Crescent City Homebrewers tapped some kegs during its annual Winterfest


Jackie Galli

Homebrewed beverages on draft wait for tasters to sample them on Jan. 21 during Winterfest at Deutsches Haus. Winterfest is a homebrewing event hosted by the Crescent City Homebrewers Club.

Jackie Galli, Editor in Chief

It’s the End of the Carafe as We Know it, Bow to the Absurd, and Bless Your Heart were just three of the dozens of brews offered at this year’s Winterfest. 

Run by the Crescent City Homebrewers Club, Winterfest is an annual event where homebrewers get together to offer up some of their brews, and tasters get to vote on their favorite. There is also live music and food offered at the event that takes place at Deutsches Haus, right by City Park.

Guy Berch, a former Loyola graduate and a homebrewer, said while he doesn’t think he will ever participate in the event, he did love tasting some beer.

“I’m a small-time, small-batch brewer. I’m not as sophisticated as these guys,” he said.

Neil Barnett, the club’s president, one of the brewmasters, said he has been brewing for over 30 years, and has been a member of the Crescent City Homebrewers Club for almost just as long. 

Barnett entered six beers into the competition. One of his beers, The Golden Dragon, was particularly popular.

“I was in there trying to fix the keg. There was nothing wrong with the keg, it’s actually empty now,” he said. “It was full when I got here so it went pretty quick.”

The Golden Dragon is a saison style beer, which is a type of pale ale that is often known for fruity notes and high-carbonation.

“It’s a real good summertime beer. It was also very strong,” Barnett said. “I try not to make them that strong for the summertime.”

When it comes to how much his hobby costs, Barnett said he doesn’t like to talk about it.

“But if you think about it, if I had to pay for the amount of beer I like to drink, I’m saving money,” he said. 

Eva Biggers, who has been homebrewing for about a year, said a great way to get into the hobby is to attend some Crescent City Homebrewers meetings and see if it interests you. The club meets the first Wednesday of every month.

“Everybody in the club is very nice,” she said. “They’ll give you some help and take you under their wings.”

Biggers entered a mulled wine into the event called Glug, which she said is the Swedish version of mulled wine. 

“It’s a family tradition,” Biggers said. “We get our mixture in Kansas from a little store and we take some tawny port and some vodka and mull it over.”

Biggers’ mulled wine wasn’t the only non-beer drink on draft.

Craig Laginess, the club’s treasurer, said he entered three beverages, one of which being hop water. He said he made his hop water by steeping hops in water and adding freshly squeezed lemon juice. It’s a refreshing, non-alcoholic drink.

Along with various styles of beer, hop water, and wines, there was also a Belgian mead, Sake, and a hard lemonade.

“We do allow people to make hard teas, hard seltzers,” Laginess said. “Whatever they want to make for us, we want to showcase the hobby. There’s many things you can do.”