Czech this out: KPU students and Molson Coors debut a dark lager

Thu, Feb 15, 2024

Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) students and specialists from Molson Coors’ Fraser Valley Brewery are set to debut a collaborative beer.

Five KPU Brewing and Brewery Operations program students who received the Molson Coors BIPOC and Women in Brewing awards gained hands-on experience together with the brewing team from Molson Coors. They developed a Czecolate Lager, a Czech-style dark lager, which will be released Friday, Feb. 16, at the KPU Brew Lab in Langley.

"This collaboration creates a platform for dialogue and sharing of ideas between all participants," says Dominic Bernard, instructor and program chair. "It is a great opportunity for students to learn from a world-renowned brewery."

KPU students worked with Molson Coors experts to brainstorm and develop the beer recipe. As part of the collaboration, they organized a brewing day, where students had the chance to apply these ideas practically, engaging in the hands-on experience of brewing alongside industry professionals.

"What an amazing experience,” says Keely Johnston, head brewer of Molson Coors’ Fraser Valley Brewery. “This program sets future brewers up for success in the brewing industry and beyond."

Brewing alongside Johnston was empowering for students Benee Stevens and Lucy Chang. 

“Knowing that a woman is the head brewer of one of the biggest breweries in B.C. and being able to look up to someone like that is very inspiring,” Stevens says.

Chang explains that the brewing industry is lacking female representation. 

"This scholarship encourages women in the brewing industry, allows me to focus on my studies, and become the best brewer I can be, with less financial burden," she shares.

KPU Molson collab group
KPU instructors, students, and Molson Coors’ Fraser Valley Brewery specialists.

After the brewing day, the team ran batch testing and analysis to refine and finalize the recipe. Students continued to monitor the fermentation process of the beer to create a flavourful Czech-style dark lager with a twist of aromatic orange peel and rich Peruvian cacao nibs.

"It was a great opportunity and experience for me to collaborate with Molson Coors, from recipe design to brewing," says brewing student Simon Bai. “Working side by side with experts from a top-notch brewery gave me a deeper understanding of what brewing in a large-scale facility is like.”

In 2021, Molson Coors announced a financial award program for BIPOC and female university and college students to foster diversity within the brewing industry. Since then, 14 KPU students of the brewing diploma program have received scholarships.

"In addition to the financial support the awards provide, it also demonstrates a commitment from Molson Coors to help students with their learning journey and highlights career opportunities within the brewing industry," concludes Bernard.

This new limited-edition Czecolate Lager will be available in 32 oz and 64 oz growler fills for $7 and $12, respectively. The KPU Brew Lab is open for sales every Friday from 1 to 6 p.m. It is 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. Visit the Brewing and Brewery Operations page to learn more about the program.