Want to meet the next greatest craft beer monger? Look no further than your neighbor’s closet.
At the Brooklyn Wort amateur home brew championships, hosted by Sycamore Bar and Brooklyn Homebrew, 25 of Brooklyn’s best DIY brewmasters will bottle up thier spoils and compete for suds-soaked glory, and a chance to break into professional brewing.
“The first winner we ever had is now a brewer at Greenport Harbor Brewing Co.,” said Justin Israelson, the owner of Sycamore and founder of the two-year-old bi-annual festival, where amateur brewers showcase their beers for a panel professionals from breweries such as Sixpoint and Kelso.
For the first time, would-be contenders must submit a bottle of beer before Feb. 8 to be considered for one of the 25 coveted slots for the spring contest — a sure fire sign that there’s a vibrant Brooklyn brewing community.
“When we started Brooklyn Wort, we were very surprised to see the community that existed around home-brewing here, and how strong it was,” Israelson said. “Now there are home brew shops popping up on every corner in Brooklyn.”
The competition’s organizers will select the 25 brewers by the end of February — giving the beer men and women two months to perfect a keg of their finest brew for the contest on April 28, where judges and hundreds of paying attendees will sample the goods and vote on a winner.
More than 250 people turned out to sample the suds last year, and to participate in a local tradition that dates back decades.
“Our local brewing history here had such a prolonged interruption after its early hey days faded out, that we are, in a sense, starting over,” said Danielle Cefaro and Benjamin Stutz, the owners of Brooklyn Homebrew. “[But] the popularity of home-brewing has really always been here and ‘stewing’ quietly away.”
Drop off unmarked bottles of home made beer to compete in “Brooklyn Wort” at Sycamore [1118 Cortelyou Rd. between Westminster and E. 11th Street in Ditmas Park (347) 240-5850] and Brooklyn Homebrew [163 Eight St. between Third and Fourth avenues in Gowanus (718) 369-0776] Feb. 1-8. $5 to enter. For more info about the contest, visit www.brooklynwort.com.