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Home Brewers Dream Come True

David Reuter's Lap Dog Robust Porter won Best in Show at the Besley's Homebrew Competition. Now his recipe is brewing at Mickey Finn's Brewery in Libertyville and will be featured at an event supporting the Save Brainerd Foundation on April 25.

It’s a home brewer’s dream come true to have your recipe brewed by a master brewer at a successful microbrewery, and that is what happened to home brewer David Reuter.

His Lap Dog Robust Porter was named Best in Show at the held during last August. The production batch of Reuter’s “Best of the Fest” beer will be available for purchase at .

A biologist, Reuter found himself in the unique position of having some free time at work. Since he likes to know how things work he began researching the process in which yeast turns sugar into carbondioxide and ethanol, also known as the art of brewing beer.  

“Being able to brew on a large scale and having my beer available on tap was a dream. One of the things I really enjoy about home brewing is having the ability to create something and share it with others. It feels good when they truly enjoy something you have created," said Reuter, who has been brewing beer for seven years. "I’m used to sharing a five-gallon batch, but having the opportunity for so many enjoy this beer is an unbelievable feeling.”

Homebrew Competition Benefits Charity

The goal of the is to shine a spotlight on the efforts of the Save Brainerd Foundation and to spread the word about better beers throughout Lake County.

Organized by Rich Madole, Greg Brown, and the Fred W. Losch Beverage Company, the competition had 46 entries in its first year. Plans are underway for the second annual competition, which will again be held at Brainerd’s Wine, Beer, Cigar and Food Festival scheduled for August 25, 2012. The popular festival features hundreds of wines and craft beers for sampling along with fine cigars, good food and live music.

For brewers interested in entering the second annual competition, Reuter offers some advice.

“Start getting those wonderful recipes together," he said. "What makes this competition unique and fun is that every beer is a contender for best of show in the Besley’s Homebrew Competition. You never know what sort of crazy, yet wonderful, brew some home brewers will come up with.”

Reuter's winning beer will be introduced to the public at Mickey Finn's Amber room, which will host the Best of the Fest event on April 25. The event raises funds for the Save Brainerd Foundation. The $25 ticket includes a glass of the winning porter, hors d’oeuvres and live music by Sagebrush.

$1 Donated for Every Pint Sold

While the Lap Dog Robust Porter lasts, a $1 donation will be made to Save Brainerd for each pint of the winning porter sold.

The Brainerd Foundation’s goal is to restore and renovate the historic Brainerd building, located at the corner of Route 176 and Brainerd Avenue in Libertyville, into a community center for the arts, theatre, education, sports and entertainment. For more information about the Brainerd Community Center visit www.SaveBrainerd.org

The home brew competition was named for William Besley, Lake County’s first successful microbrewer. Established in Waukegan in 1863, Besley’s Waukegan Brewery was well known for it’s porters and ales.

The brewery used water from Waukegan springs, which it claimed contributed to the popular taste and held curative properties.

Prohibition eventually put the brewery out of business. It was not until 1942 that another brewery was attempted in Lake County. Mickey Finn’s was the counties first brewpub in 1993. Greg Brown is the Master Brewer at Mickey Finn’s. 

For more information about this year’s festival and the second annual Besley’s Homebrew Competition, visit: www.NorthShoreWineBeerFest.com

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