Kingston is home to seven breweries, with one on the way this spring and three more only 20 minutes outside of the city. There are also the homebrewers: beer lovers of all ages concocting ales, lagers, stouts, hefeweizens and any number of other styles in their basements, garages, and kitchens. In fact, that’s how King’s Town Beer Company got their start: friends with a passion for making their own beer who decided to take their brews to the commercial level. This spring, King’s Town is hosting the first annual Kingston Homebrew Contest.
“We realized there so are homebrewers here in Kingston,” said Aly Bagshaw, bar manager at King’s Town. “We teamed up with [local brewing supply shop] Homecraft Brew & Wine and [Kingston-based online beer reviewers] Brew Nation and came up with this contest. We really wanted to do something fun, just for the local hobby brewer.”
The contest is relatively straightforward, outside of actually brewing the beer. The beer must be produced non-commercially, you must be at least 19 years old, and you need to provide four 12 – 16 oz bottles for judging. There’s a $10 entry fee, and all proceeds from the contest will go the Happy Soul Project.
“The winner gets bragging rights, and we’ll be able to brew their recipe here at King’s Town,” said Bagshaw. “They also get to have their beer as a featured tap in our tent at the MacKinnon Brothers’ Back to the Farm festival, and a lot of the people we’ve spoken to are really excited about that.”
Judges will have an ambitious task, as there could be as many as 100 beers battling for the title.
“We have 12 beers registered already,” said Bagshaw. “The guys at Brew Nation are pretty excited to get started.”
The brews will be judged on aroma, appearance, taste, and the judges’ overall impression of the beer.
“The theme of the contest is pretty simple and generic for our first time doing this: what does summer taste like to you?” said Bagshaw. “That would eliminate stouts and porters for some, but I expect we may still get some of those, along with lighter lagers and ales and that sort of thing.”
Assuming that all goes well, King’s Town fully intends to turn this contest into an annual event.
“We’ve done some of the typical brewery things like yoga and paint night,” said Bagshaw. “But we wanted to do something different and to get people even more involved. The winner gets to name their beer and keep all the rights, but we’ll help with marketing and the label design.”
Submissions can be dropped off between Saturday, June 15 and Sunday, June 30, and a winner will be chosen in mid-July. Back to the Farm: MacKinnon Brothers Beer and Music Festival takes place on Sunday, August 18 in Bath, ON.