KPU students craft beer with distinct Korean cultural flair

Fri, Feb 23, 2024

A one-of-a-kind beer has been crafted at the Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) Brew Lab with a unique flavour reflecting the culture of international students.

Students in the Brewing and Brewery Operations diploma program, along with an alumnus, have created a Korean-inspired beer named Harvest Saison. The recipe calls for hops that smell like pears, apples, and melons — commonly associated with Korean alcohol — and the beer will be available Friday (Feb. 23) for public sales.

“This collaboration project allowed students to experiment with the brewing process to produce a beer that would remind them of Korea,” says instructor Dominic Bernard. “The students decided to use a combination of rice flakes, barley malt, wheat malt, Saison yeast and fruit forward hops to make a very refreshing beer that is reminiscent of Korean rice wines.”

Students Ui Sun (Francisco) Hwang, Thomas Nickel, Donghwan Chang (alumnus) and Su (Hyang) Kim.
Students Ui Sun (Francisco) Hwang, Thomas Nickel, Donghwan Chang (alumnus) and Su (Hyang) Kim. 

The beer is a rice saison inspired by the classic Belgian-style pale ale, which was intentionally brewed in the winter and drank in the summer, when field workers appreciated a highly carbonated, fruity, dry style of beer on hot days. Harvest Saison is similar, but made with different ingredients. It draws inspiration from traditional Korean rice wines Makgeolli and Cheongju, often enjoyed after strenuous farm labour in the sweltering summer heat.  

"The addition of rice was chosen to give the beer a clean and smooth flavour, while also taking into account our cultural background,” says Ui Sun (Francisco) Hwang, an international student from Korea in the second year of the brewing program.

“We wanted to combine Belgian-style beer with elements inspired by traditional Korean liquors and German hops to create a truly unique beer."

Hwang collaborated with fellow Korean international student Su (Hyang) Kim, along with alumnus Donghwan Chang, and domestic students Thomas Nickel and Hyorae (Harry) Kim.

Harvest Saison will be available for public sales Friday, Feb. 23, from 1 to 6 p.m. at the KPU Brew Lab, 20901 Langley Bypass, Langley.

Upcoming at the Brew Lab is a special beer release celebrating International Women’s Day. On March 8, the KPU Pink Boots Collaboration Beer will be available for growler fills, and also by the glass at Farm Country Brewing, 5-20555 56 Ave. in Langley.

The KPU Brewing and Brewery Operations program is a two-year diploma program in which students learn the science, production, and business of brewing craft beer. The program combines a solid foundation in brewing sciences, including microbiology and chemistry, with hands-on practical learning. New part-time learning options are now available.