ELKHART — Supporters of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Elkhart County participated in an evening of amateur brew tasting at the organization’s annual Bottle Caps and Corks event this past weekend.

Hosted at the event center of South Gate Crossing, the extravaganza happens to now be at the same location where most home brewers purchase their supplies; 3rd Horse Craft Beverage Supply is on the lower level of South Gate Crossing.

Previously held at Wellfield Botanic Gardens, Menessah Nelson, director for Big Brothers Big Sisters, said weather during this time of year can be too varied, and the new location offers a rustic feel she appreciated for its brew tasting.

“It kind of offers the home-brew feel already,” she said. “This seemed the perfect fit for a cultivation event.”

Sixteen entrants brought a variety of beers, meads, ciders and wines, totalling in 36 entries for the 35 judges to sample, and guests to sample as well.

Celebrity judges for the evening were Kim Shine, news anchor for WNDU-TV, Jay Fields, certified wine specialist, and Darcy Murphy, DJ for 103.9 The Bear.

Nearly 200 tickets were presold for the event and nearly 50 tickets were purchased the day of the event, organizers said.

“This event is not our largest fundraiser, but it is our greatest attended,” Nelson said.

She added that Bottle Caps and Corks serves instead as an opportunity to teach more people about what they do at Big Brothers Big Sisters.

“This is another avenue to help support us,” she said.

Aside from being a fundraiser, Bottle Caps and Corks is also the only amateur brewing competition for at least 50 miles and it is well appreciated, organizers said.

First, second and third place awards were selected in beer, wine, mead and cider categories.

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