Fifth-year graduate student, microbiology and immunology
Dog Days of Summer Wit — Whitbier
Ingredients: turbo malt, flaked wheat, flaked oats, coriander and bitter orange peel

Last year, when Aimee Richard entered her beer into The Michigan Daily’s home brew competition, she unknowingly submitted a contaminated batch. It’s pretty safe to say that Richard’s brew was nowhere near the top of the judges’ rankings.

This year, however, Richard made quite the turnaround, taking home top honors for the Daily’s competition with her Belgian Whitbier.

This is the first time Richard, who has been home brewing for about two years, has attempted this style of beer.

“At first, I wasn’t that thrilled with this beer,” Richard wrote on her blog, tharshebrews.com, where she chronicles her home brewing attempts. “I thought it was a bit too sweet, and it wasn’t as carbonated as I’d like.”

Richard brewed the winning batch in the end of July, and the longer the beer sat the better she felt about it

“Over time, I liked it more and more … the carbonation picked up, and it started to taste a bit more balanced,” she wrote.

Richard’s not unaccustomed to receiving accolades for her brewing. Only a few months into the craft, Richard entered a batch into a home brew competition at the Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti, winning first place in her category.

Richard even has distant plans to take her brewing to the next level.

“I can see myself brewing for a long time,” she said. “It would be really nice to at some point retire and open up my own brewery.”

Third-year medicinal chemistry student
Crippler Chinook Rye IPA — American IPA
Ingredients: malted rye, Chinook hops, crystal malts

Bryan Yestrepsky garnered second place in The Michigan Daily’s home brew competition with his American IPA, which he calls the Crippler Chinook Rye IPA.

“With this beer, I knew that I wanted to do an IPA,” he said. “And generally I start with commercial exampled I like and what I would like to see different with them.”

For his inspiration, Yestrepsky look to Founder’s Red Rye.

“I’m a big fan of it and I thought that it might be interesting if I used a little more west coast hop flavors in it,” he said.

Yestrepsky first started brewing his own beer when he entered graduate school at the University two years ago, and while this batch may be a winner, that hasn’t been the case with everything he’s made.

“I’m getting better and better,” he said. “The first couple beers that I brewed were interesting, to say the least. You definitely get a sense for what work and what doesn’t.”

First-year law student
Cascade Fresh-Hop Ale — American Pale Ale
Ingredients: extra-pale extract, Maris Otter malt, carpils, caravienne, wheat white, California ale yeast, dry cascade pellets, fresh Ann Arbor cascade hops

Third place winner Gabe Tabak gained inspiration for his brew, a Cascade Fresh-Hop Ale, when he was out running around Ann Arbor a few weeks after he moved here.

“I saw some hops growing on a fence and I left a note on the owners mailbox saying I wanted to brew a batch (of beer) using the hops,” he said.

Tabak never expected anything to come of the note, but a few days later he received a call from the homeowner inviting him over. Tabak said they shared a glass of beer and then he left with a pound of hops.

This was the first time Tabak had used fresh hops in a batch, so he decided to go with “a pretty basic pale ale recipe.”

“I haven’t brewed any undrinkable batches yet,” he said. “This one is great and I was glad to have it entered in the competition when it was, trying it as fresh as possible is really important to this one, the hops just still had a nice fresh flavor.”

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