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7th annual JBLM Brewfest

The art of homebrewing

Northwest Guardian

Published: 12:25PM February 2nd, 2017

If You Go

What: The 7th annual JBLM Brewfest

When: Feb 10. at 4:30 p.m.

Where: The Club at McChord Field

Why: Event includes food, raffles, live music, 30 professional breweries and more than 200 homebrewers

Cost: $15; age 21 an older

For many, the Feb. 10 Brewfest at the Club on McChord Field is a fun chance to get out, sample some beer and kick off their weekend. While that is probably true for many of the attendees expected to attend the seventh annual event at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, it’s also a chance to learn more about the practice of crafting beer— more than just a hobby for some.

“It is more like a passion for some of the homebrewers,” said Master Sgt. Doug Fielding of 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and one of the homebrew competition organizers. “If you’re a craft brew fan and want to create on that level, going to events like this pushes you to want to improve as much as possible.”

While Brewfest, which starts at 4:30 p.m., features live music, 30 professional breweries, raffles and food for $15 per ticket, one of its best assets is the more than 200 homebrewers who will be at the event. Each homebrewer has a unique and infectious passion toward beer and is looking forward to speaking with attendees about the intricacies of brewing.

“It’s a great way to come out and see that the beer industry is more than just beer,” said Colin Brooks, special events coordinator for JBLM’s Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation. “It’s a craft that people take really seriously. It’s a great way to get introduced to all the craft beers around the Northwest.”

Visitors will also be able to be a part of the celebration for the homebrewing competition. The top-three finishers in the competition will be announced on Friday and awarded medals, and one will be named best in show. There will also be a Commander’s Cup award for the best-rated homebrew made by a service member. Judging will be conducted by people who completed the Beer Judge Certification Program.

For many homebrewers, the event also marks a special chance to focus on networking with established breweries. Many of them will bring their own homebrews to solicit advice and critiques from the professionals. They will also be offering samples to those in attendance to learn more about what the average beer drinker thinks of their concoction.

Finally, if all the beer talks piques your interest in craft brewing, the Homebrewers of the Puget Sound and Impaling Alers will have booths to speak with people about joining the homebrewing scene.

“We want to spread that infectious attitude about nice craft beer,” Fielding said. “We want to try and educate people about beer, even if they weren’t expecting to learn about it.”