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January 15, 2021

5th Annual Hop Idol Homebrew Contest – 2021

Homebrewers, you are now called on to start working on your best hoppy recipe!

We are excited to announce the competition for Hop Idol 2021, the 5th annual homebrew competition hosted by Reuben’s Brews. The Hop Idol winner will get to brew their beer with the Reuben’s Brews team at our brewery in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. The deadline window for your entries to arrive at our brewery is between February 15th to February 19th, 2021.


Our first four years of the Hop Idol competition have been great successes, with more than 100 entries in 2020. Last year’s winner, Alex Kuyper, was our first-ever TWO-TIME winner of Hop Idol, and while we were unfortunately unable to host him at our brewery for the brew day of his winning “Craig” hazy IPA, he had his beer released in cans to acclaim across the Pacific Northwest! See the finished can design and read more about the beer here.

We plan to have the brew available in May at Reuben’s tasting rooms and distributed throughout the Pacific Northwest, on draft and in cans. We are also planning to enter the Pro-Am category at one of the most prestigious beer competitions in the country – the Great American Beer Festival (GABF), as well as the Washington Beer Awards.

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!

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 shares their brews with us. This annual contest goes back to how we started in brewing and it is close our heart. Homebrewers out there are doing great work and we hope this contest draws some attention to that! Good Luck!



  1. Read the Requirements section below for complete information about how to prepare your entry, and what is required to be submitted online and what is required to be submitted with your entry
  2. Register your entry online at this page. Each brewer or team needs only to submit once for up to four beers.
  3. Pay your $5/beer Entry Fee on our online store – 100% of these fees will be donated to the Reuben’s Brews Foundation. Learn More.
  4. Carefully package up your entry for either shipping or in-person drop off at our Taproom. Shipping address is below. Your submission itself must contain:
    1. FOUR (4) bottles or cans of each beer, 330ml/12oz or larger. Note: this is one more bottle/can per entry than years past due to new COVID protocols during judging.
    2. One completed BJCP Recipe Form for each beer entered. Please fill this out completely, with careful attention to the Category and Sub-category information.
    3. Completed BJCP Bottle IDs for each of the four bottles/cans of each entry submitted. Bottles without proper IDs will not be able to be judged.
    4. (Optional but Highly Recommended!) Include a self-address stamped envelope that can hold 8.5×11″ sheets of paper if you would like us to return your scoresheets to you.



  • 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 and arrive at our brewery between February 15th and February 19th , 2021. Unfortunately, we cannot make any exceptions to this time window.
  • The Judging Day has yet to be decided, but it will be as soon as practicable after the submission window. The judging panel will consist of BJCP-certified judges, industry experts, and members of the Reuben’s Brews team.
  • You may submit up to a maximum of 4 different beers.
  • There is a $5 entry fee for each beer submitted and all entry fees will support the Reuben’s Brews Foundation. Please submit your payment online AT THIS LINK. Along with the chance to have one of your own beers brewed and distributed, you will also be helping us raise money for our Foundation initiatives! Read more about our new Foundation here.
  • Each Homebrewer (or team) must fill out our ONLINE ENTRY FORM before submitting their entries. This is our primary way of tracking your entries, and our means of contacting you if we have any questions.
  • Each Homebrewer (or team) must also fill out one BJCP Recipe Form for each submission and include a printed copy with your entry when shipping or dropping off. Entries without fully completed Recipe Forms will not be able to be judged.
  • For judging, you must send at least FOUR (4) bottles or cans of each beer, 330ml/12oz or larger. Note: this is one more bottle/can per entry than years past due to new COVID protocols during judging.
  • Each beer must have a BJCP Bottle ID filled out and taped to it. These can be downloaded here.
  • If you would like to have your scoresheets returned to you, you must include a self-addressed stamped envelope (large enough to hold 8.5×11″ pages) with your physical entry.
  • 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 judging.
  • You must be an AHA member at the time of this competition and throughout 2021 to qualify for this competition. If you are not a member, head here to join.
  • Any questions please reach out to We are here to help!



  • 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 hope to invite the homebrewer to help brew the inaugural commercial batch of the winning recipe at our brewery in Seattle, Washington! Attendance at the brewday will be COVID-guidelines dependent. 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
  • We anticipate entering the 2021 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 Brews merchandise as prizes.
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