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Oswego Brew at the Bridge Features Home Brew Contest

Sep 11, 2016 05:50PM ● Published by Shannon Antinori

Serving up craft beers from around the country – plus plenty of local flavor – the Oswegoland Park District will host the fifth annual Brew at the Bridge Craft Beer Festival on Saturday, Sept. 17 at Hudson Crossing Park, 65 N. Harrison St.

This year, area home brewing clubs will participate in the first-ever Best Bridge Brews Home Brew Contest. Home brews will be judged by professional brewers in five categories.

The event features more than 20 breweries from the Midwest, California, Kentucky and Massachusetts.

Craft beer enthusiasts can sample beers for $20 per person, which includes a commemorative glass and five tastings (two ounces each). While supplies last, guests can also sample two-ounce tastings from up to three local home brew clubs. 

New contest encourages home brewers

This year, local home brewers were invited to enter the Best Bridge Brew competition by submitting brews in five categories: Belgians; hoppy beers; light ales and lagers; ambers and browns; and dark beers.

Jim Richter said members of his Oswego-based home brew club, iNSTABHility, have entered several beers, including three wheat beers, two porters and an IPA.

“We’re pretty small -- it’s our first year at Brew at the Bridge,” he said of the club, which has about eight active members.

Richter said he got involved in home brewing after his wife gave him a home brewing starter kit for his birthday.

“It actually took me a while to brew my first batch because it was daunting ,” Richter said. “There’s a saying, ‘If you can boil water, you can brew beer’ – it really was that simple. The first time I did it, I was hooked.”

Richter said club members collaborate to create new recipes and add their own personal take on brews.

Judging for the Best Bridge Brews Contest will take place at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Pearce’s Pub and Grill, 3516 Route 34. Winners will be announced Saturday at Brew at the Bridge.

First-, second- and third-place medals will be awarded in each category, and an overall “Best Bridge Brew,” chosen by a Best of Show panel of judges, will be served on tap at Werk Force Brewing, 14903 S. Center St. in Plainfield.

Additional awards will include the “Brew-bie New-bie” award for brewers who have never entered a home brew contest before and a “King of Clubs” traveling trophy awarded to the home brew club with the highest average score of all entries in the competition. The “King of Clubs” winner will get to host the trophy for one year.

Win or lose, Richter said the competition will give club members a chance to get their beers critiqued by the experts.

“The nice thing is that we’re going to get some feedback from professional brewers,” he said.

Participating breweries

Brew at the Bridge will feature beers and ciders from the following breweries:

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