beer city pro-am

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH.  — The Beer City Brewer’s Guild is hosting the second annual Beer City Pro-Am, a competition that pairs local award-winning homebrewers with microbreweries to create unique recipes to be brewed and shared with the public.

This year’s event brings together 25 of the area’s best homebrewers with Grand Rapids microbreweries. Qualifying homebrewers were selected from the winners of local homebrewing competitions.

“It’s a good chance to connect the homebrewing community and the craft brewing community, because there’s a lot of commonality there,” said Nick Rodammer, co-founder of the event and Pro-Am Committee chair. “It’s also a good chance for local homebrewers to get a little bit of exposure for the quality of the beer they are making.”

Entries will be tapped in participating microbreweries’ taprooms for public enjoyment starting July 30 through August 3.

“I think we have a lot of really interesting releases this year,” Rodammer said. Lagers, ales and a variety of fruit-infused styles make the list, which can be found on the Beer City Brewer’s Guild website.

The beers will be judged by a panel of local, qualified judges based on aroma, appearance, flavor and mouthfeel. The winner will be announced at the Beer City Brewer’s Guild’s annual summer picnic on August 11.

Competing brews will also appear in two tap takeovers. Horrocks Market Tavern will have five Pro-Am entries on tap on August 3 from 5-8 p.m. Logan’s Alley will have 18 of the collaborations on tap from August 10-13, including last year’s winning entry from City Built Brewing Company and homebrewer Paul Arends: Monroe Weiss.

City Built Brewing Company had only recently opened its doors when its collaboration with Arends won last year’s competition. Edwin Collazo, co-founder of City Built Brewing Company, said he was still very involved with the Grand Rapids homebrewing community at the time. Collazo said he can see how maintaining a connection with local homebrewers can benefit the larger brewing community.

beer city pro-am

“How much better will our beer get and how much more innovative will our breweries continue to be because we’re brewing with people who are doing five-gallon batches, reading Zymurgy and other homebrew magazines,” Callazzo said. “[Homebrewers are] super passionate about they do too, so I think the chance to collaborate with them is a great thing for Beer City as a whole.”

And because the Pro-Am competition pairs the best of the best with the professionals, team members have plenty of knowledge to offer.

“It’s truly a collaboration. We really learn from each other,” Rodammer said.

proamArea breweries are teaming up with local award-winning homebrewers to take part in the inaugural Beer City Pro-Am, collaborating on the creation and brewing of original recipes which will go on tap in their respective breweries throughout the Grand Rapids area starting in late July.

The winner will take home the coveted Beer City Pro-Am Cup to be displayed proudly in the award-winning brewery. Every year, both the brewery and the homebrew champion’s name will be etched onto the cup; in subsequent years, the title and cup will be defended.


The Beer City Brewers Guild collaborated with local award-winning homebrewers Nick Rodammer and Jeremy Gavin to create the Pro-Am event this winter, after Rodammer proposed the idea to Guild President Jackson Van Dyke this past January. The group soon found that many brewers were ready to join forces with the homebrewing community almost immediately.

“That 20 different local breweries would so willingly commit to this event in such a short period of time, speaks volumes about the craft beer community we have in Beer City.” explains Rodammer, who also serves as the Pro-Am Committee Chair.

Gavin, who also serves on the Pro-Am Committee says, “By marrying the professional’s technical skill and quality control, and the homebrewer’s free thinking and experimental spirit, the Beer City Brewers Guild Pro-Am is a way to let our brewers, professional and amateur alike, make the best beer they can. Hopefully, everybody involved expands their horizons and learns something from each other.”

Homebrewers who are residents of the Guild’s geographic membership area were able to qualify for the Pro-Am by placing in local homebrewing competitions which were held in the Grand Rapids area over 2016 and early 2017. Once the qualifiers were identified, the breweries and homebrewers were paired by the Beer City Brewers Guild Pro-Am Committee via random draw at a Draft Party on April 30 at Harmony Hall.

Pro-Am beers that are entered into the competition will be featured on tap at each of the participating breweries beginning at the end of July, and will be judged based on aroma, appearance, flavor and mouthfeel by a panel of local, qualified judges in blind rounds of tastings.

“Many people don’t realize just how talented the area’s best homebrewers are, and this event is a great forum to showcase the level of creativity and skill the homebrewing community has to offer.” says Rodammer.

The Beer City Pro-Am Winner will be crowned at the Beer City Brewers Guild Industry Picnic at Long Lake Park, 13747 Krauskopf NE on August 12 at 5 p.m. in the enclosed shelter. Local homebrew clubs will host attendees with 12-taps of homebrewed beer on-site to celebrate the announcement of the Pro-Am winner. The public is welcome to bring their own beer, wine and food to share as well.



Beer City Pro-Am Pairings:

Atwater GR – Jeremy Gavin

BOB’s Brewery – John Applegarth

Bier Distillery – Michael Meadow

Brewery Vivant – Jake Szetela

City Built Brewing Co – Paul Arends

Gravel Bottom Craft Brewing & Supply – John Britt

ELK Brewing – Ken Pitchford

5 Lakes Brewing Co – Chad Bocian

Grand Rapids Brewing Co – Nick Rodammer

Harmony Brewing Co – George Lawlor

Harmony Hall – Kevin Schumacher

HopCat – Nick Kuzera

Hudsonville Pike 51 Brewing Co – Jeff Carlson

Mitten Brewing Co – Eric Nyhof

Osgood Brewing Co – Andrew Brouwers

Railtown Brewing Co – Mark Iacopelli

Rockford Brewing Co – David Beerens

Speciation Artisan Ales – Ric Brown

Thornapple Brewing Co – Rob Schwartz & Bill Katerburg

White Flame Brewing Co – Andrew Baculy



KALAMAZOO – Think your homebrew is a winner? Enter it in the annual Bell’s Homebrew Competition on Sept. 19 at the Kick-Off and Expo event at Bell’s Eccentric Café, and you could find yourself in Denver for the 2016 Great American Beer Festival (GABF).

The first place winner gets to brew his or her recipe at Bell’s original brewery and have it served on tap at the Eccentric Café. The first place winner will also win a free trip to the 2016 GABF in Denver as a guest of Bell’s Brewery with exclusive access to some of the festival’s events.

Bell’s will cover the airfare cost of a round trip to Denver—so long as the winner is within the continental U.S.—as well as lodging for two nights. While the winner is in Denver, he or she will team up with Bell’s for the 2016 Pro-Am Competition, which pairs homebrewers with commercial brewers to compete for top honors. The winner will also attend the awards ceremony and members-only session.

The only requirement of entering the competition is that participants use Bell’s wort in their brew, which they can obtain at Bell’s Homebrew Competition Kick-Off and Expo event on Sept. 19.

The Kick-Off and Expo event will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and sign-up for wort pick-up will start immediately at 11 a.m. and distribution of the wort will start at 1 p.m. Only a limited amount of wort is available, so it will be distributed in a first-come-first-served fashion. In the past years, over 200 individuals have been able to receive wort.

Learn more about the event here and start planning your perfect recipe. Entries are due by Oct. 25 at 7 p.m.