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Apricot IPA recipe takes first place at Bell’s 2018 homebrew competition

An Apricot IPA won Bell's 9th Annual Homebrew Competition.

The winners of Bell’s 9th Annual Homebrew Competition were announced during the 10th Annual All Stouts Day at the Eccentric Café this past Sunday (Nov. 3).

Four homebrewers placed out of the 113 entries submitted this year. First place went to Matt MacQuillan for his Apricot IPA.

The recipe was created by MacQuillan after he was asked by a friend to help teach her how to homebrew. MacQuillan will brew his Apricot IPA recipe at Bell’s original brewery to then go on tap at the adjacent Café.

“I never in a million years thought I would win. It’s hard for me to put into words how extremely excited I am,” MacQuillan said.

He will also head to the 2019 Great American Beer Festival in Denver as a guest of Bell’s and compete alongside a Bell’s brewer in the Pro-Am Competition.

“Overall, we saw a lot of very solid entries this year. There was definitely a lot of experimentation and interesting ingredient additions as we have seen in the past. Choosing an overall winner is getting harder and harder to do because of the talent we are seeing,” said David Curtis, Bell’s General Store Operations Manager and competition organizer.

Second place again went to Ryan Schippers for his North East IPA, this is the second year in a row Schippers has claimed this prize. Third place went to Andrew Brouwers for his Session Farmhouse Ale. Fourth place went to Jim Milotz for his Sour Ale brewed with coriander.

This year’s honorable mentions are (in no particular order):

  • Leah Helzerman – Mangosteen Gose
  • Jason Glatz – Baltic Porter
  • Andrew Hansen – Pumpkin spiced beer
  • Ray Bilyk – Chocolate Covered Strawberry Stout
  • Kevin Rayl – Kettle Soured Ale
  • Mark Hofmann – Cherry Saison
  • Steve Morren – Chocolate, peanut butter & hazelnut stout

All were recognized during Sunday’s announcement and received a prize.

From ingredients, to equipment to advice, the Bell’s General Store continues supporting the homebrew community that helped Larry Bell get his start before the brewery sold its first commercial pint. Originally founded as the Kalamazoo Brewing Co., the Bell’s General Store opened in 1983.

Look for more information about when this year’s winning recipe will be tapped at the Café as soon as it is available online at and on Bell’s social media. Follow the brewery and the Eccentric Cafe on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Cheers and congratulations to everyone!

Previous first place winners

2017: Damson Plum Crisp Saison – Steve Vroegop

2016: Freedom of Peach, a hoppy saison brewed with peaches from Evan Monroe

2015: Bale So Hard, a farmhouse ale brewed with HBC 438 and Mosaic hops, from David Hellen

2014: Coffee Mustache, a California common style beer brewed with coffee, from Matt VanNatter

2013: Proud Mitten, a dry hopped IPA/pale ale made with Centennial, Citra and Simcoe hops, from David Lyman

2012: Manden Med Leen, a black IPA brewed with Belgian yeast, from Nick Rodammer

2011: A Bit of Heat from Geoff Groff, brewed with paradise seeds, rose hips and habaneros

2010: Oscar’s Folly, a collaborative IPA from Jarrett Cupp, Bailey Cupp and Paul Gentz

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