Bell's Homebrew Competition kick-off is Sept. 13; winner will also head to Great American Beer Festival

Josh Smith | Bell's Brewery

BellsHomebrewCompetition_logo.pngNow in its fifth year, the Bell’s Homebrew Competition wort giveaway and Expo will be held 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.

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 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.

Multiple homebrew vendors will be present at the Expo to talk about their companies and products as well. The Expo will start at 11 a.m. and admission is free.

This event is part of Bell’s week-long 29th Anniversary Celebration which also includes our annual Hot Dog Eating Contest in addition to performances by Leftover Salmon, Cash’d Out (a Johnny Cash tribute band), 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 what 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.

Join us for the Great Lakes Gala, a benefit for the Great Lakes, in the Bell's Beer Garden

Josh Smith | Bell's Brewery


GreatLakesGrassBeerGardenOpener.jpgWe are proud to partner with local, state and regional organizations to host a Great Lakes Gala in the Bell’s Beer Garden next month, Sept. 14, at the Eccentric Café in downtown Kalamazoo.

Everyone is invited to join us from 1-4 p.m. to learn about the Great Lakes and how to protect them. Admission is free, but there will be a suggested donation of $10. We will match what is donated up to $2,500.

Money raised will go to Alliance for the Great Lakes, the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, the Kalamazoo Nature Center and the Michigan Environmental Council.

The speakers for the afternoon will be:

  • Sarah Reding, Vice President of Conservation Stewardship, Kalamazoo Nature Center
  • Jack Schmitt, Deputy Director, Michigan League of Conservation Voters
  • James Clift, Policy Director, Michigan Environmental Council
  • Joel Brammeier, President & CEO, Alliance for the Great Lakes

They will talk about how their organization works to protect and restore the Great Lakes as well as Michigan’s other exceptional water resources.

Kalamazoo’s own Great Lakes Grass will perform traditional bluegrass throughout the afternoon and beer specials along with a raffle are planned as well.

“There are quite a few people working to protect, inform and educate the public about this valuable resource and we want our community to come out and meet them,” said Larry Bell, founder and president of Bell’s Brewery.

“The Great Lakes, this region, has always been important to me and we need to work together to invest in them now and make sure they are protected for future generations,” he said.

The Gala will cap a week-long 29th anniversary celebration for the brewery that will also include a movie in the Bell’s Beer Garden, a performance by Leftover Salmon at the Eccentric Cafe, the annual Bell’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, this year’s Homebrew Competition kick-off & Expo and more.

Additional details for those events is also coming soon.

Caption: Great Lakes Grass performs during the 10th Annual Bell's Beer Garden Opener. Photo by Eric K. Fischer.

Tap lists for 2014 Great Taste of the Midwest and pre-party at Maduro in Madison

Josh Smith | Bell's Brewery

IMG_6863.jpgAnother Great Taste of the Midwest is almost upon us.

Per tradition, we will kick it all off with a Tap Takeover at Maduro on Friday, August 8th starting at 10 a.m.

Our tap list:

  • The Wild One
  • Raspberry Wild One
  • Traverse City Cherry Third Coast Old Ale
  • Honey Hearted
  • Surprise beer
  • Beer Michigan Ale (barely wine)
  • Kalamazoo IPA
  • Bourbon Barrel Aged Kalamazoo Stout
  • Nitro Double Cream Stout
  • Roundhouse IRA
  • Mercurial Belgian Style Single
  • Baron von Nordwestlich
  • Hopsoulution DIPA
  • Wedding Ale
  • Debs’ Red
  • Oberon
  • Bell’s Lager
  • Two Hearted
  • Amber Ale

For the Great Taste on Aug. 9, we will have:

  • The Wild One
  • Raspberry Wild One
  • Traverse City Cherry Third Coast Old Ale
  • Black Note
  • Honey Hearted
  • A surprise beer
  • Kal-Haven Ale
  • Beer Michigan Ale
  • Morning Mary Ale
  • Bourbon Barrel Aged Expedition Stout
  • Kalamazoo IPA
  • Third Coast Old Ale Reserve
  • Imperial Red Ale
  • Quadrupel  Belgian-Style Ale
  • Mocha Porter
  • Mango Habanero Oberon
  • Pecan Porter
  • Black Rye
  • Oberon
  • Two Hearted
  • Amber

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