Niagara College named grand champion at U.S. beer competition

The school’s Teaching Brewing was recently named Grand National Champion at the 2023 U.S. Open College Beer Championship, nabbing five medals in the process. Photo credit: Niagara College


If you need any more evidence that Niagara College Teaching Brewery is one of the best post-secondary institutes in North America to study the art and science of beer-making, look no further than the school’s recent success at the U.S. Open College Beer Championship.

Announced last week, Niagara College was named the 2023 competition’s Grand National Champion. 

It’s the second time in eight years the Niagara-on-the-Lake institute has won the prestigious title. 

“Our trailblazing Teaching Brewery continues to raise the bar for the industry in Canada,” said Steve Gill, General Manager of Niagara College’s Learning Enterprises.

“Our students make some of the best beers in North America, thanks to the quality of applied education at NC, and bring their skills and knowledge out into the industry.”

All five beers the school entered into the 2023 championship took home hardware: two gold medals, two silvers, and one bronze. 

Gold medal winners included the term-end class project, a Belgian Dubbel named Echoes in the Taproom, and a historical roggenbier created by Niagara Falls resident Gian Raina Arnas. 

Arnas’ historical rye beer, named Hulk Roggan, also tied for Best in Show. 

“I feel extremely happy with the results of this competition and proud of not just being in this program but of my classmates and thankful to all our teachers who have inspired us to make all these amazing beers,” said Arnas, who is originally from Cuba and worked on three homebrew versions of the beer before committing to the style.

“All the winning beers would have not gotten medals if it were not to the effort and assistance from the class as we all gave 200% of effort not just to make our individual beers, but also make each other’s beers the best representation of what that product should be.”

Stevensville resident Marye Anne Chisholm, who created the recipe for the gold-medal-winning class beer, also won a silver medal for her Taylor Rd. Saison.

She said the win validates that hard work pays off.

“It’s rewarding to not only have the skills to create the beers, but to know that people enjoy them.”

Other student winners included Santiago Hernan Ampudia Vasquez, who won silver for his Te-Toiset Bois Belgian Tripel, and Jenny Lucasiewicz, for her T’Weiss as Nice’ German Wheat Ale. 

The U.S. Open College Championship is the only competition of its kind for beers exclusively from college and university brewing and fermentation programs.

Second-place at this year’s competition went to Eastern Michigan University, while last year’s Grand National Champion Kalamazoo Valley Community College finished third. 

Niagara College’s success at the 2023 college championship follows a pair of new medals at the U.S. Open Beer Championship, which announced results in early July. 

The school’s Beer 101 Bitter achieved a silver in the Bitter category, while Beer 101 Strong won silver in the Old Ale/Strong category.

The two beers are among the most popular from the Teaching Brewery’s Beer 101 series and have won multiple awards throughout the years, including golds from the U.S. Open in 2018 and other national and international awards.


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