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).
Bell’s Brewery, Inc. began in 1985 with a quest for better beer and a 15 gallon soup kettle. Since then, we’ve grown into a regional craft brewery that employs more than 550 people over a 40 state area, in addition to Puerto Rico and Washington DC. The dedication to brewing flavorful, unfiltered, quality craft beers that started in 1985 is still with us today. We currently brew over 20 beers for distribution as well as many other small batch beers that are served at our pub in Kalamazoo, the Eccentric Cafe. Our ongoing goal is to brew thoughtfully, creatively and artistically. 100% family-owned and independent, we strive to bring an authentic and pleasant experience to all of our customers through our unique ales and lagers.