Following the onset of the war in Ukraine and to show solidarity with the Ukrainian beer community, whose livelihoods and businesses are being devastated by Russian aggression, brewers around the world have been producing beverages as a way of showing support.
This includes two award-winning Ukrainian-style brews created at Niagara College that are on sale to the public.
Niagara College brewmaster professor Jon Downing began to lead different classes of brewmaster and brewery operations management students in the brewing of Ukrainian beers as a show of solidarity and support.
Downing is personally and professionally involved with the cause. He spent time in Ukraine while establishing two microbreweries in Dnipro and Haivoron in the early 1990s, a crucial period following Ukraine’s independence in 1991.
He aimed to raise students’ awareness as well as funds.
“I encourage everyone to do what they can to support the Ukrainians,” said Downing.
Downing said he would like to let Ukrainians who live in Canada feel backed.
“I hope they (Ukrainians in Canada) see that we are still paying attention and everything is on our minds trying to do what we can to help their families and friends who are still living in Ukraine,” he said.
“It’s easy to be moved from the top spot of news,” Downing added. “Even though some of the news in the country is not being covered on the front page of newspapers in some areas, the college is still on top of it.”
In order to promote the two Ukrainian brews and generate money for the Ukrainian relief efforts through the Red Cross, Downing proposed adding the local creations as new categories to the U.S. Open Beer Championship this year.
The Niagara College Teaching Brewery then became the only Canadian brewery to achieve a medal in the two Ukrainian beer categories at the 2022 U.S. Open Beer Championship, an international brewing competition which is open to professional breweries and award-winning home brewers, announced its winners on July 11, with a total of CAD $1,700 in entry fees donated to the Ukrainian Red Cross.
Two Ukrainian-style solidarity brews, Ukrainian Golden Ale and Resist — Anti Imperial Stout, were first brewed at the Teaching Brewery earlier this year. They are among the latest international medal winners from the NC Teaching Brewery.
Student-crafted beer is available for purchase at the Teaching Brewery’s retail store, located at the College’s Daniel J. Patterson Campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake or online at niagaracollegewine.ca. The Ukrainian Golden Ale is on sale right now, while the Resist is expected to be available soon.