Some 3,000 homebrewers and beer enthusiasts gathered at the Baltimore Convention Center for the National Homebrewers Conference, which for the first year ever went by its new name: Homebrew Con. Hosted by the American Homebrewers Association (AHA), the conference — a three-day extravaganza of homebrewing culture and community — culminated with the AHA National Homebrew Competition, the world’s largest beer competition.
Recognizing the most outstanding homemade beer, mead and cider produced by homebrewers worldwide, this year’s competition saw 7,962 entries from 3,396 homebrewers located in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and 13 other countries. The final round of competition took place at the National Homebrewers Conference, where 1,074 entries were evaluated by some of the top beer judges in the country. Over its 38-year history, the National Homebrew Competition has evaluated 126,873 brews. The first competition, held in 1979 in Boulder, Colo., judged 34 beers.
This year’s winners include Nick Corona of San Marcos, Calif., who earned the Homebrewer of the Year Award with his Weissbier; Jeff Carlson of Grand Rapids, Mich., who won the Cidermaker of the Year Award; and Steve Fletty of Falcon Heights, Minn., who received the Meadmaker of the Year Award. QUAFF (Quality Ales and Fermentation Fraternity) of Carlsbad, Calif., won the NHC Homebrew Club award, and Derrick Flippin of Rural Hall, N.C., won the Ninkasi Award as the competition’s winningest brewer.
A complete list of 2016 National Homebrew Competition winners can be found here.
“This year’s Homebrew Con was a great success, and we look forward to hosting many more,” said Gary Glass, director, American Homebrewers Association. “As the hobby of homebrewing continues to grow and reach new heights, each year Homebrew Con and the National Homebrew Competition — which is the pinnacle event for homebrewers from around the world to showcase their prized brews — bring the community together so we can all keep learning from and inspiring each other.”
The conference also offered attendees the opportunity to hone their homebrewing skills by learning from a variety of expert speakers and attending a number of educational seminars. Attendees were also able to enjoy a series of events where they sampled each other’s brews and commercial craft beers. The Homebrew Expo & Social Club, Keynote Address & Welcome Toast and Club Night were opportunities for participants to try craft beers and meads from homebrew clubs and breweries nationwide, while brewing up new friendships with their fellow hobbyists.
In 2017, homebrewers will meet in Minneapolis from June 15-17 for the 39th rendition of the event.