HomeBrew Competition

2016 Homegrown Festival Homebrew Competition

Entry Deadline: Friday September 2nd, 2016

You make beer all year, but now’s the time to use as many local ingredients as you can in your mead, wine, cider, or, of course, beer!

Entry Categories
1.    Beer w/ local fruit                               
2.    Beer w/ local spice/herb/vegetable
3.    Beer w/ homegrown hops                  
4.    Beer w/ other local ingredient (malt, hops, coffee)
5.    Mead or wine             
6.    Cider

Note: This competition is not BJCP/AHA sanctioned, but we do want you to include the base BJCP style on your entry form: it helps the judges know what they’re tasting.

How to Compete
1.    Ferment/brew your beverage(s) using local ingredients from Michigan.
Examples: Homegrown hops, locally grown (or foraged!) fruits or vegetables, herbs or other goodies from your garden, honey, coffee from your favorite roaster, or chocolate from your neighborhood chocolatier
2.    Bottle your beverage.
3.    Fill out the entry form. (One per bottle, please.)
4.    Bring two, 12-ounce bottles (label free) with your entry forms attached to one of the posted drop-off locations. If there are no entry forms, we won’t know it’s your beer and we can’t judge it. Again, one entry form per bottle.


1. Adventures in Homebrewing, Ann Arbor

Why Compete?
1.    Be a part of the 2016 Homegrown Festival and celebrate local food and local drink on September 10th at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market.
2.    Win prizes (to be announced soon) if you brew an awesome beer that showcases local ingredients - you don’t need to be present to win, but it’s recommended for your own enjoyment.
3.    Challenge yourself to brew with new ingredients (note: water does not count as a local ingredient).
4.    Receive feedback on your beverage from a panel of judges, including local homebrewers and professional brewers.

What to Make?
Entries for the 2016 Homegrown Homebrew Competition will be accepted in six categories. Read on for some helpful hints and suggestions on how to make the most of your local ingredients.

1.    Beer w/ Local Fruit: Unless you’ve got great fruit beer in the cellar from last year, you’ll want to get a jump on this one as soon as you see ripe fruit. What kind of fruit? Well, Michigan grows strawberries, juneberries (a.k.a. serviceberries), raspberries (including wild black raspberries), blueberries, sweet and tart cherries, plums, peaches, apricots, grapes, elderberries, pears, and apples. While those last few may not be ripe in time to brew for this year’s competition, that still leaves a lot of fruit to choose from!

2.    Beer w/ homegrown hops: First, you don’t have to grow the hops yourself; they just can’t be commercially grown and processed. Second, you don’t need to use homegrown hops for bittering; feel free to use commercially grown hops with a known alpha acid content for bittering additions. Anything you add with less than 60 minutes remaining in the boil, however, should be homegrown. Also, as oil content (i.e., how much flavor you get) varies considerably in homegrown hops, you will probably want to increase the quantities of your flavor and aroma additions.

3.    Beer w/ local spice/herb/vegetable: Here’s your chance to showcase your pepper beer or basil blonde ale. Stephen Buhner’s Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers has recipes for beers using everything from spruce to bee balm.Consider making a tincture to add to your finished beer after fermentation is complete (but before carbonating).

4.    Beer w/ other local ingredient(s): We’ve got many great farmers and growers at the Farmers Market, but we also have a number of great artisanal products in the community. Now’s the time to use that Roos Roast coffee or those Mindo Chocolate cocao nibs to make a tasty stout. This is also the category to showcase the fine brewing ingredients of the great state of Michigan - try using Michigan malts or commercially-grown Michigan hops. Try the Michigan-grown cascade, it’s surprisingly orangey.

5.    Mead or wine: Guess what? Any of the fruits listed for making fruit beer also would work well for wine or mead.

6.    Cider: Unless you already have cider from previous harvests, your best bet is finding a local producer that is still pressing apples from last fall. While you won’t have much choice on the blend, that doesn’t mean you can’t still make some great hard cider.

 Entry forms posted! Have Questions? Just ask: hghomebrew@gmail.com