Sip, Savour And Bundle Up For Project Brew ‘Parkas ‘n’ Pints’

NC Brewmaster students to host outdoor beer festival December 10

Excitement is brewing as a class of final-term Brewmaster students prepare to host Project Brew Parkas ‘n’ Pints on Dec. 10. Students are pictured outside of NC’s Teaching Brewery, at the Daniel J. Patterson Campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake./Supplied photo.

Niagara College Brewmaster students are ready to host the coolest outdoor beer festival in town and offer the public a chance to sample their unique craft beer creations.

The student-led outdoor beer festival, Project Brew ‘Parkas ‘n’ Pints,’ will be held on Saturday, December 10, from 4-8 p.m. at NC’s Daniel J. Patterson Campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake (courtyard).

Project Brew is hosted at the end of each term by graduating Brewmaster students who cap off their studies with an event that showcases their brewing and event planning skills.

“It’s a lot of pressure for incoming students to know what the finish line for this program entails,” said Maija Saari, Associate Dean for the School of Wine, Beer and Spirits. “Four semesters goes by very quickly, but the program team is with them every step of the way. It’s always a joy to come together to cheer them over the finish line and hear the stories behind their signature beers. Project Brew is such a perfect way to celebrate that success.”

For Brewmaster students, planning Project Brew is a key component of their Beer Sales and Promotions class, which covers everything from marketing and social media, to licensing, layout and design for the event – which are vital skills to those entering the beer industry.

Sarah Scott, Manager, Foodservices Operations for NC’s Culinary, Tourism and Beverage Studies Division, who co-teaches the class, noted that Project Brew is an essential applied learning experience for the Brewmaster students. As they learn about event promotion in class, and how to give events a ‘wow factor,’ they plan and host their own beer festival – giving them a chance to put their what they’ve learned to the test.

“The students are responsible for planning the entire event – everything from ticket sales and marketing promotions to recruiting sponsorship and students to help with the event,” said Scott, who noted that students have been working on Project Brew since September.

“The students are amazing, and they have been extremely engaged. They launched a really great social media plan – and even created their own video – to promote the event.”

For the public, attending Project Brew is chance to get a taste of unique student brews and meet the students who created them. Most of the beers on offer are individual capstone brewing projects for Brewmaster students, along with a few collaborative class creations. The upcoming event is expected to draw more than 400 guests.

“For Project Brew, the students have free rein to develop a beer in their favourite style, using unique ingredients, or to create a beer they may be interested in developing in their future brewing careers,” said Brewmaster Professor Jon Downing, who noted that some previous Project Brew beers have gone on to be featured at breweries where students work after they graduate. “Project Brew is a great experience for our students.”

Student Alanna Scully, who grew up in Goderich, has brewed a Coconut Black Lager for Project Brew. She used real graham crackers and fresh coconut flakes to create her Project Brew beer, which was inspired by a cookie her grandmother used to make. She has also been involved with ticketing, social media, and online marketing for the event.

“Project Brew has pulled everything we have learned in the program together, and we really got to experiment,” said Scully, who enrolled in the Brewmaster program after studying public relations at a university. “There are some really creative beers that were made by our class and it’s going to be really exciting to see everyone present their passion projects at the event.”

Student Chase Miller, who is originally from Winnipeg, shifted his focus from his theatre and film background to the beer industry to enroll in the Brewmaster program, after working at a popular Toronto brewery.

In preparation for Project Brew, Miller has taken on marketing, photography and videography.

“It’s nice to kind of ‘put on a show’ and we’ve got a ‘great cast’ so it’s a lot of fun,” said Miller.

His beer is ‘Tis’ the Saison – Candy Cane Saison’ which was made with his long-time favourite holiday tea.

“I wanted to make sure it was something really special. It’s a French Ale and you can expect traditional seasonal flavors with a little peppermint and real candy cane, as well as some cinnamon and vanilla,” said Miller. “I am most looking forward to seeing everybody enjoying the beers at Project Brew. That’s why I got into it; I just love the camaraderie.”

Matt Grenier, from Brampton, is creating a French Vanilla Black Lager for his Project Brew, inspired by his long-time favourite coffee flavours. In addition to creating his Project Brew beer, he has enjoyed working on the social media team to spread awareness for the event.

He said he was most looking forward to his family attending Project Brew.

“They haven’t tried any of our Niagara College beers before,” he said. “I’m really excited to see what they think.”

Project Brew also involves students from NC’s School of Culinary Arts, who are preparing for the event, led by Chef Professor Justin Downes, who also taught the brew students the sales and marketing theory portion of the course. Students will be preparing a variety of food which will be available for purchase at the event.

“An event like Project Brew is great for culinary students to participate in, giving the students an understanding of what is involved with every aspect of the event from food prep, set up, execution and clean up,” said Downes. “They are able to experience these actions with a chef beside them to guide them through the entire process. It’s going to be a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to working beside all of them.”

The Project Brew menu includes Dill Havarti Grilled Cheese, Smoked Tomato and Coconut Bisque; Poutine, Albert’s Leap Brie, Gravy; Braised Pork Belly Poutine with Albert’s Leap Brie; and S’mores – Marshmallow, Graham Cracker, Cranberry Plum Sour Dark Chocolate Ganache. Vegan and vegetarian options will be available.

Tickets for Project Brew are available in advance via Eventbrite or at the door (until capacity is reached) for $25.12 including a sample glass and four drink tickets. Additional drink tickets may be purchased for $2 at the event.

Following the event, Project Brew beer may be purchased through the NC Teaching Brewery retail store or Wine Visitor + Education Centre (located at the College’s Daniel J. Patterson Campus) while supplies last.

Proceeds from event ticket sales will be donated to the Matt Soos Scholarship. The scholarship, in honour of Matt Soos who passed away just a few months after he graduated from the program in 2015, is awarded to the student who brews the best beer in the annual Brewmaster competition each year.

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 diploma 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 Daniel J. Patterson in Niagara-on-the-Lake, 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

Attribution: Niagara College news release

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