What began as a friendly competition 20 years ago between the rivals of the Miami Area Society of Homebrewers (MASH) and the Fort Lauderdale Area Brewers (FLAB) has blossomed into one of the premier homebrewing events in South Florida.
The 19th-annual Coconut Cup finals are set to take place March 2 and 3 at M.I.A. Beer Company in Doral. Named for its special category of coconut beers, this competition is sanctioned by the Beer Judge Competition Program and the American Homebrewers Association. The Coconut Cup is also the official kickoff of the Florida Homebrew Circuit, which includes the Hurricane Blowoff Homebrew Competition, the National Homebrew Competition, the Hogtown Brew-Off, the Sunshine Challenge, the First Coast Cup, and the Commander SAAZ and culminates with the Best Florida Beer Competition in Tampa. (Official dates for 2018 have not yet been announced.)
"We are very excited to kick off this year's Florida Homebrew Circuit," Geoffrey Shideler, president of MASH, says. "We have already received hundreds of beer submissions from all over. It's looking like this year's event will be excellent."
Prizes are awarded by 23 sponsors, offering a plethora of goodies to the winners. Medals will be awarded for first, second, and third place for each beer style.
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The brewer who wins Best in Show will receive swag and gift cards from sponsors, along with the opportunity to brew their beer at M.I.A. Beer Company.
The club with the most awards will take home the coveted Coconut Cup. Another Florida club has it now, but MASH has been working hard to regain the title. The Coconut Cup trophy was made from an actual coconut by one of MASH's founding members and past presidents, Darryl Hickey. MASH most recently held the cup in 2014. "It's been a while since MASH has held the Coconut Cup," Ruben Sabater, vice president of the Miami homebrewing club, says. "This year, a lot of our members are aiming to take back the cup, but competition is fierce. There are a lot of good homebrewers in the state."
The deadline for team and solo entries is February 1. Participants are allowed six entries per brewer or brewing team and only two entries per subcategory of beer. Each entry must consist of three bottles; entries with fewer than three bottles are ineligible for Best in Show. One-bottle submissions are ineligible for any medal but will receive a complete review and score sheet. Each entry costs $8. Brews can be registered at reggiebeer.com.
Anyone is welcome to attend the Coconut Cup final awards party March 2 and 3 at M.I.A. Beer Company, where there will be raffles, prizes, and a keg competition.
2018 Coconut Cup. Friday, March 2, and Saturday, March 3, at M.I.A. Beer Company, 10400 NW 33rd St., Doral; 305-567-5550; mia.beer. For more information, visit miami-homebrew.org.