2014 Homebrew Competition Recipe Winner Tapped at the Eccentric Café

Aaron Steinmann | Bells Brewery
08.31.2015

The tapping of the 2014 Homebrew Competition’s winning recipe kicked off with a ringing of the bell and a toast to winning homebrewer Matt VanNatter by Pub Brewing Manager Zeke Bogan.

Matt recently had the opportunity to help brew his winning recipe at Bell’s original brewery in downtown Kalamazoo, which debuted at this year’s Great Taste of the Midwest in Madison, Wisconsin earlier this summer.

A California Common style beer brewed with coffee, Coffee Mustache (6% ABV) is a deceptively pale beer with distinct roasty, nutty, coffee notes created by aging the beer on whole coffee beans from Kalamazoo Coffee Company.

Matt will soon head to the 2015 Great American Beer Festival in Denver as a guest of Bell’s and compete alongside one of our brewers in the Pro-Am Competition.

The 6th Annual Bell’s Homebrew Competition Kick-off and Expo will be held this year on Sept. 19 at Bell’s Eccentric Café in downtown Kalamazoo.


Details for 2015 Bell's Homebrew Competition, wort giveaway and Expo now available

08.27.2015

BellsHomebrewCompetitionLogo2015.pngCOMSTOCK, Mich. - The 6th Annual Bell’s Homebrew Competition Kick-off and Expo will be held this year on Sept. 19 at Bell’s Eccentric Café in downtown Kalamazoo.

The homebrewer who takes first place will again get to brew their recipe at our original brewery to then go on tap at the 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 2016 Pro-Am Competition and attend both the awards ceremony and member’s 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.

“This competition is a great way to honor how we got our start and it is always exciting to see the level of creativity and skill from our homebrewing community,” said Laura Bell, Vice President of Bell’s Brewery, Inc.

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.

Previous winners are - 

2010: Oscar’s Folly, a collaborative IPA from Jarrett Cupp, Bailey Cupp and Paul Gentz.

2011: A Bit of Heat from Geoff Groff, brewed with paradise seeds, rose hips and habaneros.

2012: Manden Med Leen, a black IPA brewed with Belgian yeast from Nick Rodammer.

2013: Proud Mitten, a dry hopped IPA/Pale Ale made with Centennial, Citra and Simcoe hops from David Lyman.

2014: Coffee Mustache, a California Common style beer brewed with coffee from Matt VanNatter.

The winning recipe from 2014, Coffee Mustache, will be tapped at 2 p.m. on Aug. 30 at the Cafe. It recently debuted at this year’s Great Taste of the Midwest in Madison, Wisconsin.

This year’s Expo will run from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. and will feature Blichmann Engineering, White Labs, Briess Malt, Foxx Equipment, The American Homebrewer’s Association, Kalamazoo Libation Organization of Brewers (KLOB), Hophead Farms and others.

Sign-up times for wort pickup will begin at 11 a.m. Wort 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 25.

Things to keep in mind if you decide to enter

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 more than 200 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.


A look back at history of Best Brown labels

Fritz Klug | Bells Brewery
08.26.2015

Fall is soon approaching and it means it’s time for Best Brown Ale, our fall seasonal.

Best Brown was first released in 1988 and packaged in 22 oz. bottles. It featured a plain type label and then a winter pine cone.

The owl first appeared in 1993 and has been on the label ever since. There have been different styles, as seen in the gallery.

The owl painting we have today on the front of 12 oz. bottles and 16 oz. cans was based on an acrylic painting by Kent Elliott of Black Lab Five. 

Elliot said the painting was inspired by evenings in Marshall, Michigan, just east of Kalamazoo, when the beautiful autumn light rakes across the woods, lighting up a slight fog in the air.

“There's nothing quite like that autumn light,” Elliott said in 2013. “This is that moment when all the deer, turkeys, coyotes, squirrels and chipmunks have paused (maybe to listen) — and the silence is broken by the soft sound of a distant owl echoing through the hardwoods.”

Look for Best Brown in 12 oz. bottles and 16 oz. cans and on draught. Locate it near you using our Beer Finder. #AutumnsBestColor


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