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Weekend Pass

Homebrew brouhaha

It’s time to test your favorite homebrew against the best of the Northwest

Northwest Guardian

Published: 01:54PM February 14th, 2013
Homebrew brouhaha

Scott Hansen/Northwest Guardian

Kate Trent pours a glass of Irish Red Eye for Joseph Palomo, left, of Lakewood. Also pictured is Pistol Belt Brewing Co. brewer Aaron Mead and Katherine McPeak, right.

With the largest concentration of microbreweries in the nation, the Pacific Northwest embraces the culture of making your own beer.

That tradition continues as local microbrewers and homebrewers compete for the best-tasting beer at the Fifth Annual Joint Base Lewis-McChord Brewfest Feb. 22, from 4:30 to 9 p.m. at the McChord Club and Community Center.

The cost of the tasting event is $10 and includes beer samples, food pairings, raffles and live music. The event is sanctioned by the American Homebrewers Association and the Beer Judge Certification Program. The Homebrewers of Parkland and Spanaway will be judging the competition, pairing representatives from their organizations with volunteer service member judges.

“Our aim is to bring awareness to what homebrewing is about and what goes into it,” said Colin Brooks, McChord Club and Community Center activities specialist. “It’s not just about the end product — it’s also about the individual creativity that goes into it and the celebration of the process.”

In the 1980s, with homebrewing finally made legal, craft breweries began springing up from Portland, Ore., to Yakima, Wash., in small and large cities. Now, throughout Washington, Oregon, Montana and Idaho, there are 1,300 microbreweries. According to Washington State Brewers Guild and Brewers Association, the Pacific Northwest approaches Germany’s and England’s number of breweries per capita.

Many of those breweries will be represented at Brewfest, including Rogue Ales and Spirits, Elysian, Alaskan and Powerhouse, in addition to many homebrewers who will provide tastings of their own homemade beer creations. Winning brews receive medals. There is also a Commander’s Cup category for the best homebrew by an active-duty service member.

The event is expected to draw around 500 people. Attendees must be 21; IDs will be checked. Airmen Against Drunk Driving and Better Opportunities for Single Service members will provide transportation for those who need a ride home.

For information, including rules and entry forms, check out the Brewfest page at or call the McChord Club and Community Center at 982-0718.

If you go

What: Brewfest

Where: JBLM McChord Club and Community Center

When: Feb. 22 from 4:30 to 9 p.m.

Cost: $10

Drop-off locations:

The following locations are available for drop-off entries until 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15. There is a $5 fee for each entry (cash or check). The event registration form can be found at

McChord Club and Community Center, Bldg. 700, Barnes Blvd, McChord Field, 982-0718.

The Beer Essentials, 2624 S. 112th St., No. E-1, Lakewood, 581-4288.

Mash, 2714 N. 21st St., Tacoma, 759-4908.

Larry’s Brewing Supply, 7405 S. 212th St., Suite 103, Kent.