Michael Ligas (Head Judge)
Michael Ligas 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.
Luisa Muhleisen (Table Lead)
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.
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.
Co-founder of the OHBO, Jason started home brewing in 2006 and planted a backyard hopyard in 2008. Jason works for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to help hop growers to improve their crop protection practices. Current style favorites: American IPA, Porter, Imperial Stout. Find him on Untapp'd as JasonSTD.
Louise Agius 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.
Rick Tanton 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.
Scott Hodgins is an enthusiastic fan of Ontario's craft brewers and a backyard hop grower himself.
Scott works for Plant Products developing their outdoor fruit and vegetable crop protection business, including hops.
In his spare time, he is an avid cyclist which may help to explain his affinity for radlers.
W. Kyle Smith 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.
Tom Clarke is an avid Beer Drinker who enjoys sampling different Ontario Craft Beers and works for BASF as the Horticulture Crop Specialist for Niagara, and East Central Ontario. He enjoys helping introduce new innovative crop protection products developed by BASF to horticulture growers. Tom graduated from the Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Specializing in Plant Pathology. In his spare time , Tom enjoys walking his 4 Rescue Native Inuit dogs in hometown Blackstock Ontario.