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Locals get a taste of ice-cold homebrews

Mike Winnie judges an array of beers during the festival. (click for larger version)

Homebrew spectators raise their glasses to the winners. Photos by Mary Keck (click for larger version)
August 22, 2012 - Brewers from all over Michigan faced off at the Third Annual Michigan Homebrew Festival, and the competition was fierce with over 800 beers entered into the contest.

From pale ales to creamy stouts, Davisburg resident Mike Winnie had his work cut out for him as a judge of the best of the best beers at the Michigan Homebrew Festival that took place August 16 -19 at the Groveland Oaks Campground in Holly.

Brews including pilsners, saisons, and porters along with brown, red, and blond ales were judged based on several criteria including aroma, appearance, flavor, and "mouth feel that matches the style," said Winnie.

While judging a beer contest may sound like fun, Winnie, who is a Grand Master Judge, assures he takes his role in the competition very seriously. He's been a certified beer judge since 1997 and brews his own beer at home. In fact, one of Winnie's meads won best of show at the Homebrew festival. Winnie knew he was in the running when he wasn't allowed to judge the best of show portion of the contest, but was pleasantly surprised to find his mead was so popular.

Although he brews several varieties, Winnie's favorite style of beer is India Pale Ale (IPA). When judging, he gives higher scores to IPAs with a "fresh, prominent American style hops" aroma and a "good size white head" once the beer is poured. Winnie says he also looks for a "citrusy, piney hop flavor along with a good malt backbone" in the flavor of an IPA.

Those who came out to the Michigan Homebrew Festival weren't only offered beer. A competition for the best soda pop was held as well as a French toast cook-off. Kids had an opportunity to learn how to craft their own soda, and patrons could enter into 50/50 drawings for a chance to win a variety of prizes.

While there was a lot to do at the Homebrew fest, most who attended were there to try beer. "Few things are as refreshing as an ice cold beer," said Mike Winnie. Check www.mhfsite.com for more information.

Clarkston News reporter
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