Area breweries are teaming up with local award-winning homebrewers to take part in the inaugural Beer City Pro-Am, collaborating on the creation and brewing of original recipes which will go on tap in their respective breweries throughout the Grand Rapids area starting in late July.
The winner will take home the coveted Beer City Pro-Am Cup to be displayed proudly in the award-winning brewery. Every year, both the brewery and the homebrew champion’s name will be etched onto the cup; in subsequent years, the title and cup will be defended.
The Beer City Brewers Guild collaborated with local award-winning homebrewers Nick Rodammer and Jeremy Gavin to create the Pro-Am event this winter, after Rodammer proposed the idea to Guild President Jackson Van Dyke this past January. The group soon found that many brewers were ready to join forces with the homebrewing community almost immediately.
“That 20 different local breweries would so willingly commit to this event in such a short period of time, speaks volumes about the craft beer community we have in Beer City.” explains Rodammer, who also serves as the Pro-Am Committee Chair.
Gavin, who also serves on the Pro-Am Committee says, “By marrying the professional’s technical skill and quality control, and the homebrewer’s free thinking and experimental spirit, the Beer City Brewers Guild Pro-Am is a way to let our brewers, professional and amateur alike, make the best beer they can. Hopefully, everybody involved expands their horizons and learns something from each other.”
Homebrewers who are residents of the Guild’s geographic membership area were able to qualify for the Pro-Am by placing in local homebrewing competitions which were held in the Grand Rapids area over 2016 and early 2017. Once the qualifiers were identified, the breweries and homebrewers were paired by the Beer City Brewers Guild Pro-Am Committee via random draw at a Draft Party on April 30 at Harmony Hall.
Pro-Am beers that are entered into the competition will be featured on tap at each of the participating breweries beginning at the end of July, and will be judged based on aroma, appearance, flavor and mouthfeel by a panel of local, qualified judges in blind rounds of tastings.
“Many people don’t realize just how talented the area’s best homebrewers are, and this event is a great forum to showcase the level of creativity and skill the homebrewing community has to offer.” says Rodammer.
The Beer City Pro-Am Winner will be crowned at the Beer City Brewers Guild Industry Picnic at Long Lake Park, 13747 Krauskopf NE on August 12 at 5 p.m. in the enclosed shelter. Local homebrew clubs will host attendees with 12-taps of homebrewed beer on-site to celebrate the announcement of the Pro-Am winner. The public is welcome to bring their own beer, wine and food to share as well.