BRIDGEPORT — It seems like everyone's got that group of buddies who brew their own beer, and they all swear their suds are second to none.
The winner will have his or her recipe brewed and distributed by Marz Community Brewing, the nascent, small-batch nanobrewery in Bridgeport. The brewery on Friday just passed what's believed to be its last inspection hurdle and will be making its beers available soon.
Though there can only be one winner at the Homebrewer's Ball, "there's nothing to lose," said Tom Piekarz, who heads up sales and marketing for Mash Tun Journal, a craft beer publication that's hosting the event in conjunction with its offshoot beer and food culture club, Mash Tun Society.
"The best way to keep moving forward in homebrewing, the natural evolution and progression of a homebrewer's life, is to get your stuff out there and get good feedback. And one of the best ways to get good feedback is to get into a competition. You've just got to get yourself out there," he said.
Entering the contest is completely free for brewers, but you'll have to be a member of the Mash Tun Society to be admitted to the ball. It's $50 and you can sign up at the door that day, or visit the official website to pre-register.
Competitors are subject to a handful of restrictions — no sours, barrel aging or artificial ingredients — and the Aug. 6 deadline for entries is firm. A total of 25 beers will be accepted initially. After that, there's a waitlist.
The complete set of rules can be viewed here.
The judges panel, comprised of Mash Tun Society members, will choose the winners through a blind tasting. The judging will be led by Mash Tun Journal editor David Kahle, one of the world's only Master Cicerones, a select group of world-class beer experts.
But Piekarz said that's no reason to be intimidated.
The competition will be more of a "culture of community," he said, and not a crazy cutthroat contest.
"It's about really being there for each other. That's why you see so many breweries collaborating and encouraging each other to open another brewery," he said.
And who knows? The next great Chicago-brewed beer might already be in your basement.
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