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Big Brothers Big Sisters raises funds with amateur homebrew competition

The Second Annual Bottlecaps & Corks event sponsored by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Elkhart County will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on March 22 at Christiana Creek Country Club.

Amateur beer and wine makers will compete to find out who brews the best booze in town. Winners will be determined by a judges panel, with attendees voting for the People’s Choice award.

The general public is welcome to attend for the ticket price of $25, which includes entry, appetizers, live music, a stemless tasting glass and of course, samples of the beer and wine entries.

Returning judge Brandon Stanley said that he loved the experience of trying new and unique homebrews from local homebrewers that he would not have otherwise experienced.

“It was wonderful to spend the afternoon with others passionate about beer like I am,” he said. Stanley, who is part owner of New Paradigm Brewing in Elkhart, said he is really looking forward to this year’s event.

There is no charge for entering beer or wine submissions into the contest, and you can register online.

Entries for the competitions must be brought to Christiana Creek prior to the event, and amateur brewers and vintners must be available to distribute their beers or wines for the People’s Choice competition.

Brewers and vintners are encouraged to submit as many beers or wines as they would like, and to participate in both the People’s Choice and judging competitions. Full details and requirements for entering can be found online

New to the judging panel this year will be Chris May, owner of DIY Coffee and Ale Supply, in Goshen. Chris brings a wealth of knowledge from coffee tasting and homebrewing.  

Chris is an excellent homebrewer, and I have tasted several of his brews to attest to that fact. He told me that he is looking forward to the experience of judging, and for a great cause.

The Judging and People’s Choice competitions will take place during the event, with winners from each category announced at 4 p.m.

Last year’s beer winners included:

Judges’ Choice for Beer

  • 1st Place: Jeff Thomas, Black IPA
  • 2nd Place: Gary Stieglitz, Honey Citrus
  • 3rd Place: Gary Stieglitz, Fuggle Nugget

People’s Choice Winner for Beer

  • Randy Hesser, Stella Marie Belgium Trippel

You may recognize the two names for the judges’ choice winners. Jeff Thomas and Gary Stieglitz are brewing partners and will soon open Thomas Stieglitz Brewing in Goshen.

Most of their permits have been approved and remodeling has already begun at the Goshen Innovation Center, 211 S. Fifth St. (most recently called The Local). I have tasted many of their beers and I’m looking forward to their brewery opening just a few blocks from my home.

For more Michiana craft beer news and commentary from Eric Strader, subscribe to the Hop Notes email newsletter.

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