Round 1 of the Top Brewer MN will take place in October 2012 at 4 different restaurants. Each week, 6 brewers will compete to win over your taste buds and your votes, in the hope of moving on to the finals!

Each week competition is limited to a maximum of 200 judges.  To become a judge or steward: GET TICKETS TO JUDGE


Thursday, October 11th at the Groveland Tap

Jeff Halvorson

Jeff is the President of the St.Paul Homebrewers Club and organizer of multiple statewide craft beer events.  He brews best with Matt Hungtington, who will be helping him craft the recipe.

Steve Fletty

Long-time member of the St. Paul Homebrewers club and Founder  of the Upper Mississippi Mash-Out Homebrew Competition. Has won MN State Fair best of show beer and is the AHA Meadmaker of the year.

Randy Clay

Randy has been brewing great American and British Ales since his first Christmas homebrewing set from 1998. A St. Paul homebrewers club member since 2007 and Silver Medal winner of national competitions.

Tony Kutzke

For the last 7 years, brewing has been Tony’s passion.  Since starting the Primary Fermenters club, Tony has become a nationally acclaimed BJCP Judge and organizer of the MN State Fair Homebrewer competition.

Michael Agnew

With over 10 years of brewing experience, Gold Medals, national titles, and BJCP Judging experience, Michael is going to a force in this week’s event. He specializes in Pilsner and Rye beers.

Matt Wallace & Trevor Wirtanen

This powerhouse duo have been at it for only 2 years, but boast over 50 finished and well-received brews, with new ones each week.


Thursday, October 18th at the Edina Grill

Mark Shotick

Part of the MN Homebrewers Association and Brewing Event Judge, Mark & Co. specialize in American Wheats and Porter beers. Come down and see how they stack up!

Gera Exire LaTour

An active member of the MN Home Brewers Association and National BJCP judge and class organizer for nearly 10 years.  Gera has organized a ridiculous number of  events over the years and one of the experienced competitors.

Rick Oftel

What started as a hobby is now a 16-year strong passion.  Part of several local home brewing clubs, and previous MHBA president and event host, Rick specializes in “eclectic” beers, pale ales, and lagers.

Patrick Curme

Patrick was able to combine his love for his fiance with his love for beer.  This duo-brew team have been going at it day and night ever since (brewing that is:)  They are well known for their fruity beers and IPA’s

Evan Duncan

Although Evan has only been brewing for 18 months, he’s got over 20 batches under his belt and specializes in Light Lagers and Amber beers (which, hint: is going to be perfect for this event!)

Micheal Walsh

Michael has been homebrewing since 2006 and has hundreds of batches under his belt. He especially enjoys brewing fruit beers and english style bitters. A gold medal winner at the 2011 National Homebrew Competition in the Spice/Herb/Vegtable Category.


Thursday, October 25th at the Groveland Tap

Curt and Kathy Stock

Members of the Saint Paul Homebrew club, Curt and Kathy have been brewing together since 1996, put out 100’s of batches, and have been entering and winning competitions since 1997.

Chris Smith

Chris started brewing in 1996 with kits and switched to all-grain in 2005. President of the MHBA for 2 years, BJCP Judge for 7 (at master rank) and staff member at Northern Brewer.

Charles Kavalski

What began as 3 friends brewing at Vine Park in St. Paul turned in to an all-grain 2-3/month batch production in his home where he’s perfected mash, sparge, and other techniques.

Nick Pederson

We like Nick (dankbrewing blog)  for his focus on using local ingredients and his love for drinking his brews. Founder of the Nordeast Brewers Alliance, and master IPA brewer.

Kyle Sisco

Kyle has over 6 years experience in brewing, and puts a focus on the chemistry. As an active member of the Primary Fermenters of MN he has won multiple Minnesota State Fair titles and specializes in Irish Reds.

Randall McPherson

Randall has turned a hobby in to a near obsession, getting his brother, neighbors, wife… anyone that will join him in his quest to make the perfect beer!


Thursday, November 1st at 3 Squares Restaurant

Steve Piatz

Steve may be the favorite this week, but he’s got some competition! As a BJCP Grandmaster, MHBA, and SPHBC and multiple-award winner, he knows his stuff.  That, and he’s been doing it since High School:)

Neil Bromenshenkel

17 Years of experience and over 50 competition medals under his belt. An all-grain brewer using customized gear out of his house with close friends. We’re excited to have Neil in this one!

Dave & Brandon Gartamaker

Years ago, Dave started brewing at Vine Park Brewing Co. and liked it, moving from mash to full grain. Dave brews with his son Brandon and their St. Paul Beer Fest entry won 1st place! A true father – son brewing team.

Ted Weidman

Ted’s looking for his confidence and ability to change a recipe on the fly (with success) to carry him through this qualifier. Over 3 years experience and custom gear, we’re confident he’ll make something nice.

Sean Kampshoff

7 total years experience (5 doing All-Grain), long-time NCH, MHBA, and BJCP member… Oh, and we should mention he holds over 50 medals/ribbons over those years.

Dan Herman

We’re looking to try Dan’s “Hopped up Red” or whatever else he works on! Recipes he started in AZ have been perfected in MN.  With over 4 years of experience, we’re excited to see him bring it!