Cedar Rapids Homebrew Festival offers taste of rare and unavailable beers

Cedar Rapids Homebrew Festival
Cedar Rapids’ Beer Nuts homebrew club will bring brewers from around Iowa to share their beers this Saturday. — photo by Adam Barhan

Homebrewers from across Iowa will offer samples of their one-of-a-kind, homemade beers this Saturday, Sept. 27 from 1-5 p.m. at the Cedar Rapids Homebrew Festival taking place at Benz Beverage Depot (501 7th Ave SE, Cedar Rapids).

The event is hosted by Beer Nuts, a homebrew club based in Cedar Rapids, and nearly 80 different beers made by members of homebrewing clubs from around Iowa will be available for tasting. Beer Nuts president Tim Sines said many different styles will be represented, including the sour ales that he said are especially “sexy” and in vogue right now. Homebrewed cider and possibly mead will also be available. The festival will also include live music, food vendors and soda sampling.

Sines said that Homebrew Festival is different from events that focus on commercial breweries and that feature many beers found on retail shelves. As one of only a handful of homebrew-only festivals in the country, the Homebrew Festival offers beers only the brewer and a few friends may have had the privilege to try.

“I can guarantee you have not had all of our beers,” Sines wrote by e-mail.

Sines said the festival is perfect for anyone curious about homebrewing. Not only is it a great opportunity to meet and talk to brewers, educational displays and reference material will be available. Joe Williams from BIY Homebrew Supply will also be on hand to offer his wealth of homebrewing knowledge.

“If you are thinking about homebrewing and you come to the festival, there is a better than fair chance you will walk out with a shopping list and recipes in your head,” Sines said. “This is the beer festival you can pour at next year.”

Pours will be limited to two ounces, which Sines said is not “stingy.” “We want the festival-goers to really sample the beer, and if you are getting half pint pours, you cannot really do that,” he said.

Proceeds from the festival will benefit Pints for Prostates, a grassroots health campaign founded in 2008 by beer writer and prostate cancer survivor Rick Lyke. Pints for Prostates uses the universal language of beer to raise awareness about the importance of regular health screenings and early detection by making appearances at beer events, social networking and pro bono advertising.

Tickets can be purchased online or in person at Benz Beverage Depot, BIY Homebrew Supply in Marion and North Liberty, or by contacting the Cedar Rapids Beer Nuts at Admission is $20 in advance and $25 on the day of the event. Attendance is limited to 750 people.

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