Hops Connect Cup Champions – Where Are They Now? – Ashley Brooks
Hops Connect is a distributor of hops for breweries and home brewers in BC and across Canada. Every year they host a competition among university brew clubs to see which brews the best beer. Each year a brew club takes home the cup and a single brewer comes out on top with “Best In Show” and has their beer brewed at a BC Craft Brewery at scale. Now, several years into the competitions, we thought we would catch up to see where all the winners are today.
Name: Ashley Brooks
University: Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Year of participation: 2014
How did you get into brewing?
While obtaining my Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology from UBC we touched on beer & wine fermentation in one of my classes. I though it was the coolest thing I could do with my degree, and fueled by my love for beer I jumped on the opportunity to be one of the first in class in the KPU Brewing program to learn more.
Tell us about your experience with Hops Connect Cup.
I had a great experience with the Hops Connect Cup, not starting out as a home brewer it gave me the push I needed to get started and got me thinking about recipe creation. Playing around with the hops supplied by Hops Connect was a lot of fun.
Today I am the head brewer at Big Ridge Brewing Co in Surrey, it will be one year come this December.
Do you still brew? If so, tell us about your beers.
Yes! We have 3 flagship beers at Big Ridge, on tap & in cans at our private LRS: 152 Lager, Rodeo Red Ale & Clover IPA, the latter of which won gold 2 years in a row at the BC Beer Awards in the British Pale ale category! Working in the brewpub also lets me get creative with seasonal taps, so they are constantly changing.
What is your favourite craft beer?
This is a tough question to answer because there are so many great craft beers out there! Locally I’m thinking Nectarous dry-hopped sour from Four Winds, it’s extremely tasty.
If you could have any job in the craft brewing industry what would it be?
Well Head Brewer of course!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Potentially opening up my own brewpub one day sounds like a nice situation at that time.