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Details for 2018 Bell’s Homebrew Competition now available, 2017 winner to be tapped Aug. 26

Bell's 2018 Homebrew Competition

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

The homebrewer who takes first place will get to brew their recipe at Bell’s original brewery to then go on tap at the adjacent Café.

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

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

“Supporting the homebrewing community is very important to Bell’s and to me personally. We will always support those who are on their own quest to make a better beer, just as I set out on my own path 35 years ago,” said Larry Bell, Founder and President 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 local homebrew clubs, local vendors as well as the American Homebrewers Association.

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 28.

The 2017 winning recipe, from Steve Vroegop, will be tapped for the first time at 2 p.m. on Aug. 26 at the Café. Damson Plum Crisp Saison (8.4% ABV) was brewed with damson plums and toasted sugar. All are welcome and encouraged to stop by the Café and try this first-place homebrew recipe (those 21-and-up).

Other Previous winners

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.

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

6th Annual Bell’s Homebrew Competition winner David Hellen describes his Farmhouse Ale

Homebrew competition advice from Bell's employees


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Bell's Homebrew Competition Winner Brew Day: Steve Vroegop brews his Damson Plum Crisp Saison.
Bell's Homebrew Competition Winner Brew Day: Steve Vroegop brews his Damson Plum Crisp Saison.
Bell's Homebrew Competition Brew Day
Bell's Homebrew Competition winner