Day 100: End of the 1st Semester

Exam Week ended with a math test covering our work on amortization and mortgages. Like all of the business math, pretty straightforward if you did the homework.

Thus endeth the semester, and a good time to evaluate the Brewmaster course thus far:

Practical Brewing (Jon Downing): One of my favourite classes (brewing is why we’re here), but one brewing day every three weeks just  is not enough. Brewmaster Jon Downing is occasionally able to offer other brewing opportunities, but ironically we are typically too busy with other classes to take advantage.

Ingredients of Brewing (Kevin Somerville): Kevin is an intelligent and humourous guy, and there’s a lot of very valuable brewmaster knowledge imparted in this class. There were some hands-on moments (making “teas” from various malts) and discussions about brewing, but Kevin tends to depend too much on PowerPoint slides. As he develops the course material and adds more “teaching” moments, this will become a great class.

Sensory Evaluation (Roger Mittag): Roger gave an eye-opening perspective on beer from the non-brewmaster viewpoint. The tasting lab was the perfect environment, and every class was educational. A brilliant class.

Introduction to Brewing (Gord Slater): Gord is very personable, and able to relate many anecdotes about brewing mishaps and near-mishaps–it seems that if it hasn’t happened to Gordo, it probably hasn’t happened to anyone. However, I didn’t relate well to his teaching style or class preparation, and feel I learned less in this class than what I had expected. A disappointment.

Math of Finance (Tony Cirasuolo): Unlike the instructors teaching the Brewmaster classes, Tony is a professional teacher, and it shows–well-prepared, tightly-focussed classes, homework exercises after every class, and well-written tests that were marked and returned promptly. The material covered  will be valuable to anyone planning to start their own business or planning to buy a house. A surprisingly enjoyable class.

Language & Communications: I was given a workplace exemption for this class, so I only took a few classes until my exemption paperwork was completed. However, my impression was that classes involved too much listening and not enough writing.

Computer Applications: This “class” was simply a series of on-line tutorials about Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel, with scheduled on-line tests. The tutorials merely demonstrated how to pass the tests rather than how to properly harness these powerful applications, but the class didn’t require a huge commitment in either time or effort. If it was a waste of time, at least it wasn’t a waste of a lot of time.

Niagara-on-the-Lake campus:


  • A small campus with a pretty setting.
  • There are several food outlets for breakfast, snacks and lunch, and a licensed pub run by the students’ union.
  • The campus is right beside an exit on the QEW.
  • The library has study carrels designed for laptop use.
  • Free campus WiFi.
  • If you’re lucky enough to be walking by a culinary arts kitchen when they need someone to sample some food…OM-NOM-NOM-NOM!


  • Most of our classrooms only had a few AC outlets, making use of a laptop to take notes during a 3-hour class difficult unless you brought a spare battery pack.
  • The library sometimes seems to be more of a social centre than a research centre.
  • Despite the fitness craze, sports are not well supported on this campus. The fitness centre is absurdly small for the size of the student population, with only a few pieces of equipment. The gym is tucked away out of sight–most students do not even know it exists–and intramural sports seem to exist in theory only.

Fellow students: Great bunch. Smart. Driven. Always ready to talk beer or drink beer (or talk about beer while drinking beer.)

Overall: Despite the ominous clouds on the horizon (Chemistry and Microbiology), I am really looking forward to the second semester. However, first let me catch up on some sleep for the next three weeks and two days.

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One Comment on “Day 100: End of the 1st Semester”

  1. Cliff Lelievre Says:

    Congratulations on the completion of your first semester. Good luck next semester.

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