Local Distiller Awarded Iowa Homebrewer of the Year Print
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Ryan Burchett   
Wednesday, 08 January 2014 13:04

Le Claire, Iowa, January 8, 2014 – While he distills whiskey for a living, Mississippi River Distilling Company’s distiller Scot Schaar is big into fermenting brew at home as well.  Schaar was recently honored as the 2013 Iowa Homebrewer of the Year.



To be eligible for this distinction, a homebrewer must enter and place in three of four competitions throughout the year in the state.  The competitions are held all over Iowa with 26 different categories and sub categories.  Each entry in the various categories earns points.  Schaar entered multiple brews in each competition.


Schaar was also honored as the runner up in the 2013 Midwest Homebrewer of the Year (MWHBOY) competition.  This competition encompasses 13 Midwest states and 15 competitions throughout the year.  Points are accumulated by winning first, second or third place in any of the homebrew competitions in the MWHBOY Circuit.  A brewer's accumulated points are multiplied by his winning percentage (his ratio of medals to entries) to calculate his net score, upon which the competition's rankings are based.  In 2013, Schaar medaled with 26 of his entries.


“I’ve been entering competitions for 10 years, a little more serious in the last three to four years and then sending samples out to farther competitions,” Schaar says.  “The competitions really help with brewing by reading the judges’ feedback as well as talking to other homebrewers and hearing other techniques.  Craft beer has gotten huge in the past five to ten years.  My equipment and craft has also grown over that time starting with just a pot on the kitchen stove to now having a fairly extensive system in my garage.”


In addition to entering homebrew competitions, Schaar also judges similar homebrew competitions.  He says judging is another good way to expand your palate and learn things to incorporate into his own beers.


Schaar has one more prestigious competition to go.  He has two beers qualified for the Master’s Championship of Amateur Brewing competition (MCAB).  This is an annual national championship competition for homebrewers.  Brewers qualify for this event by competing in various qualifying events.  Placing first in any MCAB recognized category qualifies the entrant for admission into the MCAB championship competition, known as a “champions’ championship” in the homebrew circuit.


Schaar started at Mississippi River Distilling Company in October 2012.  He had watched the business from the ground up and often helped during bottling nights and other events.  His knowledge of brewing naturally translated into distilling.  “His brewing background has been a huge asset to Scot and to our company.”  said owner Ryan Burchett.  “Until it goes into the still, making whiskey is a brewing process.  So we’ve definitely learned from him. He has a real passion that shows in his beers and in the spirits he makes here.  We’re really excited that he is getting some formal recognition for it.”

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