Something new is brewing in Ballarat.
Taking full advantage of the city's flourishing craft beer scene, The Mallow will hold the inaugural Brew Wars event in April.
Homebrewers are encouraged to try their hand at preparing an American pale ale on-site, bringing their rigs out of the garage to the pub.
The public's invited to a bottling day at the end of the month, before judging begins soon after.
The Mallow owner Dallas Robb has been brewing his own beer for years with his mates, and said the hobby was growing in popularity.
"When we got our system, we wanted to do something where we could spend time with friends, because it's a whole process and the reward is the beer at the end," he explained with a grin.
"But it was all about having a hobby and an outlet, a bit of creativity you can explore, and for me, being able to understand more about the brewing process makes my job here easier."
Ballarat is becoming something of a hub for beerlovers, with the Ballarat Beer Festival expanding, Federation University's world-class brewing course, and local breweries bringing selling their wares in pubs across the city.
READ MORE: Federation University's Peter Aldred speaks about the ever-changing brewing industryhttps://www.thecourier.com.au/story/5840910/peter-aldred-is-teaching-the-next-crop-of-brewers/
"Tourism Ballarat is really pushing to make Ballarat a craft beer capital," Mr Robb said.
"Customers respond to that, they want to get behind people doing that, and for the long term, in Ballarat, if they're going to continue driving that it's going to be great for the rest of us."
For many, the next step from enjoying a beer is homebrewing, and Mallow manager Anthony Perovic said he hoped the competition would encourage people to check out the process and ask questions.
"If someone's struggling they can come to us or one of the other brewers and ask, am I doing this right?" he said.
"We can assist each other, and that's one of the key things we want fed into it because it helps the culture gain strength."
This collaborative aspect is key, according to House of Malt's Drew Graham, who's helping to organise the event with Ballarat Home Brew.
While Mr Graham usually sells his specialised malts to the pros, he's noticed that better equipment is becoming more accessible to do-it-yourself enthusiasts.
"It seems to me that people are getting more sophisticated with what they're doing," he said.
"What I'm hoping people get out of it is the chance to see how other homebrewers do it.
"Most people have different systems and do things slightly differently, and that's what we want to showcase, all the different bits and pieces of what people do."
The homebrewing scene often touched on other industries, he added - there's something satisfying about making things yourself.
"A lot of people that get into homebrewing are looking to do other things like sourdough - I dabble a bit, I've been making cheese as well," he said.
Mr Perovic agreed.
"You have something you've crafted yourself, so you've got a story behind what you've made, whether it's for an event like this or for you to sit back and have a beer," he said.
The competition begins on April 7, and brewers of any skill level are encouraged to enter.
Electric or gas extract or all-grain systems are allowed to enter, with space provided at the pub for brewers to set-up for the month.
Entry costs $40, plus ingredients.
For more information, or to enter, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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