Home brewers group plays host to annual tasting event

Rich Courtemanche (left) and Bo Martin work on one of the processing steps for the Lazy Boy brown ale at Block North Brew Pub last week. Both will be at the Brew Fest in Aitkin Sept. 11.

At the heart of Sept. 11’s Harvest Moon Brew Fest are the hosts – a group of homebrewers that come up with their brews on an idea, a recipe – and as Bo Martin puts it, “a lot of trial and error.”

Martin and Rich Courtemache, one of the founding members of the Glacial Lake Home Brewers, were in the basement of the Block North Brew Pub Friday morning, set to the task of making one of the restaurant’s regular brews, the Lazy Boy brown ale.

But both will be at the Brew Fest – Courtemanche as a member of the home brewers (who are host to the event) and Martin as a member of  Roundhouse Brewery out of Nisswa.

Courtemanche explained that the Glacial Lakes Home Brewers started as an idea eight years ago – or rather, the idea of sharing ideas ... and tastings.

“It started with a few people from the land department,” Courtemanche explained. “We started inviting anyone who makes home brew.”

Courtemanche was one of the original land department members who helped start the group. So was Mark Jacobs, the former land commissioner.

“His wife owned the Beanery, so it was an easy place to meet,” Courtmanche said.

From there, the group grew. There are currently about 30 members on the group’s mailing list. About 12, Courtmanche explained, are active brewers.

The club is loosely organized, and free. They meet quarterly for tastings – one of which is Brew Fest.

“You don’t have to be a brewer to be a member,” Courtmanche said.

While Glacial Lakes Home Brewers will play host to the event, they won’t be the only brewing club coming. Blue Ox has been invited, as well as the club out of Grand Rapids.

When you add in the commercial brewers that will be at Brew Fest, there will be a wide variety of beers to sample.

“We try to bring a decent variety of what we have,” Courtemanche said. “We try to go all across the spectrum.”

That includes beers from light to dark, and from malty to hoppy. There will also be VIP samples available for those who buy the special ticket.

Courtemanche said that not only is he looking forward to the Brew Fest, but to the community it will bring together.

“In my eyes, it’s a wonderful community event,” he said. “It centers around beer, but it mostly centers around community.”

The Harvest Moon Brew Fest will run from 3-6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in downtown Aitkin.

This year’s event will also include tastings from:

• 14 Lakes Brewing, Crosslake

• Beerclub Brewing, Mora

• Big Axe Brewing Company, Nisswa

• Block North Brew Pub, Aitkin

• Cuyuna Brewing Company, Crosby

• Duluth Cider, Duluth

• Earth Rider Brewery, Superior, Wisconsin

• Jack Pine Brewery, Baxter

• Klockow Brewing Company, Grand Rapids

• Lake of the Woods Brewing Co., Warroad

• Lupulin Brewing, Big Lake

• Moose Lake Brewing Co., Moose Lake

• Roundhouse Brewery, Nisswa

• Snarky Loon Brewing Company, Jenkins

• Surly Brewing Company, Minneapolis

• Ursa Minor Brewing, Duluth

New this year, the event will also offer samples and cocktails from Little Round Still and Canción Tequila. Plus, Blue Ox Brewers Society, a brew club from Brainerd, will serve their home brews.

All tickets are online at www.eventbrite.com/e/2021-harvest- moon-brew-fest-tickets-157969616375.

Tickets can also be purchased at these Aitkin businesses: Block North Brew Pub, Security State Bank and Aitkin Municipal Liquor Store.

Proceeds from the Harvest Moon Brew Fest will go to two local organizations that benefit the Aitkin community:

• Aitkin County Friends of the Arts – This group is raising money to offer classes in several art forms for all ages and to provide performing arts in the Butler Building.

• Aitkin Community Parks and Recreation – This group is raising money to improve the city park, add a field house/community room, purchase new playground equipment and more.

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