Westerson wins first, second in San Diego County Fair’s homebrew contest

Menifee’s Craig Westerson received first-place and second-place ribbons for his entries in the San Diego County Fair’s homebrew competition.

Westerson took first place in the specialty wood-aged beer class and second in the sweet mead category.

“I’m really pleased to have won them,” Westerson said. “I didn’t think that I would do quite that well this year.”

Westerson’s specialty wood-aged beer entry was a barley wine-style beer which was aged six months in a used bourbon barrel.

“It picks up a lot of the bourbon flavor,” he said.

His sweet mead batch used locally-sourced honey from Temecula. Westerson’s wife, Jeri, writes novels set in the Middle Ages, and Westerson traditionally brews mead for her book launch events. The sweet mead entry was brewed for Jeri Westerson’s most recent book, “Silence of the Stones,” which was released in August 2016.

Craig Westerson had a total of three entries in the homebrew contest, but he did not place in the fruit and spiced mead category.

Westerson was raised in Manhattan Beach and has lived in Menifee since 1993. He is a member of the Temecula Valley Homebrewers Association and began brewing beer in the mid-1990s. He expanded his zymurgy activity to mead in the late 1990s.

Westerson said that the San Diego County Fair has an awards ceremony where the homebrewers are able to meet each other.

“It’s fun doing San Diego County Fair,” he said.

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