KPU’s Brewing and Brewery Operations program has recently been recognized by the BC Beer Awards for their entry in the German wheat beer category. Brewed by lab instructors and program graduates Derek Kindret and Jon Howe during the summer months, the “50/50 Hefe” was awarded second place out of several entries in the popular category.
The German wheat beer, also known as a Hefeweizen, beat every other submission in the province except for the Sundown Hefeweizen by Sundown Brewing Company Ltd. Hefeweizens typically harbour light and sweeter flavours like banana, cloves, or even bubblegum, and avoid bitter flavours. This often leaves them between 10 and 15 international bitterness units (IBUs), which is relatively low.
“It was unfiltered and hazy with a higher amount of carbonation, which is typical of wheat beers,” says Kindret, who graduated from the program in April.
KPU Brewing and Brewery Operations Chair Alek Egi says that the BC Beer Awards are considered the most important and prestigious awards in the province. There are more than 150 registered breweries in B.C., many of which submit a number of entries for different categories. This year alone there were more than 1,000 submissions to the competition.
“When we were designing recipes for the BC Beer Awards, we based some of our decisions off the yeast we had in stock and in the fermenters,” says Kindret. “Early in the summer, we started brewing wheat beers. Our main inspiration for this beer style was our collective love of Hefeweizen as a group of brewers.”
He adds that, after their first batch of 50/50 Hefe, he and the other brewers agreed that they were “onto something.”
“We tried to design the recipe after a traditional Hefeweizen, with a grain bill of at least 50 per cent wheat malt, hence the 50/50 name,” he says.
At least 10 other alumni from KPU’s brewing program were involved in creating award-winning beer entries, including five which took first place in their respective categories.
“Why I think this is a huge success for us—winning something like a provincial award—is because we only have one shot at it,” says Egi. “We make one batch and then we send it to a competition, so it’s not something that we can continuously brew and keep improving.”
The beer was in such high demand after it received the award that they quickly ran out after serving it to attendees at the event. Unfortunately, there is no more left for those who were interested in tasting it.
“Our batches are relatively small, and this beer was brewed a couple of months ago. We saved a small keg for the awards ceremony, and of course we won the award and the beer was popular so we ran out,” says Egi.
Kindret adds, “On a hot summer day nothing beats a good Hefe.”