The 5th Annual Lagerpalooza featured nearly 200 entries in 20 categories. Organizers say it could be one of the nation’s largest lager-only homebrew competitions.
Christopher Robinson earned the Best of Show title with his Stay-Put Doppelbock at Sunday’s awards ceremony held at Bohemian Brewery.
Sasha Taddie, who’s no stranger to Best of Show honors, placed two beers in the top three of all entries. He previously brewed a Pre-Prohibition Lager that won the top prize at the 2017 Lagerpalooza competition. At the 2019 edition, he took home plenty of hardware.
Each beer that wins Gold in a sub-category is eligible to vie for Best of Show honors. The competition featured about 70 entries from out of state.
This year, attendees at the accompanying outdoor festival were the first to taste last year’s Best of Show winner.
It’s a Baltic Porter brewed by Curt McCuistion. He worked with Bohemian Brewery last August to turn his homebrew into a 7.3% ABV commercial beer packaged in 12-ounce cans.
“To see homebrewers get recognized like this is quite a thrill,” says McCuistion, who’s homebrewed for about 20 years.
While he’s earned many Golds in his homebrewing career, last year’s Best of Show was his first best-of-the-best. The experience brewing at Bohemian is something he won’t soon forget.
“It was such a neat experience,” he says. “I would like to thank all the great folks at the Bohemian for their kindness, generosity, and excellent brewing skills!”
Listen to Cody McKendrick and Ross Metzger, Lagerpalooza competition organizers, discuss the event, their homebrew shop, and more on the Utah Beer News Podcast.
Bohemian Brewery, the Midvale brewery known for brewing lagers, turned its parking lot into a lager-lovers dream on Sunday. The outdoor festival featured lagers from Bohemian, as well as guest taps from Hoppers Grill & Brewing, Hopkins Brewing Co., and Wasatch Brewery.
Guests at the all-ages event also enjoyed munching on brats and pretzels, while chatting with friends and listening to music.
Zach Belles, a well-known local homebrewer, earned two golds, a silver, and two bronze medals at the 2019 Lagerpalooza. He’s a fan of lagers, which are generally more difficult to brew than are ales. He began brewing various styles of lagers about a year ago.
“I wanted to make beers I could drink that were more refreshing,” he says. “Lagers are really the most difficult to make. It showcases the process a lot. Plus I’m a German guy, so I kind of wanted to get back to my roots. My great-grandfathers were drinking German Pilsners.”
Despite certain trends taking the craft beer world by storm, Belles believes there’s always a place for lagers.
“In the beer world everything is so cyclical,” he says. “There’s all these new trends, but every once in a while people come back to lagers. You can’t drink three IPAs in a row and blow your palate. Sometimes you just need a crisp, clean beer.”
Landon Jeffery, who’s in line to brew at Ogden River Brewing when it opens its doors, won 10 medals at the 5th Annual Lagerpalooza, including four golds. He also took home the unofficial Utah Beer News award for best beer names (see the tables below).
“I’m just happy to come out and test my mettle,” he says. “It’s a great time with great people and great beer. It’s unique and special for Utah to have a competition like this.”
Lagerpalooza Gives Back
A portion of proceeds from the sales of Baltic Porter, last year’s Best of Show winner, benefits the National Alliance on Mental Illness. McCuistion got to choose which charitable organization to support. It’s one near to McCuistion’s heart. His mother passed away in February from breast cancer.
However, as McCuistion said in prepared remarks, “breast cancer was the disease that stopped my mother’s heart, but it was not what killed her.” Mental illness “stole my mother’s life from her.”
“I would encourage each of you to reach out to your friends and offer your support,” he says.
Best of Show
|1st||Christopher Robinson||Stay-Put Doppelbock||Doppelbock|
|2nd||Sasha Taddie||Beachside Lager||International Pale Lager|
|3rd||Sasha Taddie||Smoky Summer||Rauchbier|
Table 1: T1: 1a/1b US Light Lager (inc Pre Pro) (11 entries)
|1st||Chaz Smith||Beer||American Light Lager||Lauter Day Brewers|
|2nd||Sasha Taddie||Americana||American Lager|
|3rd||Landon Jeffery||The Real Dilly||American Light Lager||O-Town Hop Heads|
Table 2: T2: 1c Cream Ale (9 entries)
|1st||Landon Jeffery||I Just Creamed My…||Cream Ale||O-Town Hop Heads|
|2nd||Sasha Taddie||Esselsee Cream Ale||Cream Ale|
|3rd||Aaron Wood||Cream Ale||Cream Ale||O-Town Hop Heads|
Table 3: T3: 2a International Pale Lager (10 entries)
|1st||Sasha Taddie||Beachside Lager||International Pale Lager|
|2nd||Steve Morgan||Alsgaard Lager. Danish||International Pale Lager||Central Oregon Homebrewing Organization (COHO)|
|3rd||Dave Anderson||Yogi Berra||International Pale Lager||Dave Dave Brewing|
Table 4: T4: 3a/3b Czech Pale and Premium Pale (15 entries)
|1st||Ted Martinez||Scorby, Czech||Czech Premium Pale Lager||Malheur Mashers|
|2nd||Zachary Belles||Chef Tony’s Knife Set||Czech Premium Pale Lager||Lauter Day Brewers|
|3rd||Zachary Belles||Noble Queen||Czech Pale Lager||Lauter Day Brewers|
Table 5: T5: 4a/5a Helles and Leightbier (11 entries)
|1st||Zachary Belles||Belles Helles||Munich Helles||Lauter Day Brewers|
|2nd||Ryan Hoobler||Ein Prosit||Munich Helles|
|3rd||Ryan Hunt||Honey do List Helles||Munich Helles|
Table 6: T6: 5b Kolsch (10 entries)
|1st||Brandon Besser||Kolsch||Kolsch||South Austin Area Zymurgists (SAAZ) [TX]|
|2nd||Landon Jeffery||Köld Drink||Kolsch||O-Town Hop Heads|
|3rd||Ryan Hunt||Utk – Utah Kolsch||Kolsch|
Table 7: T7: 5D German Pils (13 entries)
|1st||Phil Cammarano||Philsner||German Pils|
|2nd||Brian McKray||Pils Me To the Bone||German Pils||Lauter Day Brewers|
|3rd||Zachary Belles||Hooked On Pils||German Pils||Lauter Day Brewers|
Table 8: T8: 2b/3c International/Czech Amber Lager (9 entries)
|1st||Landon Jeffery||Crazy Redhead||Czech Amber Lager||O-Town Hop Heads|
|2nd||Brian Costello||Amber 2.0||Czech Amber Lager||Metro South Homebrew League (MASH HOLES) [South Weymouth, MA]|
|3rd||Pat Winslow||Amber Waves||Czech Amber Lager||O-Town Hop Heads|
Table 9: T9: 6A Marzen (13 entries)
|1st||Daniel Strawn||Strawnfest||Marzen||Malheur Mashers|
Table 10: T10: 7a Vienna Lager (7 entries)
|1st||Phil Cammarano||Anton||Vienna Lager|
|2nd||Jeff Balch||Mein Shaft||Vienna Lager|
|3rd||Landon Jeffery||Do You Kiss Your Mom With That Mouth?||Vienna Lager||O-Town Hop Heads|
Table 11: T11: 8b/2c/3d Dark Lagers (13 entries)
|1st||Adam Holmes||Pantry Porter||Czech Dark Lager||O-Town Hop Heads|
|2nd||Chaz Smith||Black Bier||Schwarzbier||Lauter Day Brewers|
|3rd||Landon Jeffery||I See Your Schwarz Is As Big As Mine!||Schwarzbier||O-Town Hop Heads|
Table 12: T12: 4b/4c/5c Strong Pale Lagers (11 entries)
|1st||Zachary Belles||Carolina Mustache||German Exportbier||Lauter Day Brewers|
|2nd||Ryan Hunt||To Helles and Bock||Helles Bock|
|3rd||Landon Jeffery||Best In The West Fest Bier||Festbier||O-Town Hop Heads|
Table 13: T13: 6c/8a Dark Malty Lagers (7 entries)
|1st||Bill Kutlesa||Dunkle Your Head||Dunkels Bock|
|2nd||Brandon Sims||Munich Dunkel||Munich Dunkel|
|3rd||Ross Metzger||Bock Bock He’s My Friend||Dunkels Bock||Lauter Day Brewers|
Table 14: T14: Amber Bitter Euro (Keller/Alt) (7 entries)
|1st||Andrew Starsiak||Dusse Dussel Alt||Altbier||Metro South Homebrew League (MASH HOLES) [South Weymouth, MA]|
|2nd||Chaz Smith||Stellar||Kellerbier||Lauter Day Brewers|
|3rd||Sasha Taddie||Keller Fest||Kellerbier|
Table 15: T15: 19B/27a6 Common Beers (6 entries)
|1st||Landon Jeffery||Uncommonly Common||California Common||O-Town Hop Heads|
|2nd||Dave Anderson||Consolation||California Common||Dave Dave Brewing|
|3rd||Linsey Kunzler||Easy Morning Rebel||Kentucky Common||Hop Bombshells|
Table 16: T16: 9A Doppelbock (9 entries)
|1st||Christopher Robinson||Stay-Put Doppelbock||Doppelbock|
|2nd||Andrew Starsiak||Thick Scoops||Doppelbock||Metro South Homebrew League (MASH HOLES) [South Weymouth, MA]|
|3rd||Aaron Wood||Dopplebock||Doppelbock||O-Town Hop Heads|
Table 17: T17: 9c Baltic Porter (7 entries)
|1st||Landon Jeffery||The MacHine||Baltic Porter||O-Town Hop Heads|
|2nd||Corey Haase||Baldr||Baltic Porter||Lauter Day Brewers|
|3rd||Curt McCuistion||Babushka||Baltic Porter||O-Town Hop Heads|
Table 18: T18: Smoked Lager (Rauchbier) (7 entries)
|1st||Sasha Taddie||Smoky Summer||Rauchbier|
|2nd||Sasha Taddie||Amber Smoke||Classic Style Smoked Beer|
|3rd||Aaron Wood||Rauchbier||Rauchbier||O-Town Hop Heads|
Table 19: T19: 21B IPL (5 entries)
|1st||Linsey Kunzler||Below the Line||Specialty IPA||Hop Bombshells|
|2nd||Jeff Balch||Hefe’s Hoppy Ending||Specialty IPA|
|3rd||Zakary Singleton||International Private Launderer||Specialty IPA||O-Town Hop Heads|
Table 20: T20: Lagers of Randomness (BDG/fruit/veg/wood/mixed/experimental/alternative) (14 entries)
|1st||Jason Sanders||Slide Ridge Lager||Alternative Sugar Beer|
|2nd||Sasha Taddie||Kiwi Pils||Experimental Beer|
|3rd||Dave Anderson||En Garde||Biere de Garde||Dave Dave Brewing|
Results tables from the 5th Annual Lagerpalooza courtesy of Salt City Brew Supply.
Photos courtesy of Mike Millen.