Homebrewers who brew lagers are used to waiting. The styles often reward patience. But after three years between full-fledged Lagerpalooza events due to COVID-19 concerns, even the most patient of brewers and beer drinkers are ready to enjoy clean, crisp lagers among friends.
This year, organizers are putting the palooza back in Lagerpalooza, says Kelly Schaefer, marketing director for Bohemian Brewery.
The two-part event — a lager-specific homebrew competition and a craft beer festival — returns in full force for the first time since 2019 (the homebrew competition took place in 2020, and the entire event was called off in 2021).
Bohemian Brewery, one of Utah’s original lager-focused breweries, hosts the event and will be serving its beers.
Also scheduled to be on-site: Bewilder Brewing, Grid City Beer Works, Hopkins Brewing, Red Rock Brewery, T.F. Brewing, and Wasatch Brewery.
“It’s cool when brewers and breweries can put on beer events for the brewing community,” Schaefer says. “I think this has an organic, homespun feel to it. It’s for and by the brewing community.”
- The Craft Pub Runners group is organizing a 5K race (details) at 1 p.m. that starts and finishes at Bohemian Brewery
- Beehive Sports is hosting a cornhole tournament
- Enjoy music, courtesy of KUAA 99.9 FM
- Johnny the Balloon Guy will dazzle children and adults alike with intricate balloon animal creations
- Sweet Vinyl Bakeshop is baking a special Cherny Bock Chocolate Mocha cupcake — the first 100 attendees get one for free!
- Photo Collective Studios will offer a photo booth to help you preserve memories of the event
- Homebrew clubs such as the Hop Bombshells and Lauter Day Brewers will be on-hand to promote the hobby of homebrewing
🎙 Listen: Lagerpalooza
BONUS: Subscribe to the Utah Beer News Podcast and listen to our interview with Cody McKendrick, co-owner of Salt City Brew Supply and Bewilder Brewing; Kelly Schaefer, marketing director at Bohemian Brewery; Sasha Taddie, brewer at Bohemian Brewery; and Chaz Smith, homebrewer who brewed Nala’s Nectar — the 2020 Lagerpalooza Best in Show winner. Get a glimpse into perhaps the country’s premier lager-specific homebrew competition and festival.Listen Now
Lagerpalooza Special Release: Nala’s Nectar
Chaz Smith, a well-known local homebrewer, earned the Lagerpalooza Best of Show title in 2020 with Nala’s Nectar. He got the opportunity to help Bohemian brewer Sasha Taddie brew the beer on Bohemian’s system. The result is a draft and 12-ounce canned product available at Lagerpalooza on May 7.
“It’s very exciting, and it’s a very strange beer,” Smith says. ” It doesn’t have any basis of a classic style. It’s kind of an obscure grain bill.”
Nevertheless, it made an impression on judges.
“There’s a soft honey character,” says McKendrick, who judged the beer in 2020. “It’s a beer you could drink a gallon of if you were so inclined next to the swimming pool.”
And, looking back, it was a clear choice for Best of Show.
“Every one of us that were judging had one stand out to us, both in its quality and how unique it was,” McKendrick noted in 2020. “Right off the bat, we all picked No. 1, and that was Chaz’s Honey Lager.”
And now, a year later than planned (COVID-19 canceled Lagerpalooza in 2021), craft beer enthusiasts will be able to taste Nala’s Nectar. Even more, proceeds from the sale of the beer benefit Animal Care of Davis County.
A Resource for Homebrewers
Salt City Brew Supply, a competition coordinator for Lagerpalooza, opened shop in 2011. A few years later, it saw an opportunity to promote the hobby of homebrewing. The competition regularly receives 200+ entries across various lager styles from brewers nationwide.
“It’s a showcase for homebrewers to see what they’ve learned and apply it to a specific beer style,” SCBS co-owner McKendrick says. “At homebrew shops, the No. 1 thing is to help customers make better beer. And the better beer that customers make, the more they’re excited about it, the more they’ll want to come back and brew. We always want to try and promote homebrewing and help our customers make better beer.”
The entry window has closed for this year’s Lagerpalooza. But it’s never too early to plan a brew for next year. Who knows? Maybe you could be Utah’s next homebrewer-turned–commercial–brewer.
“It’s a great resource for homebrewers to get feedback,” says Taddie, a previous Lagerpalooza Best of Show winner and now a brewer at Bohemian. “The first time I entered Lagerpalooza, I got some feedback that keyed me into some issues I had…”
“From there, it was pure dominance,” adds McKendrick.
If You Go:
- WHEN: Saturday, May 7, 12-6 p.m.
- WHERE: Bohemian Brewery, 94 E. Fort Union Blvd., Midvale, UT 84047
- WHAT: The 7th Lagerpalooza is a pro-am homebrew competition and outdoor beer festival. It returns after a COVID-19 hiatus. The 2020 Best of Show beer — Nala’s Nectar by Chaz Smith — will be available. Lagers from Bohemian Brewery, as well as from a variety of other local breweries, will be available for purchase.
- NOTABLE: A portion of the Best of Show beer sales will be donated to the Animal Care of Davis County. Lagerpalooza is generally held in conjunction with Big Brew and National Homebrew Day.
- MORE INFO: The lager homebrew competition is closed, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had the day of. Visit the Lagerpalooza Facebook Page for additional details.