Top homebrewers honored at national conference

Arizona homebrewer Jeremy Voeltz won the coveted Ninkasi Award and Robert Hilferding of Zephyrhills, Fla. was crowned Homebrewer of the Year when the results of the National Homebrew Competition were announced as the conclusion of the National Homebrewers Conference in Grand Rapids, Mich.

More than 2,700 homebrewers attended the conference in “Beer City USA,” listening to presentations from 75 speakers, sharing beers, and compiling wish lists at a trade show that featured a dazzle array of brewing equipment.

More than 200 judges evaluated beers, meads and ciders in Grand Rapids. They advanced from 12 first round judging sites, where 8,172 beers were entered, more than in any other beer competition in the world.

Hilferding won best of show with an entry in the Scottish and Irish ale category. The Meadmaker of the Year award was presented to Matthew Weide of Minneapolis, Minn. for his melomel, and Edward Walkowski from N. Abington Twp., Pa. won Cidermaker of the Year.

New in 2014, the Radegast Club of the Year award was presented to the AHA-registered club that made the most exceptional and positive impact on its local community. The Carolina BrewMasters of Charlotte, N.C. earned that honor by developing close connections with their local community through tremendously successful charitable donations, which amounted to $77,500 in 2013. A total of 25 homebrew clubs were nominated for the Radegast award.

The complete results can be found here (choose 2014 and Final Round).


Stay-at-home dad earns brewing scholarship

A stay-at-home dad is the first recipient of a brewing scholarship established to honor brewing legend Karl Strauss. Karl Strauss Brewing in San Diego estblished the Brewer’s Education fund in 2009. Now it is partnering with the UC San Diego Extension Brewing Program to fund an annual scholarship. “Karl was passionate about education and he believed that brewing was a delicate balance of art and science — and only when you mastered the science could you indulge in the art,” said Karl Strauss brewmaster. “I attended the Brewing Science Program at UC Davis and I am stoked that we can pay it forward by helping others achieve their dreams to be part of our thriving brewing industry.”

Seguar announced Frank Yepiz, Chula Vista resident and lifelong San Diegan, will be the first to use the scholarship. “Frank has an amazing story that immediately resonated with us,” Segura said. “Here’s a guy who wants to make a life change and we have the unique opportunity to make that dream come true.”

A stay-at-home dad to two young daughters, Frank was pursuing his undergraduate degree in physics at UCSD before making the decision to be at home with his girls. Frank stumbled into the world of beer via bread baking — he wanted to provide healthier food for his family and began baking his own bread and eventually propagating his own yeast cultures.

The world of fermentation quickly expanded into homebrewing and Frank knew he wanted to be part of the local craft beer industry. “I heard about the Karl Strauss scholarship on the radio and I applied. I never thought I would actually get it, so I didn’t even tell my wife I applied. I am so grateful and excited to have this amazing opportunity,” Yepiz said.

The company will offer a second brewing scholarship this fall, and a subsequent annual scholarship beginning in 2015. For more information about the Karl Strauss Brewers Education Fund, visit