By Sarah Corbin
Our community is abuzz about the Microbrew Review last weekend. Over 4,000 people came in from surrounding communities to taste an immense amount of micro brewed beer and some cider.
There is another micro brew event that happens annually in Oak Park that offers a chance to get to know some of your beer loving neighbors in a more casual setting: The Battle of the Brews. This year's Battle happened just a few short weeks ago on Sunday July 27th. The "Battle" offers local home brewers the chance to bring their beer, have it judged by professionals and win the praise and back patting from friends and neighbors: all by contributing to help those in need in Oak Park.
(It is kind of like the ultimate "bake sale" for beer drinkers.)
Here is the backstory:
Three years ago Maria Onesto Moran, owner at Green Home Experts, thought it would be fun to host something to connect homebrewers in the Oak Park area. She also wanted that homegrown event to help support local families in need. She met with folks from the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry, enlisted the help of Kinderhook Tap and the Battle of the Brews was born.
Each year the battle has increased in number. The event has shifted from having food from Kinderhook to having a celebrity food truck on premise. The judges this year were micro brewers in process of opening breweries in the Oak Park area and of course our very own famous Kinderhook Tap owner: Paul Kreiner & Jim Cagle from Noon Whistle Brewing Co., Dustin Adkinson of Kahoots Brewing Club and Chris Withey owner of the Kinderhook Tap. Food was brought by Bridgeport Pasty this year.
Each year the proceeds - everything goes to the Food Pantry. Maria from Green Home Experts doesn't collect any money from the tickets to take care of staffing costs, or the use of her showroom. Chris from Kinderhook donated all of the glasses this year and offered an extra purchased beer option - all of the sales went to the Food Pantry.
Over 20 home brewers from our neighborhood came together at Green Home Experts to showcase their home brew in 2014.Those 20 homebrewers served over 150 people their carefully concocted beers. Many commented how fun it is to participate in a contest with judges who really know beer. In the end though homebrewers and beer drinkers alike are really just there to get to know some new folks and have fun.
With an increased number of homebrewers in our area, a growing Oak Park Homebrewers club, the Battle of the Brews is sure to be a community driven event for many more years to come.