2018 Hop Idol Winners!

Alex Kuyper Wins Reuben’s Brews Second Annual Hop Idol Homebrew Contest

Competition triples in size in its second year; winning beer will be brewed for Pacific Northwest distribution


SEATTLE, Wash. (March 7, 2018) – Reuben’s Brews has named the 2018 winner of its second annual “Hop Idol” Homebrew Contest: Alex Kuyper. Beating out 116 total entries, Kuyper’s “Dwayne IPA” took home the title. This hazy Northeast style IPA will now be brewed at Reuben’s Brews in Seattle and distributed in Pacific Northwest region.

“This year’s contest was fiercely competitive as our judging panel received amazing home brews from not only Washington and Oregon, but also from as far away as Alabama and Wisconsin,” said Adam Robbings, co-founder and brewmaster. “Alex’s winning creation has a fruit-forward nose with notes of sage, floral, jasmine, a juicy body and balanced bitterness. It will be fun to make this at the brewery alongside Alex and share it with the beer-loving community.”

Hop Idol is a Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) certified homebrew competition. All entries were blind tasted and scored against the BJCP style guidelines, focusing on hoppy styles. The judging panel included BJCP-certified beer judges, Reuben’s team members, some of Reuben’s wholesale customers and representatives from Reuben’s distributors.

In addition to brewing “Dwayne IPA” with the Reuben’s team at their brewery in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, Alex’s beer will be distributed throughout the Northwest and will be entered in the Washington Beer Awards Pro-Am competition as well as the Great American Beer Festival. The distributed brew will available on tap in the Reuben’s taproom and in bottles starting in May.

Second place honors went to Tim Mattran for his “Opposite Saisons”, and third place was taken by the overall winner, Alex Kuyper for his “Carl Double IPA.”

“It takes time, effort and commitment to brew beer and send it out for a contest like this, and we’d like to thank everyone who shared their brews with us,” said Robbings. “This annual contest goes back to how I got started in brewing and it is close to my heart. Homebrewers out there are doing great work and we hope this contest draws some attention to that.”

Bits and Bobs IPA


"Bits and Bobs" is a British phrase which means bits and pieces, which highlights that this beer will be a different IPA every year - a rotating seasonal.  Every year we'll come out with a new recipe, taking everything we learned in the prior 12 months into account and building into a new brew.  Kind of using the "Bits and Bobs" we have around the brewery! It enables us to brew something different every year, to play with new hops and processes, and this exciting focus and energy is conveyed by the brightly colored cans!

2018 Bits and Bobs is a fruity IPA, with overripe fruit notes, and a juicy body. It's in the West Coast IPA style. For Bits and Bobs' inaugural release, we are taking some processes, malt and hop combinations that we first used during 2017.  We aren't using any caramel malt in this beer - we're relying on a predominantly Pale malt bill to provide balance and let the hops shine brightly, with only some Vienna malt providing balancing sweetness.  We are focusing the beer on Azacca, Strata, and Citra hops.  Strata, or X331 as it was originally known, we first used as part of the 3-Way collaboration with Fort George and Great Notion last year, and we immediately loved it. The soft tropical fruit notes from Strata and built upon by Azacca's tropical fruit and citrus, with Citra providing a backbone "punch."  From a process perspective, we are using some whirlpool techniques we first tried out in 2017 to extract more flavor from the hops but while minimizing bitterness.  The bitterness provides balance, but does not overpower.  It wraps up the sip to leave you wanting more.

2018 Bits and Bobs will be available from January to late April, when Summer IPA takes over our seasonal spot. We are excited to share this new beer with you, and we're looking forward to sharing many new IPAs with you as we play with the "Bits and Bobs" we have around the brewery in future years!

Cheers, and here's to a great 2018.


2018 Beer Release Calendar


Is it already time to start thinking about 2018? Yep! Especially when it includes talking about a stellar lineup of beer that we have planned for the Pacific Northwest next year. Always wanting to brew a wide variety of beers for its fans, 2018 is shaping up to be no different. Favorites like the year-round Gose and seasonal Roasted Rye are still featured, with a few new brews in the works (more on that in January!). Highlights include:

  • Bits and Bobs. Spring will see a brand new beer enter the line up this year, and every year in fact! Bits and Bobs will be a rotating seasonal brew, a different beer every year, drawing upon the brewery's learnings from the prior 12 months. 2018 Bits and Bobs will feature a light, crisp malt profile, and will feature a hop that the brewery first experimented with in 2017. More to come in the next few weeks!
  • Imperial Release Series. This series has expanded to six beers, rotating every two months. This means a return to the lineup of the Imperial Rye IPA, one of our first ever IPAs and a much loved favorite. And the Imperial Oatmeal Stout makes a return this winter too!
  • Taproom Release Series. This series enables us to share a broader range of our line up of beers into distribution. A new beer every month will be released in draft (and sometimes package). Highlights include the 2017 Wine Enthusiast Top 25 brew Blimey That's Bitter! and 2018 Hop Idol beer (featuring the brewery's home brew competition winner). 

We're excited to share with you these beers as we say cheers to 2018!

2018 Hop Idol Competition



We’re excited to announce the details of our 2nd Annual “Hop Idol” Homebrew Contest. Deadline for entries is February 12, 2018.

Our inaugural year of our Hop Idol competition was a great success! We had almost 40 beers entered from across the United States – from Seattle, to South Dakota and Maine. And we’re excited to prepare for the 2018 competition.  Earlier this year, Jonathan Cooper, winner of the inaugural Hop Idol, brewed a 30 barrel batch of his IPA with our team. The finished brew was released in the brewery’s taproom and was distributed in draft and bottles throughout the Pacific Northwest. It also put up a great showing at the 2017 Great American Beer Festival!

Homebrewers, you are now called to start working on your hoppy recipe. The Hop Idol winner will get to brew their beer with the Reuben’s Brews team at the brewery in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. The brew will be released at the Reuben’s taproom and distributed throughout the Pacific Northwest. It is also planned to be entered in the Pro-Am category at one of the most prestigious beer competitions in the country – the Great American Beer Festival (GABF).

Hop Idol is a Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) certified homebrew competition. All entries are blind tasted and scored against the BJCP style guidelines. Given our love of hops, we focus our competition on hoppy styles.  You can submit any style – as long as it prominently displays hops!  American IPAs, English IPAs, Northeast Style IPAs, Imperial IPA, Pale Ales, Hoppy Wheat Ales, Triple IPAs - you name it, if it’s hoppy it’s eligible!


-Hop forward brews will be accepted for this competition.  Beers will be judged against the BJCP style guidelines, so please ensure that you have the correct category to ensure fair and reasonable judging.

Please read over the 2015 BJCP category descriptions on the BJCP website.

-Beers must be submitted between Monday February 12, 2018 and Friday February 16, 2018.  Unfortunately we cannot make any exceptions to this time window.

- We anticipate announcing the winner on Wednesday, March 7 (changed from Tuesday, March 6).

-You may submit up to a maximum of 5 different beers.

-There is a $5 entry fee for each beer submitted.  Make checks payable to “Reuben’s Brews LLC” and all entry fees will go to support Seattle Children’s.  Along with the chance to have one of your own beers brewed and distributed, you will also be helping us raise money for Seattle Children’s as we will donate all entry fees to Seattle Children’s.

-Each Homebrewer must fill out one BJCP Recipe Form for each submission.

-You must send at least three (3) bottles of each beer, 12oz or larger.

-Each beer must have a BJCP Bottle ID filled out and taped to it. These can be downloaded here.

-Bottles should be carefully packaged and either hand delivered or shipped to our Taproom:

Hop Idol Homebrew Contest
Reuben’s Brews, LLC
5010 14th Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107

- Please note that it is illegal to ship alcoholic beverages via the U.S. Postal Services.  Private shipping carrier’s rules and regulations concerning the shipment of beer or alcoholic beverages may vary.  We strongly encourage you to check with your shipping carrier prior to shipping your entry.  It is solely the entrant’s responsibility to follow all applicable laws and regulations. 

-The beers will be kept in our cold room until time of contest.

-You must be an AHA member at the time of this competition and throughout 2018 to qualify for this competition. If you are not a member, head here to join.

-Please enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope with your submission if you’d like to receive you scores sheets back. Your score sheets will be returned to you in a timely manner via USPS. 

- Any questions please reach out to Liz@ReubensBrews.com.


- Reuben’s Brews will work with the homebrewer to take the winning recipe and reproduce, as faithfully as possible to the original recipe, on a professional scale. We will invite the homebrewer to help brew the inaugural commercial batch of the winning recipe at our brewery in Seattle, Washington and we will help with travel expenses if you live a long way from Seattle!

- The winning homebrewer will receive a one-time royalty of $250.00 assuming the beer is brought to market.

- The winning beer will be released, packaged and distributed throughout the Pacific Northwest in May 2018.

- We anticipate entering the 2018 Hop Idol winning brew in both the Washington Beer Awards and the Great American Beer Festival.

- Prizes will also be awarded to first, second and third placed beers in the competition under a best of show format.  We’ll be awarding Reuben’s merchandise as prizes.


Eligibility and legal stuff:

This home brew contest is open to non-professional home brewers who are members of the AHA, are 21 years of age or older at the time of entry, and who are legal residents of the United States. All entries must not be brewed at a place that brews beverages for commercial purposes, whether for commercial research, production or any other purpose, including brewpubs and other brew-on-premises establishments or is brewed for commercial sale.  Employees of Reuben’s Brews or its distributors are not eligible.  Entrants must list all persons responsible for creation of each brew.  Eligibility is subject to all federal, state and local laws and regulations.  Entries that do not meet all requirements herein will be automatically disqualified. All beers and bottles submitted will become the property of Reuben’s Brews and will not be returned.  Entries must not (a) violate any third party rights, including, but not limited to, copyrights, trademark rights, or rights of privacy and publicity; or (b) be obscene or indecent. Any elements that appear in the submission, including, without limitation, images, text, or other materials used must be entirely original and created by the entrant, or be in the public domain. Use of any elements that are not original or in the public domain will result in disqualification of a submission, in the Reuben’s sole discretion.

By submitting a brew entry, entrant represents that (a) entrant is the creator of the brew, (b) entrant owns all rights to the brew, and (c) the brew does not infringe upon or violate the intellectual property, privacy, or other rights of any third party.

 Judging: All entries will be judged by a panel comprised of Reuben’s Brews associates (the "Judges"). Beers will be judged in accordance with BJCP guidelines. The decision of the Judges or Reuben’s, as applicable, shall be final and legally binding.

Reuben’s Use of Brews: Reuben’s Brews, at its sole discretion, may use the winning home brew recipe for production and sale to the general market. Also, at Reuben’s Brews sole discretion, Reuben’s Brews may enter the winning home-brew recipe and product in other beer contests including, but not limited to the Great American Beer Festival Pro-Am Competition. The winning homebrewer will receive a one-time royalty of $250.00. The winning homebrewer (and any co-brewer(s)) agree to fully assign any and all patent and intellectual property rights in the winner’s brew to Reuben’s Brews, if requested.  The winning homebrewer must disclose the complete winning recipe to Reuben’s Brews, and grant to Reuben’s Brews an irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free license to all commercial and intellectual property rights to the winning beer, subject only to the winner’s right to receive the $250.00 one-time royalty. If a time can be mutually arranged between Reuben’s Brews and the winning homebrewer, Reuben’s Brews may in its sole discretion arrange for round trip transportation and accommodation from within the U.S. to Seattle, WA to assist with brewing the winning batch.  In such event, the value of all travel, accommodations and related expenses shall not exceed $1,000.00. All taxes on prize, royalty and travel are the responsibility the winning homebrewer.

By entering the contest, entrants permit Reuben’s Brews to use their respective recipe, the recipe name, entrant’s name, likeness, picture, signature, voice, audio and video recordings and biographical information in any manner or media whatsoever (whether now known or hereafter devised) anywhere in the world in perpetuity for the purpose of manufacturing, promoting, advertising and trade, of any product by Reuben’s Brews without further compensation, unless prohibited by law. Reuben’s Brews may withhold payment if it determines that the winner has behaved in a manner that is substantial and damaging to the contest or to home brewing. Entrants are responsible for accurately following all entry requirements. Reuben’s Brews reserves the right to change these rules in order to, in its sole discretion, secure the proper administration of the contest.

Miscellaneous:  All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply. Nothing herein shall constitute an employment, joint venture, or partnership relationship between entrant and Reuben’s Brews. In no way is entrant to be construed as the agent or to be acting as the agent of Reuben’s Brews.

If any provision of these official rules is found to be unlawful, void, or for any reason unenforceable, then that provision shall be deemed severable from these official rules and shall not affect the validity and enforceability of any remaining provisions.

Except where prohibited, entrant agrees that: (1) any and all disputes, claims and causes of action arising out of or connected with this contest or any prize awarded shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, and exclusively by a federal or state court located in the state of Washington any and all claims, judgments and awards shall be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs incurred, including costs associated with entering this contest, but in no event attorneys' fees; and (3) under no circumstances will entrant be permitted to obtain awards for, and entrant hereby waives all rights to claim, indirect, punitive, incidental and consequential damages and any other damages, other than for actual out-of-pocket expenses, and any and all rights to have damages multiplied or otherwise increased.

All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these official rules, or the rights and obligations of the entrant and Sponsor in connection with the contest, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of the State of Washington, U.S.A., without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules (whether of the State of Washington or any other jurisdiction), which would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than the State of Washington.