Twelve second-year brewing students had to get a little crafty in Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s brewlab for their final year-end project.
Approaching the end of their two-year program, the students collaborated in teams to create their own limited edition signature beers. This included the recipe, manufacturing, quality control, and marketing. The four brews were the Peak Fusion Belgian IPA, the Noble Steed Toasted Coconut Porter, the Mango Lore Fruit Wheat Beer, and the Quench Wave Brut IPA.
Miguel Angel Molina and Alex Paul are second-year brewing and brewery operations students who helped develop Quench Wave and Noble Steed.
In an email to The Runner, Molina said that his job as a brewer is to blend science and art and produce a product that makes people happy. He’s pleased with how Quench Wave turned out but notes there’s always room for improvement. “Just brew it until it is bulletproof!” he wrote.
One of Molina’s biggest hobbies is travelling, and he’s always on the hunt for new breweries and taprooms. He tasted a Brut IPA during a trip to San Francisco and was instantly hooked. He wanted to recreate that flavour, but with a West Coast vibe and a twist of ginger.
“It’s the perfect beer for any moment [and] any season,” wrote Molina. “I would describe it as a big wave of aromatics with citrus, pine and fruity notes from hops, as well as a hint of ginger spiciness.”
Like all industries, the craft beer industry has also been impacted by COVID-19. Molina wrote that they look to friends to get feedback on new beers they’ve brewed, but the pandemic has eliminated the “fun part” of making beer due to forgoing the “tasting and sensory analysis” components.
For Alex Paul, who helped develop Noble Steed, the creative process was a little different.
“In the very first week of class, like two years ago, I partnered with my brew partner Emily, and I was like, ‘Hey! I know for our final project, it’s this beer we have to create a recipe for, do you like dark beers?’ and she was like, ‘Yeah,’ and I’m like, ‘Okay great! Do you like coconut?’ and she’s like, ‘Yeah,’ and I’m like ‘Great! How about a coconut porter?’ and she’s like, ‘Yeah that’s great!’” he says.
Paul adds that their classmate, Rebecca, joined their group in second year and, luckily, she was also a fan of dark beers.
He first fell in love with coconut porters in a Victoria brewery 15 years ago and has been trying to find a similar one ever since. Paul describes the porter as “chocolatey,” “roasty,” full of “caramel notes,” with a hint of coconut, likening it to a Mounds bar.
Six-packs and growler fill with Noble Steed, and Peak Fusion went on sale at KPU’s brew lab on April 9, while the remaining two signature beers went on sale April 23. In total, Paul’s team produced 150 litres of beer, equivalent to two kegs. He says Noble Steed sold out in less than two hours and Peak Fusion in under three.
Because of COVID safety measures, Paul and his classmates were only in the brew lab once a week. It didn’t impact the product, but it did change their experience in making it. However, everything he learned in the brewlab he was able to apply to his full-time job at a Coquitlam brewery, and he praised KPU’s program.
“I am very satisfied, I was very impressed with how we did,” says Paul. “It was everything I wanted it to be.”