredients and the influence of terroir in the products they use,” said Downing. “The fact that this is also supported by a new industry-developed and province-wide initiative, which will be available to them when they get jobs, is a bonus.”
The first College beer to bear the gold level BrewON sticker for using 100 percent local hops was Hefe It Up, crafted by third semester Brewmaster student Elizabeth Beresford. She used hops grown on campus to create the German-style wheat beer, which was released recently under NC’s Small Batch Brew label.
“I believe it is so important to use Ontario or locally-grown products as much as possible and not just for brewing,” said Beresford. “It gives me a sense of pride knowing I have ingredients grown so close to home and I was so excited to have certified 100 percent Ontario grown hops in my beer, as well as being able to advertise that fact on the can.”
Launched in 2017, the OHGA’s BrewON program participants currently include 17 craft breweries and one cider house. For information visit https://brewon.ca/
NC’s Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program was launched in 2010 as the first of its kind in Canada. The award-winning, two-year program offers extensive hands-on training at an on-site, state-of-the-art Teaching Brewery to prepare students for employment in the expanding brewery, microbrewery and brewpub industries. Located at the College’s Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus, students learn from award-winning faculty and have access to on-site hop yard and local farm products to brew a full range of beer styles. Visit ncteachingbrewery.ca/
Niagara College offers more than 130 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, distilling, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit niagaracollege.ca
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Niagara College Communications Manager
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OHGA Vice President