The largest homebrew competition in Whatcom County recently took place, and on Sunday, Aug. 2, the winners were announced at the Best of the Bay Awards Ceremony and Homebrew Festival, which was graciously hosted by Boundary Bay Brewery.

The Best of the Bay Homebrew Competition (BOTB) is run by the Bellingham Homebrewers Guild (BHG), a local homebrew club.


At this year’s event, 25 judges evaluated 185 beer entries from 55 homebrewers. Gold, silver and bronze awards were assigned to 19 different beer style categories. The competition was open to anyone, but nearly 30 percent of the entries came from local, BHG brewers. It was the largest local participation to date, and local brewers did rather well by taking home 16 medals.

“BOTB was a great opportunity to support the club and congratulate the homebrewers that managed to brew beer good enough to take home coveted gold, silver and bronze awards,” says Todd Quessenberry, BOTB competition coordinator and BHG president. “I’d like to thank everyone who donated time to judge, steward, sort bottles, set up the awards ceremony, donate prizes, etc. I’d also like to specifically call out Neal Tognazzini (judge coordinator), Andrew Richardson (awards ceremony coordinator), Michael Gan (sponsor & awards coordinator), Erica & Craig Simons (cellar masters), Jason Mantello (head steward), Bill Arthurs (location coordinator), Robert Arzoo, Kulshan Brewing and Boundary Bay Brewery for their significant contributions to making this event happen. I thought this year’s event went fantastically thanks to their efforts.”

Andrew Richardson echoed those sentiments. “This year’s Best of the Bay was an all-around success, but it wasn’t because of good fortune. A lot of people contributed a lot of time and hard work to make this happen. I’m already looking forward to next year.”

The winning entry from each style category moved on to the Best of Show (BOS) round. The winner of that round was given the BOS award, which is a trophy mug to proudly drink from over the next year. This year’s winning entry was a brown porter with toasted coconut brewed by James Martini of Sedro-Woolley.

“It was an honor to pass on the Best of Show trophy to James Martini,” says Chris McClanahan, co-founder of Bellingham’s Subdued Brewing, which is still in planning. “He is a fine homebrewer and his coconut porter was fantastic!”


Chris McClanahan (left), last year’s BOS winner, passes the coveted trophy to James Martini, this year’s BOS winner.

See all the winners here.