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Connellsville parks benefit from Tangled Up in Brew success

| Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013, 4:54 p.m.
Mark Hofmann | Daily Courier
Jeff Bloom (left) and Steve Denk with Bloom Brew, a home brewer from the West Newton area, were among the 13 home brewers serving beer at Tangled Up in Brew on Saturday.

Tangled Up in Brew, held Saturday at Connellsville's Yough River Park, attracted home brewers and budding brewery businesses from near and far.

“A lot of time and effort went into this,” said Greg Lincoln of the Connellsville Recreation Board, which organized the event. “It's a perfect night for this.”

Tangled Up in Brew is a competition. Those attending had a chance to sample and then vote on a variety of beers from people whose hobby is to make beer.

Lincoln said Saturday's competition brought in around 13 brewers and a total of approximately 30 beers to taste and judge.

One of those competing was Jeff Bloom and Steve Denk with Bloom Brew, a future micro brewery that's currently producing up to 40 different recipes for beer.

Bloom has been brewing beer for five years with Denk helping him out with the brewing process for the last two years. They are from the West Newton area.

“We take pride in what we do,” Bloom said.

The beers Bloom and Denk produce use natural ingredients. They try to use local ingredients whenever they can for beers like Cedar Creek Strawberry Wheat and Land of the Rising Sun and the six other beers they brought to Yough River Park on Saturday evening.

Of all the beers they brew, Bloom said he received a lot of compliments on the beers that incorporate fruit into the recipes. They even have a beer that has chili peppers from New Mexico.

Bloom said he and Denk have frequented more and more home-brew festivals. Saturday's festival was the third weekend competition in a row. They recently traveled to Upper St. Clair, Ohiopyle, Mt. Lebanon and Beaver County.

A first-timer to the home-brew competition was Dickerson Run native Koury Lape, who has been home brewing for two years and brought his latest creation, Pearapple Cider.

“This is one of my 100 percent made-from-scratch beers,” Lape said. He was rating his own beer somewhere in the 80s on a scale of 100. “But if it's drinkable, it's OK by me.”

Another first-time competitor were home brewers from Middletown. Kim Haney and her husband Joe drove three hours to Connellsville for the competition. Kim Haney is a native of Connellsville.

The two have been brewing together since 2007 and was asked to be a part of the home-brew competition after their last visit to Connellsville for the triathlon.

The beer the Haneys made was part stout with French-roast coffee. It was named Java Bean Brew.

“I think we'll make a hot pepper beer next,” Joe Haney said.

The couple said their experience with the home-brew community has been nothing but positive. Home brewers talk a lot online and try to help each other out and give advice and tips.

They also found that brewing their own beer is a great money saver. They always make the beer they want to make and not wait for someone else to come up with a unique flavor. They said the home brewer knows exactly what goes into their beer.

Lincoln said those attending the event received a commemorative glass, T-shirts screen printed onsite, and enjoyed two live bands, a Chinese auction, items up for a raffle and catered food — all from local businesses.

The proceeds from Tangled Up in Brew benefited the 10 parks in Connellsville.

Mark Hofmann is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at mhofmann@tribweb.com or 724-626-3539.

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