Lagerpalooza 2019: Winning Lagers Recognized at Annual Festival

Mike Millen

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.

A Baltic Porter, the 2018 Lagerpalooza Best of Show winner brewed by Curt McCuistion. Attendees at the 5th Annual Lagerpalooza event on May 5, 2019, were the first to try the packaged beer.
A Baltic Porter, the 2018 Lagerpalooza Best of Show winner brewed by Curt McCuistion. Attendees at the 5th Annual Lagerpalooza event on May 5, 2019, were the first to try the packaged beer.

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.

Lagerpalooza Festival

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.

Chaz Smith picks up some hardware at the 5th Annual Lagerpalooza homebrew competition on May 5, 2019.
Chaz Smith picks up some hardware at the 5th Annual Lagerpalooza homebrew competition on May 5, 2019.

Guests at the all-ages event also enjoyed munching on brats and pretzels, while chatting with friends and listening to music.

Winning Ways

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

PlaceBrewerEntry NameStyleClub
1stChristopher RobinsonStay-Put DoppelbockDoppelbock
2ndSasha TaddieBeachside LagerInternational Pale Lager
3rdSasha TaddieSmoky SummerRauchbier

Winning Entries

Table 1: T1: 1a/1b US Light Lager (inc Pre Pro) (11 entries)

PlaceBrewerEntry NameStyleClub
1stChaz SmithBeerAmerican Light LagerLauter Day Brewers
2ndSasha TaddieAmericanaAmerican Lager
3rdLandon JefferyThe Real DillyAmerican Light LagerO-Town Hop Heads

Table 2: T2: 1c Cream Ale (9 entries)

PlaceBrewerEntry NameStyleClub
1stLandon JefferyI Just Creamed My…Cream AleO-Town Hop Heads
2ndSasha TaddieEsselsee Cream AleCream Ale
3rdAaron WoodCream AleCream AleO-Town Hop Heads

Table 3: T3: 2a International Pale Lager (10 entries)

PlaceBrewerEntry NameStyleClub
1stSasha TaddieBeachside LagerInternational Pale Lager
2ndSteve MorganAlsgaard Lager. DanishInternational Pale LagerCentral Oregon Homebrewing Organization (COHO)
3rdDave AndersonYogi BerraInternational Pale LagerDave Dave Brewing

Table 4: T4: 3a/3b Czech Pale and Premium Pale (15 entries)

PlaceBrewerEntry NameStyleClub
1stTed MartinezScorby, CzechCzech Premium Pale LagerMalheur Mashers
2ndZachary BellesChef Tony’s Knife SetCzech Premium Pale LagerLauter Day Brewers
3rdZachary BellesNoble QueenCzech Pale LagerLauter Day Brewers

Table 5: T5: 4a/5a Helles and Leightbier (11 entries)

PlaceBrewerEntry NameStyleClub
1stZachary BellesBelles HellesMunich HellesLauter Day Brewers
2ndRyan HooblerEin PrositMunich Helles
3rdRyan HuntHoney do List HellesMunich Helles

Table 6: T6: 5b Kolsch (10 entries)

PlaceBrewerEntry NameStyleClub
1stBrandon BesserKolschKolschSouth Austin Area Zymurgists (SAAZ) [TX]
2ndLandon JefferyKöld DrinkKolschO-Town Hop Heads
3rdRyan HuntUtk – Utah KolschKolsch

Table 7: T7: 5D German Pils (13 entries)

PlaceBrewerEntry NameStyleClub
1stPhil CammaranoPhilsnerGerman Pils
2ndBrian McKrayPils Me To the BoneGerman PilsLauter Day Brewers
3rdZachary BellesHooked On PilsGerman PilsLauter Day Brewers

Table 8: T8: 2b/3c International/Czech Amber Lager (9 entries)

PlaceBrewerEntry NameStyleClub
1stLandon JefferyCrazy RedheadCzech Amber LagerO-Town Hop Heads
2ndBrian CostelloAmber 2.0Czech Amber LagerMetro South Homebrew League (MASH HOLES) [South Weymouth, MA]
3rdPat WinslowAmber WavesCzech Amber LagerO-Town Hop Heads

Table 9: T9: 6A Marzen (13 entries)

PlaceBrewerEntry NameStyleClub
1stDaniel StrawnStrawnfestMarzenMalheur Mashers
2ndTroy GinesMarzenMarzen
3rdJared Fuller1892Marzen

Table 10: T10: 7a Vienna Lager (7 entries)

PlaceBrewerEntry NameStyleClub
1stPhil CammaranoAntonVienna Lager
2ndJeff BalchMein ShaftVienna Lager
3rdLandon JefferyDo You Kiss Your Mom With That Mouth?Vienna LagerO-Town Hop Heads

Table 11: T11: 8b/2c/3d Dark Lagers (13 entries)

PlaceBrewerEntry NameStyleClub
1stAdam HolmesPantry PorterCzech Dark LagerO-Town Hop Heads
2ndChaz SmithBlack BierSchwarzbierLauter Day Brewers
3rdLandon JefferyI See Your Schwarz Is As Big As Mine!SchwarzbierO-Town Hop Heads

Table 12: T12: 4b/4c/5c Strong Pale Lagers (11 entries)

PlaceBrewerEntry NameStyleClub
1stZachary BellesCarolina MustacheGerman ExportbierLauter Day Brewers
2ndRyan HuntTo Helles and BockHelles Bock
3rdLandon JefferyBest In The West Fest BierFestbierO-Town Hop Heads

Table 13: T13: 6c/8a Dark Malty Lagers (7 entries)

PlaceBrewerEntry NameStyleClub
1stBill KutlesaDunkle Your HeadDunkels Bock
2ndBrandon SimsMunich DunkelMunich Dunkel
3rdRoss MetzgerBock Bock He’s My FriendDunkels BockLauter Day Brewers

Table 14: T14: Amber Bitter Euro (Keller/Alt) (7 entries)

PlaceBrewerEntry NameStyleClub
1stAndrew StarsiakDusse Dussel AltAltbierMetro South Homebrew League (MASH HOLES) [South Weymouth, MA]
2ndChaz SmithStellarKellerbierLauter Day Brewers
3rdSasha TaddieKeller FestKellerbier

Table 15: T15: 19B/27a6 Common Beers (6 entries)

PlaceBrewerEntry NameStyleClub
1stLandon JefferyUncommonly CommonCalifornia CommonO-Town Hop Heads
2ndDave AndersonConsolationCalifornia CommonDave Dave Brewing
3rdLinsey KunzlerEasy Morning RebelKentucky CommonHop Bombshells

Table 16: T16: 9A Doppelbock (9 entries)

PlaceBrewerEntry NameStyleClub
1stChristopher RobinsonStay-Put DoppelbockDoppelbock
2ndAndrew StarsiakThick ScoopsDoppelbockMetro South Homebrew League (MASH HOLES) [South Weymouth, MA]
3rdAaron WoodDopplebockDoppelbockO-Town Hop Heads

Table 17: T17: 9c Baltic Porter (7 entries)

PlaceBrewerEntry NameStyleClub
1stLandon JefferyThe MacHineBaltic PorterO-Town Hop Heads
2ndCorey HaaseBaldrBaltic PorterLauter Day Brewers
3rdCurt McCuistionBabushkaBaltic PorterO-Town Hop Heads

Table 18: T18: Smoked Lager (Rauchbier) (7 entries)

PlaceBrewerEntry NameStyleClub
1stSasha TaddieSmoky SummerRauchbier
2ndSasha TaddieAmber SmokeClassic Style Smoked Beer
3rdAaron WoodRauchbierRauchbierO-Town Hop Heads

Table 19: T19: 21B IPL (5 entries)

PlaceBrewerEntry NameStyleClub
1stLinsey KunzlerBelow the LineSpecialty IPAHop Bombshells
2ndJeff BalchHefe’s Hoppy EndingSpecialty IPA
3rdZakary SingletonInternational Private LaundererSpecialty IPAO-Town Hop Heads

Table 20: T20: Lagers of Randomness (BDG/fruit/veg/wood/mixed/experimental/alternative) (14 entries)

PlaceBrewerEntry NameStyleClub
1stJason SandersSlide Ridge LagerAlternative Sugar Beer
2ndSasha TaddieKiwi PilsExperimental Beer
3rdDave AndersonEn GardeBiere de GardeDave Dave Brewing

Results tables from the 5th Annual Lagerpalooza courtesy of Salt City Brew Supply.

Photos courtesy of Mike Millen.