Bell's News

5th Annual Bell’s Homebrew Competition kick-offs off Sept. 13, winner will also head to Great American Beer Festival

BellsHomebrewCompetition_logo.pngNow in its fifth year, the Bell’s Homebrew Competition kick-off and Expo will take place on Sept. 13 at the Eccentric Café in downtown Kalamazoo.

To celebrate how this annual competition has grown and as a nod to our homebrewing roots, we have added something new.

While the homebrewer who takes first place will still get to brew their recipe at our original brewery to then go on tap at the Café, they will also team up with us for the 2015 Pro-Am Competition at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado.

The winner will attend the GABF, the awards ceremony and the members only session as our guest.

We will cover the cost of airfare to Denver and back (must be in the continental U.S.) and provide lodging for two nights as well.

As in previous years, there is no cost to enter the competition and the only requirement is that you use our wort, which we provide for free.

Previous winners are

  • Oscar’s Folly, a collaborative IPA from Jarrett Cupp, Bailey Cupp and Paul Gentz.
  • A Bit of Heat from Geoff Groff that was brewed with paradise seeds, rose hips and habaneros.
  • Manden Med Leen, a black IPA brewed with Belgian yeast, from Nick Rodammer.
  • And most recently, Proud Mitten, a dry hopped IPA/Pale Ale made with Centennial, Citra and Simcoe hops from David Lyman of Kalamazoo.

This event also coincides with our 29th Anniversary Celebration, Homebrew Expo, our 8th Annual Hot Dog Eating Contest, in addition to performances by Leftover Salmon, Cash’d Out (a Johnny Cash tribute band) and Monophonics and more.

Competition entries (4 bottles) are due to the Bell’s General Store by Saturday, October 25.

Winners will be announced on All Stouts Day Nov. 2, also at the Cafe.

Want to enter?

Here is everything you need to know.

  • Sign-up times for wort pickup will begin at 11 a.m. Wort will be distributed starting at 1 p.m.
  • Homebrewers should bring a sanitized vessel with them to transport their wort home. Buckets, carboys (please be extra careful handling glass carboys) and cornelius kegs are the most common vessels. You can leave them in your vehicle until it’s time to pick up your wort, but again, please sanitize your vessel prior to your pick-up time to help us make sure everyone gets their wort.
  • Make sure to get there early, as supplies will be limited. Signing up early will help guarantee wort.
  • You can send someone else to pick up your wort. We aren’t concerned with who takes it, just who turns in bottles to be judged in October. We do ask that you don’t bring friends or relatives who don’t brew, just so you can have an extra 5+ gallons of wort. We are relying on the goodwill of homebrewers to help each other out and share the wealth. Please help us make sure all who want to compete are able.
  • You can add whatever you like to your recipe/submission. However, if your entry is chosen as the winner, we will have to be able to figure out a way to make your beer on a much larger scale. So please, take good, detailed notes of everything you do to the wort.
  • We won’t know exactly how much we will end up with until the wort is made, but last year we were able to give 5 gallons of wort to 202 homebrewers. We hope to be in that ballpark again this year, but things happen during wort transfers that can affect that number. We recommend arriving early to sign up and make sure you get your wort.
  • Still have questions? Just ask.

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