Kellye R’s Wild Rye’d: Brewmaster student behind Garrison Brewing’s latest release

Kellye R

Ask Kellye Robertson what’s it like to have a beer recipe she created get produced by a microbrewery and sold in liquor stores throughout her home province of Nova Scotia.

“It’s been a wild ride” she said.

Robertson who is a second-year student in the College’s Brewmaster and Brewery Management Operations program has just returned from Nova Scotia where she spent weeks helping to produce and bottle Garrison Brewing’s latest special release beer which she had a hand in creating – aptly named Kellye R’s Wild Rye’d IPA.

“The name is very fitting because it’s definitely been a wild ride during the past two years for  me to have this experience that I could never have imagined” she said.

The beer is a 6.7% alcohol American-style Rye India Pale Ale is now for sale at Garrison and throughout her home province of Nova Scotia at the NSLC (Nova Scotia Liquor Control).

It all started when Robertson was in her first year just months after beginning the program and decided to enter Garrison Brewing’s Ultimate Brew-Off. The Halifax-based microbrewery called for recipe entries for a Rye IPA beer.

Robertson who is from Nova Scotia decided to enter the competition designed to showcase the talents of Maritime home brewers. In March 2012 it was announced that her original recipe won the competition beating 62 other entries.

Robertson was shocked at the news of her win – because it was the first competition she had ever entered as well as the fact that she was competing against people who had many years of skill and knowledge.

“There were some really avid home brewers mostly guys who have been doing this a long time” she said.

A few weeks ago Robertson made the trip to Garrison Brewing where she had an opportunity to follow her beer from start to finish and become involved in the production process. On March 21 she attended Garrison’s Awards Gala to celebrate its release.

For Robertson it’s been a young brewer’s dream come true. Not only is it exciting for her to have her name on a beer label but she values the entire experience.

“It’s very exciting to have my name on the beer but beyond that it’s amazing that I was able to have my own recipe produced by a full-scale production brewery” said Robertson.

She is also proud of the final product which bears her name describing it as crisp dry and nicely hoppy with well-balanced rye and hops with citrus and tropical fruit undertones.

“It’s exactly what the original recipe was like which was chosen because it was so well-balanced” she said.

Brewmaster professor Jon Downing is proud of his student’s accomplishment.

“This is one of the best known competitions like this in Canada” said NC brewmaster and professor Jon Downing. “It’s amazing that she won this with a recipe she created during the first few months of the Brewmaster program.”

The experience gave Robertson another feather in her beer cap — a job offer. She has accepted a full-time position at Garrison Brewing and is scheduled to begin working there as soon as she completes her studies this spring.

“Kellye is part of a growing wave of women determined to have just as much fun with brewing as the men” said Brian Titus president Garrison Brewing. “They’re learning about styles perfecting techniques and making exceptional beer.”

Robertson values the education she received at NC’s Teaching Brewery that equipped her with the skills to make it happen.

“There’s a really great team of professors that work with us and I’ve met a lot of great people who are really passionate about what they do” she said. “Breweries are trying to snap us up because there’s no other technical brewery training school in the country right now – we’re a sought-after commodity.”