Winners of Bell’s 5th Annual Homebrew Competition announced

The winners of the 5th Annual Bell’s Homebrew Competition were announced yesterday during the 6th Annual All Stouts Day at Bell’s Eccentric Café, 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave., in downtown Kalamazoo.

Twelve homebrewers placed out of the 162 entries that were submitted for this year’s competition.

Matt VanNatter took first place with his California Common style beer brewed with coffee.

He will get to brew his recipe at Bell’s original brewery to then go on tap at the adjacent Café. He will also head to the 2015 Great American Beer Festival in Denver as a guest of Bell’s and compete alongside a Bell’s brewer in the Pro-Am Competition (both prizes are new this year). 

Judges were again impressed with the quality of the beers this year, said David Curtis, Bell’s General Store Manager and competition organizer.

“There was a lot of experimentation like in past years but overall, very solid beers,” he said.

Second place went to Teri Grossman for her Pale Ale brewed with mango and habanero. Third place went to Laurie Newman for her Belgian Dubbel brewed with oranges.

Also placing in the top six are (in order) Dawn Updike (hoppy Pale Ale), Lauren David (Cherry Beer) and Kevin Cole (Amber/Brown Ale).

This year’s runners up are:

Patrick Kean – IPA

Tony Cafarelli – American Pale Ale

Vaughn Vargo-Alevras – Berliner Weisse with Michigan Tart Cherries

Mike McCoy – Brown Ale with Blueberries

Dave Lyman – India Brown Ale

Jay VanBuskirk – Double IPA

More information about when VanNatter’s winning recipe will be tapped at the Café will be released as it becomes available. Judges' comments are available at the Bell's General Store.


Bell's Brewery, Inc. began in 1985 with a quest for better beer and a 15 gallon soup kettle. Since then, we've grown into a regional craft brewery that employs more than 290 people over a 20 state area, in addition to Puerto Rico and Washington DC. The dedication to brewing flavorful, unfiltered, quality craft beers that started in 1985 is still with us today. We currently brew over 20 beers for distribution as well as many other small batch beers that are served at our pub in Kalamazoo, the Eccentric Cafe. Our ongoing goal is to brew thoughtfully, creatively and artistically. We strive to bring an authentic and pleasant experience to all of our customers through our unique ales and beers. For more information, please visit