WINONA LAKE — The Kosciusko Kettleheads held their eighth annual Homebrew Fest on Saturday, June 23. The event took place from 6 to 9 p.m. near Cerulean Gardens, Winona Lake.
Purchase of a $25 admission ticket gave patrons the opportunity to taste samples of over 40 locally made beers and ciders. The brews ranged from light, fruit-flavored beer to molasses stout. Net proceeds from the event are donated to Combined Community Services.
“We conceived the idea of a charity homebrew festival in 2011. We knew at that time that there were plenty of beer lovers locally but that they probably didn’t know there were people in their neighborhoods making quality beer in their own homes,” said Kettleheads President Jason Rich. “Cerulean reached out to us and offered to host the first Homebrew Fest. They have been our gracious supporters ever since.”
“As both the Kettleheads and Cerulean are comprised of community-minded people, we decided to charge admission to sample our beers and ciders and donate the net proceeds to charity,” Rich explained “We chose Combined Community Services because they can reach a wide number of people who need financial assistance. Their employees and volunteers also help us greatly on the day of the event.”
“The proceeds go to CCS to help families in need with utilities,” said Combined Community Services Executive Director Stephen Possell. “These guys are great. Their motto is ‘Brew Good, Do Good’ and they do.” It was reported that last year’s event raised approximately $7,400 for CCS’s utility assistance program.
Buckley Watson, who has been creating his own brews for nine years, has participated in all eight of the homebrew fests. “Every beer that I’ve brought here has some type of vegetable or some kind of weirdness in it,” said Watson. “I’m a chef by trade so I do food-forward beers.”
Brian Kincaid described his Funky Monkey brew as, “Kind of tart, a super fruity, light beer – perfect for this time of year.” Kincaid, who has been brewing his own beer for about five years, said he uses a Belgian yeast and ferments at higher temperatures to increase esters and bring out the fruit flavors.
Besides tasting the large selection of beers and ciders, attendees had the opportunity to chat with the local residents who created them, as they asked questions and learned about the processes and flavors of the individual brews. Jars were placed on each brewer’s table so that attendees could vote for their favorite beer using tokens. The winning brewer takes home a traveling trophy.
The winning brew and total funds raised were yet to be determined at the time of publication. An update will be provided at a later time.