Every year, over the second weekend in November, the local home brewers come together to take part in the Land of the Muddy Waters Home Brew Competition. This year marked the 22nd year of the event, bringing in brewers from all over the Midwest to take part in one of the oldest running competitions in the country.
The local home brew club, MUGZ (an acronym for Mississippi Unquenchable Grail Zymurgists), organizes and hosts the annual event. It takes in up to 300 entries of beers, meads, and ciders from all over the country. The club also locates judges to decide on the winners. This year there were judges in from Kansas City, Cedar Rapids, and Des Moines.
This year the MUGZ President, Curt Johnson, welcomed the first two rounds into The Boar’s Nest, his man cave where he home brews his beer. Thursday and Friday night judges of all different rankings and certifications paired up to judge several different categories of home crafted beverages.
This is no easy feat, I tell you. I participated in the judging process on Friday evening. It isn’t just a bunch of friends drinking in a friend’s garage; it takes a honed in pallet and the ability to describe what you are tasting. It is important to give participants feedback, so that they may improve upon their process during future brews.
On the third and final day, everyone gathered at the Blue Cat Brew Pub, upstairs, and began again on a Saturday morning at 8am. There is a round of judging, lunch, and then a second round followed by the judging of the “Best In Show” category.
The winner of it all takes home bragging rights, of course, but also a hand-carved, ‘Best In Show’ walnut tap handle. There are also tons of raffle prizes for all those who judged the competition.
This was the first time I had participated in the Land of the Muddy Waters Home Brew Competition. To me, it was fascinating, the see all the things local folk are making as well as how important this competition is to our area. If you are interested in learning more about home brewing in the Quad Cities, read one of previous posts here.