Second Annual Northeast Wisconsin Open Homebrew Competition

Judging Panel. Left to Right: Mike Engel, President-Society of Oshkosh Brewers, Jeff Eaton-Assistant Brewer, Lions Tail Brewing, Ian Wenger-5th Ward Brewing, Oshkosh, WI, Ryan O’Toole, COO-Briess Malt & Ingredients, Alex Wenzel, Founder/Brew Master-Lions Tail Brewing, Ryan Wessley, Product Line Manager Homebrew-Briess Malt & Ingredients, Carl Pierce, Brew Master-Appleton Beer Factory, James Bardeen, Collaborative Pro Brewer and Bobby Fleshman, Brewer/Owner-McFleshmans Public House, Appleton, WI

In March, Briess partnered with a local brewery in Neenah, WI, Lion’s Tail Brewing Co., for their second annual Northeast Wisconsin Open Homebrew Competition (NWOHC). Owner and Head Brewer, Alex Wenzel, began as an avid homebrewer and made his passion into his career, opening Lion’s Tail Brewing Co. in the fall of 2015. Still active in the homebrew community, Alex founded the NWOHC to bring homebrewers together throughout Northeast Wisconsin. For this competition, homebrewers could select any style to enter with the only rule being that it had to contain a minimum of one Briess malt.

2017 Winner (Left) Matt Walker and 2016 Winner (Right) Chris Abel.

The competition had a very strong turnout, with 68 homebrewed beers submitted. There was a wide range of styles spanning across the flavor and aroma wheel. From tropical saisons to extreme barrel aged brews and everything in between. For me, it was a great experience to see how homebrewers incorporated our Briess malts from our base malts all the way up to our unique specialty malts.

The judging panel consisted of several area industry affiliates including: Mike Engel (President-Society of Oshkosh Brewers), Jeff Eaton (Assistant Brewer, Lions Tail Brewing), Ian Wenger (5th Ward Brewing, Oshkosh, WI), Ryan O’Toole (President/COO of Briess), Alex Wenzel (Founder/Brew master-Lions Tail Brewing), Ryan Wessley (Product Line Manager Homebrew, Briess), Carl Pierce (Brew Master-Appleton Beer Factory), James Bardeen (Collaborative Pro Brewer) and Bobby Fleshman (Brewer/Owner-McFleshmans Public House, Appleton, WI).

Picture of the winning medals.

As we worked our way through the 68 beers, we narrowed it down to our top ten favorites. The top ten beers styles ranged from; English Mild, Saison, Imperial Stout, Kentucky Common, Rauchbier, Fruit Wheat, NE IPA, EC IPA, Amber Ale & Brown Ale. The winning beer came from Josh Weber and Matt Walker named “I Would Walk 500 Mild” an English Mild.

“This year for the competition I required home brewers to use at least one malt from Briess in their beer. At Lion’s Tail we use as much Briess malt as possible because we love the consistent quality, great big flavors, and the fact that it’s right in our backyard… so hopefully this collaboration with Briess will allow home brewers to recognize those great qualities. I’m so grateful for the huge response from the homebrewing community, we had 68 entries this year, which nearly doubled from the first competition last year. We saw a lot of Briess specialty malts in the recipes, and I think once homebrew supply stores start carrying more base malts from Briess, the home Brewers will start to enjoy the quality and big flavors as I do.” – Alex Wenzel, Founder/Brew master-Lions Tail Brewing

Overall, it was a very successful and fun event and we appreciated the opportunity to join Alex and his team at Lion’s Tail.



About Ryan Wessley

Ryan WessleyRyan has 12 years of beer industry and wholesale distribution experience acquired during his positions with Leinenkugel’s Brewing Company, Miller Coors, and Anheuser Busch. He previously oversaw the import, craft, and specialty (non-domestic) beer divisions and enhanced portfolios. In addition, he worked with territorial sales representatives to expand their knowledge of product placement, brand optimization, and brewery relations. Ryan is very passionate about the brewing industry and offers a genuine approach to building customer relationships. With expertise in point-of-sale and distribution marketing, Ryan enjoys collaborating with the Briess team to develop outstanding wholesaler experiences, while identifying key opportunities for the homebrew and distributor industries. Be sure to take a look at one of his homebrew recipes in our monthly blog!

Posted in Events, The Briess Beat.
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