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Details for 2017 Bell’s Homebrew Competition now available, 2016 winner to be tapped Sunday

Bell's Homebrew Competition winner

The 8th Annual Bell’s Homebrew Competition Kick-off and Expo will be held this year on Sept. 9 at the Eccentric Café in downtown Kalamazoo.

The homebrewer who takes first place will get to brew their recipe at our original brewery to then go on tap next door at the adjacent Café.

The first place winner will also attend the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado as our guest. That person will team up with us for the 2018 Pro-Am Competition and attend both the awards ceremony and members’ only session.

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

“Our General Store has been supporting homebrewers for more than 30 years, longer than we’ve been brewing. We are extremely proud to be able to offer this unique opportunity to those who share the same passion that set us on our own journey,” said Laura Bell, CEO of Bell’s Brewery.

As in previous years, there is no cost to enter the competition and the only requirement is that you use Bell’s wort, which will be available for free at the kick-off, while supplies last.

This year’s Expo will run from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. and will feature Blichmann Engineering, Briess Malt, Pilot Malt House, the Brewers Association and others.

Sign-up times for wort pickup will begin at 11 a.m. It will be distributed beginning around 1 p.m., first come, first served. In past years, more than 200 homebrewers have been able to receive wort.

Competition entries (four 12 oz. bottles) are due to the Bell’s General Store by 7 p.m., Sunday, October 29.

The 2016 winning recipe, from Evan Monroe of Three Rivers, Michigan, will be tapped for the first time at 2 p.m. on Aug. 13 at the Café. Freedom of Peach is a hoppy saison brewed with peaches. All are welcome and encouraged to stop by the Café and try this first-place homebrew recipe (those 21 and up, of course).

Previous winners

2015: Bale So Hard, a Farmhouse Ale brewed with HBC 438 and Mosaic hops.

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.

Meet the 2016 winner of the Bell's Employee Homebrew Challenge


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8th Annual Bell's Homebrew Competition