Niagara College strikes liquid gold once again at U.S. Open Beer Championship

Niagara College’s Teaching Brewery has once again proven its brewing mettle on the world stage, netting two gold medals at the 2018 U.S. Open Beer Championship.

The annual competition draws more than 6,300 entries from breweries around the world, including more than 110 different styles of beer. The Niagara College Teaching Brewery won gold in the Old Ale category, for its Beer 101 Strong Ale, and gold in the Bitter category, for Beer 101 Bitter. This marks three years in a row that Beer 101 Strong has medaled at the U.S. Open. It is the tenth award in six years for Beer 101 Bitter.

“Consistency is hallmark of a good beer, it is what keeps people coming back for more,” said NC Brewmaster Jon Downing. “The students exhibit their learning and application of this skill by brewing fresh batches of these beers every week.”

Downing, who serves as director of judging for the U.S. Open Beer Championship – but is not involved with judging entries from the NC Teaching Brewery – travelled to Oxford, Ohio for the fourth round of the competition judging. He was accompanied by 10 students from the College’s Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program who had the opportunity to judge the entries alongside U.S. brewers, graduates, staff and students from U.S. colleges and other industry professionals. The annual awards provide an unparalleled opportunity for students to interact with world-class brewers from across North America, show off their sensory analysis skills, and participate in the life of the growing craft beer scene.

Beer 101 Strong is a British ale first brewed at the College as a version of Downing’s Christmas beer, Rudolph’s Red Nose Ale, which proved so popular it became one of the main Beer 101 offerings. In addition to the 2018 U.S. Open gold medal, the brew has also won gold (2016) at the Ontario Brewing Awards, silver (2015) at the Dublin Craft Beer Cup, and three U.S. Open bronze medals (2014, 2015 and 2017). Beer 101 Strong also captured silver in its category at the 2018 Canadian Brewing Awards and Conference this past spring.

The multiple award-winning Beer 101 Bitter was created in 2012 (as Butler’s Bitter) to celebrate the bicentennial of the War of 1812. The English style Bitter has won numerous contests including gold (2012, 2018), silver (2011, 2013, 2015) and bronze (2013, 2017) at the U.S. Open, gold (2013) and silver (2017) at the Ontario Brewing awards, gold at the Canadian Brewing awards (2013), silver (2013) and bronze (2014) at the Dublin Beer Cup (2013), and bronze at the World Beer Championships (2014).

Full results from the competition are available at

NC’s award-winning brews are available for purchase at the NC Teaching Brewery retail outlet located at 135 Taylor Rd., Niagara-on-the-Lake. The store is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Canada’s first Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program offers extensive hands-on training in an on-site, state-of-the-art Teaching Brewery to prepare graduates for employment in the expanding brewery, microbrewery and brewpub industries. Students learn from world-class, award-winning Brewmaster faculty and have access to NC’s on-site hop yard and local farm products to brew a full range of beer styles.

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, horticulture and esthetics. For more information

Photo caption: Judges from across North America, including NC brewmaster Jon Downing and Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management students Thomas Nelson, Adam Jarvis, Denny Ueda, Alex Mountenay, Tim Girling, Bryan Girard. Kevin Lee, Michael Mascioli and Ioannis Synodinos, met in Oxford, Ohio to judge over 6,300 beers as part of the 2018 U.S. Open Championship.