Michael Ligas (Head Judge)
Michael is a BJCP certified beer judge and a professional member of the Master Brewers Association of the Americas and the American Society of Brewing Chemists. He previously served on a technical committee for the Brewers of Canada and has won numerous national and international awards in brewing. He currently is a Food & Beverage and Biotechnology specialist at Deloitte LLP in the Global R&D and Government Incentives group. Prior to joining Deloitte he worked in the wine/beer/spirits sector, founded a specialized microbiological services company, and conducted published research in virology and molecular biology. Michael holds an Honours Bachelor of Science (Molecular Biology) degree from McMaster University.
Laura Takata (Advisor/Consultant)
For decades, Laura's passion for beer allowed her to focus on product quality and process improvement in the beer industry, including the development of Beer Taster Training and Validation processes. From microbiology to sensory to new product development, her experience in beer enables her to assess, judge and enjoy the miracles of beer from different perspectives! Laura now focuses her efforts as the R&D Manager for Arterra Wines Canada, Canada's leading producer and marketer of wine and wine related products, with operations in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.
Chris got his start in the beer industry in 2001 because he heard you got free beer. His first job was loading empty bottles onto the conveyor belt at Steam Whistle and over his 9 years at the brewery worked his way up to Director of Marketing. In 2010 he began a 3 year contract to consult in the US for Lion Brewing out of Sri Lanka and in 2013 co-founded the Craft Brand Company - an importing and sales agency specializing in craft beer. In 2015, Chris helped develop and build Brunswick Bierworks, a partner brewing facility that produces beer for some of the finest brands from Ontario and around the world. He has also been the beer writer for ON the GO Magazine since 2013.
Jason started home brewing in 2006, and has been growing hops on two 20' hop trellises in his suburban back yard since 2008. He runs three rotating taps, one of which always has a west coast IPA. Co-founder of the Great Ontario-Hopped Craft Beer Competition, Jason works for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and works with hop growers to improve their crop protection practices.
Louise is a Risk Management Specialist with the Risk Identification and Management (RIM) Unit in OMAFRA's Foods of Plant Origin program since 2014. In this role, she specializes in cider production and has been helping producers achieve higher levels of food safety during manufacturing. Prior to joining OMAFRA, Louise spent several years in industry as a food safety professional and quality assurance lead for both small and global food processors. She began her career in brewing where she worked in quality control for a large manufacturer for three years and became a trained sensory evaluator of beer. Having sat on numerous sensory profile panels, Louise has acquired more than a taste for beer—sampling new and innovative flavours has become a hoppy—err—happy obsession! Louise holds an Honours B. Sc. in Biochemistry and an M.Sc. in Food Safety and Quality Assurance with Toxicology from the University of Guelph.
Luisa is a Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management student at Niagara College (Fall 2017). She is an avid craft beer seeker and has been home brewing with local ingredients for several years. In the past she has served the food and pharmaceutical sectors as an Analytical Development Chemist and R&D Manager and holds an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Biology from Ryerson University. She is pleased to join the Great Ontario Hopped Craft Beer Competition as a Judge and is looking forward to exciting new developments of hop agriculture in Ontario.
Rick is a freelance strategist, advertising ex-pat, and the co-owner and head brewer at Aurora's first brewery, Twisted Branch. Since learning to homebrew in 2012 Rick has parlayed a love for beer and an admiration for brewing history into a goal of resurrecting lost and misunderstood historical beers.
Kyle is a consultant for the beverage industry helping companies such as Black Lab Brewing Company, Escarpment Yeast, and Stonehooker Brewing Company through the process of opening and expanding their facilities. Holding a Bachelor of Engineering Science from The University of Western Ontario with a specialization in Biochemical and Environmental Processes, and currently working towards a Master's of Brewing and Distilling Sciences from the University of Heriot-Watt, Kyle brings a solutions-focused mindset and a refreshing yet tactical approach to problem-solving. Kyle has been judging beer since 2015, where his reputation for technical aptitude with beer has resulted in him sitting on the best of show panels for both the Ontario and Canadian Brewing Awards. Additionally, he lectures for the Brewing Program at Niagara College. Kyle lives in Toronto and occupies his time off the clock with live music, experiments in the kitchen, and a passion for mixology.
David started with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs in March 2014, but has been with the Government of Ontario for 25 years. He continues to enjoy his role as the ONHop Brew Off administrator as the competition moves into it's 8th year. David really enjoys a sour ale but loves trying all new craft beer styles.
Madé has worked in a knowledge transfer role with the OMAFRA crops specialists since 2015. While she doesn't know a ton about beer, she loves to drink it and has been enjoying trying out the new breweries popping up in and around Guelph. Madé has been trying to be more adventurous with what she drinks, and has recently discovered that she loves sours!
Cora Loucks joined OMAFRA last year in a plant health coordination role. She felt it was ale in a day's work to return as a steward this year. Cora can barley wait to serve this year's style to the judges!