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A multitude of people gathers at The Brewing Lair on Saturday, June 1, for the inaugural Home Brew Competition. Sixteen contestants brought their prize homemade beer, looking to win the people’s choice award or the judges’ choice award. Photo by Carolyn Carter
The Brewing Lair in Blairsden spent last Saturday, June 1, hosting aspiring brewers from all over in the inaugural Home Brew Celebration and Competition. Crowds of people filled the grassy yard at the brewery, glasses in hand, to try the home brewers’ beers.
With live music, food and plenty of libations, The Brewing Lair put on quite a celebration in support of home brewers in the area.
There were a total of 16 homemade beers, all with a unique style and taste, vying to be acknowledged as the best home brew in the Sierra.
The competition was opened to home brewers April 27. Co-owner of The Brewing Lair Rich DeLano brewed up the base “wort,” the liquid extracted during the mashing process. Then he passed it out to the contenders who took it home and added yeast, hops and whatever other unique ingredients they wished to create their beers.
Then after a month of preparation the contestants brought their kegs to the secluded brewery surrounded by woods for a panel of judges to test.
There were two awards for the participants. The judges’ choice award was decided by the panel judges: five active members of the beer industry, including a sales representative and a microbrewery manager. The people’s choice award was decided by the public.
The winner of the judges’ choice award was Helen Reynolds, a Quincy native, with her hoppy beer “Wild Red Head.” The people’s choice award was given to Zach Revene with his “Rosey Red” brew with a hint of rose hips in it.
The winners both received ingredients to brew a 5-gallon batch of brew, a Cornelius keg equipped with hose fittings for carbonating and serving home-brewed beer, and a stainless steel growler from The Brewing Lair.
Even those who did not win clearly had a good time swapping recipes and tasting other brewers’ interesting combinations of ingredients.
“We wanted to support the home-brew community,” said Susan Duniphin, co-owner of The Brewing Lair, “to give a chance for people to try the more unique beers.”
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