Smooth finish for brewing students who craft bevy of signature beers

Thu, Feb 1, 2024

A class of Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) students will begin showcasing their brewing talents this week.

The first of six 2024 Signature Series beers will be released Friday, Feb. 2 at the KPU Brew Lab in Langley. The beers are the capstone projects for students completing the two-year Brewing and Brewery Operations diploma program.

students Thomas Nickel and Rylan Dewick.
KPU students Thomas Nickel and Rylan Dewick.

“Students must use and apply all the knowledge they have gained during their studies to design, brew, package, evaluate, and sell their signature beer. As a department, we are always enthusiastic to see the students take great pride in releasing the beers they have diligently crafted,” says Dominic Bernard, program chair.

The first release is ESB Chill, an extra special bitter beer, crafted by students Thomas Nickel and Rylan Dewick.

“We created ESB Chill as a challenge to find the right balance between all the ingredients while keeping the key characteristics of this popular, old-style ale. It was an exciting project that we developed over many months and we’re really happy with the final product,” says Dewick.

A true nod to the art of brewing, ESB Chill’s malt backbone has a bread-like character, and Fuggles and Sterling hops add spice and tree fruit notes, creating lively aroma and flavour. The pair aimed to showcase the complexities that can be achieved in a beer with just malt, hops, yeast, and water.

“I have a Bachelor of Science, so the science of brewing and the detail that goes into creating a high-quality beer, along with the creativity and artistry, really drew me to the program. I also have a background working in the renovation business and really enjoy the technical aspects of brewing. There are so many layers to creating a great beer and we have to incorporate all of what we learned in our signature beer,” says Nickel.

A new Signature Series beer will be released each Friday from Feb. 2 to March 15. Each six-pack of glass bottles is available, while quantities last, for $19.50 (including taxes).

ESB Chill signature beer.
ESB Chill, the first student Signature Series beer to be released.
  • ESB Chill, Extra Special Bitter, Feb. 2
  • Hey! Juicy, New England Hazy IPA, Feb. 9
  • Andes Stout, Tropical Stout, Feb. 16 
  • Ferry Friar, Belgian Dubbel, Mar. 1 
  • Spring Fizz, Saison, Mar. 8 
  • Happy Hoppy, New Zealand Pilsner, Mar. 15 

The KPU Brew Lab is open for sales Fridays from 1 to 6 p.m. It’s located at KPU Langley, 20901 Langley Bypass. The Brew Lab will also be open on Wednesday, Feb. 21 for an open house and information session at 7 p.m. Participants are asked to register in advance.