Homebrewers Vie for Long Island Bragging Rights

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Award winners at the BEER Brew-off including Chris Bonacorsa (3rd from left), winner of the Brewers Cup

Long Island’s homebrewing community met up for some friendly competition on Saturday at the 23rd annual BEER Brew-off organized by Brewers East End Revival, Long Island’s oldest homebrew club.

More than 230 entries were judged at Great South Bay Brewery in Bay Shore and awards were presented to winners in 27 categories. In addition to 24 different beer styles, ranging from American IPAs to German Wheat Beers to British and Irish Stouts, homebrewers competed for awards in the cider category and two categories of mead, which is fermented with honey and is growing in popularity on Long Island.

In addition to category winners, awards were presented for the homebrews judged Best of Show, with the 1st Place Best of Show prize going to Gregg Kelley for his Mango Bango mead, the winner in the Spiced/Fruit Mead category. Kelley, who also won two other 1st Place awards (one as a co-brewer with Justin Hansen and Mark Williams) along with a 2nd Place and a 3rd Place award, is currently vice president of Long Island Beer & Malt Enthusiasts (LIBME), another homebrew club based in Suffolk County.

The coveted Brewers Cup award was won by Chris Bonacorsa of the Handgrenades Homebrew Club, based in Nassau County. Bonacorsa’s Saison Ale, which was the winner in the Belgian Saison category, was selected by Larry Goldstein, founder and brewmaster at Spider Bite Beer Co. in Holbrook, to be brewed and served at Spider Bite later this year.

The winner of the Pete Algerio Memorial Award, given to the best stout brewed by a BEER club member, was Bill Ports for his Risky Business Imperial Stout. This award is given annually in memory of the late Pete Algerio, who was a founding member of the BEER club and was a multi-year Brew-off award winner in the stout category.

The award was especially poignant for Ports, who said, “This was a bucket list item for me since I knew Pete well and brewed with him many times.”

Ports will now have his name memorialized on the award’s plaque at Karp’s Hardware and Homebrew Shop in East Northport.

Bernie Kilkelly is the editor and publisher of LIBeerGuide.com.

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