Canada’s first, the Niagara College Teaching Brewery, is 2000 square feet of science, stirring, and hip-looking students, each determined to become the next big Brewmaster. With a Stout called “The Nutty Professor” the teaching atmosphere is playful; one can sense that the students pinch themselves to realize they are living the educational dream.
Led by Brewmaster-turned-Prof Jon Downing, and lead Brewer, Jamie Daust, students are supported through hands-on training, resulting in the aptly named “First Draft” (both Lager and Ale), Brewmaster Wheat, Brewmaster IPA, and the local favourite, Butler’s Bitter (cue historic Niagara reference to the War of 1812). Beers are sold in 650 ml bottles and growlers, bottled on-site and topped with the signature-blue “NC button”.
With an emphasis on supporting the journey to your plate, or in this case, to your pint, the NC Teaching Brewery, collaborates with local farmers for malt, hops and soon, hyper-local honey. The tagline declares that students brew “one keg at time”. One could suggest it is also, likewise, consumed. Rick Mercer sure didn’t mind getting in on the action.