Craft brew takes on homebrew in first time Winnipeg beer battle

A sudsy competition on tap in Winnipeg this weekend is giving homebrewers the chance to test their best recipes against popular commercially brewed craft beers.

And the homebrewer who brings the Half Pints Pro/Am Brew Challenge’s Best of Show prize back to their basement will also get to see their creation bottled and sold through Half Pints.

“That’s a huge honour for a homebrewer to be able to brew it with the brew master, work on the recipe, and actually see it go through the process,” explained David Phillips, vice-president of the Winnipeg Brew Bomber homebrewing club who has organized the first-time competition. “They’ll get their beer sold through the brewery and it’ll be on tap at some locations around Winnipeg.”

Phillips said the competition–which is the first of its kind in Canada to be registered and sanctioned through the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP)—has attracted just over 400 entries. About 40 of those entries are from professionals, roughly 150 are from local homebrewers and the rest have come from homebrewers across Canada.

“Really it’s turned into a national event,” said Phillips, who is now taking care of the roughly 800 bottles of beers waiting to be judged this weekend. “We have at least 18 judges who are certified BJCP judges… using a fair criteria rather than just some guy saying ‘ah this is a good beer and this one isn’t’.”

Festivities get underway Thursday with a ‘Meet the Judges’ night free and open to the public at the Yellow Dog Tavern starting at 7:30 p.m. A five-course meal served with local craft beer at Mise Bistro will go Friday for $65, and the free to attend award presentation will be held Saturday at Barley Brothers starting at 7 p.m.

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