Saison wins 2017 Bell’s Homebrew Competition, right to be brewed at brewery

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Kalamazoo homebrewer takes first place at 2017 Bell’s Homebrew Competition

(Comstock, MI) – The winners of Bell’s Brewery 8th Annual Homebrew Competition were announced during this year’s 9th Annual All Stouts Day at the Eccentric Café on Sunday.

Six homebrewers placed out of the 136 entries submitted this year.

First place went to Steve Vroegop of Kalamazoo for his Saison brewed with Damson plums and New Zealand Rakau hops.

Vroegop will brew his recipe at Bell’s original brewery to then go on tap at the adjacent Café. He will also head to the 2018 Great American Beer Festival in Denver as a guest of Bell’s and compete alongside a Bell’s brewer in the Pro-Am Competition.

“This year’s competition brought plenty of experimentation and interesting ingredient choices, said David Curtis, Bell’s General Store Operations Manager and competition organizer. There was also a strong representation of New England style IPAs, Belgian beers and sour beers.”
Second place went to Ryan Schippers for his Northeast IPA.

Third place went to James Weber for his ale brewed with Indiana plums.

This year’s runners up are (in no particular order):

· Patrick Coonan – Belgian-style dubbel with blueberries

· David Fulkerson – New England IPA

· Ben Hoff – Ale brewed with cilantro, lime and tomatillos

“This competition is an incredibly important part of how we support the homebrew community here in our hometown and beyond, said Laura Bell, Bell’s CEO. From ingredients, to equipment to advice, our General Store team is continuing a legacy started even before we were a brewery. It is incredible to see the enthusiasm and passion for this craft is so many.”

Look for more information about when this year’s winning recipe will be tapped at the Café as soon as it is available online at and on Bell’s social media.

Follow Bell’s on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram.

Cheers and congratulations to everyone!

2016: Freedom of Peach, a hoppy saison brewed with peaches from Evan Monroe
2015: Bale So Hard, a farmhouse ale brewed with HBC 438 and Mosaic hops, from David Hellen
2014: Coffee Mustache, a California common style beer brewed with coffee, from Matt VanNatter
2013: Proud Mitten, a dry hopped IPA/pale ale made with Centennial, Citra and Simcoe hops, from David Lyman
2012: Manden Med Leen, a black IPA brewed with Belgian yeast, from Nick Rodammer
2011: A Bit of Heat from Geoff Groff, brewed with paradise seeds, rose hips and habaneros
2010: Oscar’s Folly, a collaborative IPA from Jarrett Cupp, Bailey Cupp and Paul Gentz


Bell’s Brewery, Inc. began in 1985 with a quest for better beer and a 15 gallon soup kettle. Since then, we’ve grown into a regional craft brewery that employs more than 500 people over a 32 state area, in addition to Puerto Rico and Washington DC. The dedication to brewing flavorful, unfiltered, quality craft beers that started in 1985 is still with us today. We currently brew over 20 beers for distribution as well as many other small batch beers that are served at our pub in Kalamazoo, the Eccentric Cafe. Our ongoing goal is to brew thoughtfully, creatively and artistically. 100% family-owned and independent, we strive to bring an authentic and pleasant experience to all of our customers through our unique ales and lagers. For more information, please visit

You can also follow Bell’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Untappd.


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