This winter has been extra long, the drear factor has reached an all-time high, and after calling an emergency meeting to conjure morale boosting solutions a few weeks ago, two positive outcomes emerged: 1. A poorly drawn pizza slice on every Monday of our office calendar to honour our commitment to 50% off days at Dominos, and 2. The exciting announcement that we’re kicking off the Bellwoods Brewery 2019 Homebrew Competition!

It’s been several years since our last (and to this date, only) competition, and now that we’ve had ample time to recover from the garlic and ramen beers, grow our staff ever so slightly (ie, make more judges), and ease some of the production stress, we’re feeling ready to tackle a Brew To The Death Comp 2.0. Our unconventional approach to entry categories and judging will remain, meaning that we don’t need you to adhere to BJCP guidelines and are open to almost any style of beer so long as it’s not oak aged or containing bacteria/wild yeast, and then on the judging side of things, we measure beers on our internal, patented yum factor scale -- an elusive system of measurement that prizes deliciousness above all else. People often assume that big and bold are the true currency in a competition like this, but keep in mind that we’re looking for recipes that aren’t a logistical nightmare to scale up (kiwi seed lager, for example, probably wouldn’t make the cut). Also, we absolutely appreciate refined, nuanced flavours! At the end of the day, we’re looking for a beer that’s balanced, impressive, and showcasing a mastery of brewing skill. It doesn’t matter how many or few ingredients you add -- if it’s a fantastic beer we will recognize that.

Registration is open now (please read all the details below!), beers will be accepted May 23-25, and the judging will take place May 28-30 with an eclectic panel that includes the owners of the brewery, our two head brewers, our Quality Control tasting unit, and a few guest judges. We’ll be moving through three rounds to weed out the weakest links initially, compare strong contenders, and eventually pit our favourites against one another in the final tier. The winning beer and runner up will be announced on May 30th, 2019.

The grand prizes are the main draw, and this year we’re happy to offer two!

First Prize: The opportunity to scale up a winning recipe and assist in recreating it, in as faithful a representation as possible, at our brewpub alongside our Ossington Head Brewer, and Luke Pestl (Co-Founder). The winning beer will be packaged in kegs for local distribution, and bottles for our shops, adorned with a custom Doublenaut label! The winning homebrewer will also get to pour this Bellwoods edition of their beer at Witchstock 2019.

Runner Up: Two Tickets to Witchstock 2019!

Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favour!

Check out the official requirements below for full competition details:

Requirements and Guidelines for Participants:
  • Participants must be 19+, non-professional homebrewers, and residents in Ontario to enter.
  • Participants can register by a) completing an Entry Form here HERE, and b) paying an Entry Fee ($10) HERE, prior to dropping off beer (May 23-25). These initial steps are both completed online. The entry fee, which will be matched by Bellwoods, is payable in our online store (under “Homebrew Competition Entry Fee”) and will go entirely towards the Bellwoods Brewery Award (bursary) at Niagara College Teaching Brewery.
  • Registration links (Entry Form and Fee) are open from now until the last date that bottles can be dropped off (May 25), but we advise registering only when you’re certain which beer you’ll be submitting.
  • We are accepting one entry per participant, and an entry consists of three bottles (at least 325ml) of the same beer.
  • Each bottle must have the participant’s name and bottle number (1 of 3, 2 of 3, etc.) taped to it.
  • Beer will be accepted at 20 Hafis Rd from May 23-25, 2019.
  • Each participant will be required to show government ID that matches the name on their beers.
  • Beers cannot be aged in oak or require long-term aging.
  • Beers must be “clean” (ie. no brett or bacteria).
  • Only beers in the third and final round of judging will receive feedback (via email). 
  • Participants are responsible for transportation to the brewery upon the actual brew date, which will be scheduled this summer.