Los Banos

Home brew competition back at fair

When the temperatures heat up at the Merced County Spring Fair, lots of folks like to grab a cold one.

But what is the best cold one to grab? A few home brewers will get a chance this year to offer their best for the Home Brew competition.

“That was a combination of several of the staff that thought with the pop of home brews and micro in the area, it would be a good addition,” said Ron Brandt, fair manager. “We had it about 10 years or so ago, and we thought we would bring it back and see how much interest there is.”

Competitors are limited to one entry per class, and classes include light ales (which include pale and blond ales), dark ales, seasonal fruit beers and an “other” category.

Entries will consist of two unlabeled bottles of beer from 10 to 13 ounces, along with a 3-by-5 card filled in with contact information and ingredients.

Of course, all exhibitors must be 21 or older.

Brandt said he’s not sure yet how involved event sponsor Dust Bowl Brewing in Turlock will be, but he’s hoping to talk the staff members into judging entries.

“They haven’t committed to judging themselves, but they were instrumental in getting the training set up,” Brandt said. “There’s quite a bit (of training involved). If we get someone from Dust Bowl Brewing, they know the subtle differences in beer and spend time on their craft.”

Brandt said a general lack of interest led the fair to remove the contest from the lineup more than 10 years ago, but times have changed and home brewing has become more accessible to the general public.

“I think there wasn’t as many people trying to make quality beers and home brews as there are at this time,” he said. “We’re trying to coordinate it to occur with the sausage competition.”