December 3, 2008
And three cheers for his beers


Appetizers sends its congratulations to Mike Mraz, an El Dorado Hills resident who was recently named as the Sierra Nevada California Homebrewer of the Year. You pretty much have to be a hero of hops to win this award. This title goes to the homebrewer with the highest point total after competing in three beer competitions: the California State Fair, the California State Homebrewing Competition and the Maltose Falcons Mayfaire. After all the suds were sipped at these competitions and the points were totaled, our man Mike Mraz emerged as "homebrewer of the year."

"You can't brew just one good beer," says Mraz about what it takes to win this title. "There's about 23 different categories that you have to be sufficient with. You need a variety of pale ale, IPA and Belgian specialties. But the one beer that did me the best is the pale ale. Some are too sweet, so I added some more of a hops presence and kept it more balanced."

Mraz has only been brewing for two years and crafts these winning beers when he's not working as a financial planner. These beers are made in 20 gallon batches, and sometimes brewed in his backyard. The bad news for most of us is Mraz isn't allowed to sell his beers, so they're mostly given away to some very lucky family and friends.

The prize booty for this homebrewer award includes $500 and an opportunity to brew a batch of beer at Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico. The bragging rights, however, are priceless.

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