Craft Beer Competitions are brewing.

The Morel Mash Up Home Brewers Tasting in Ottawa, Ill., returns this year following great interest by both brewers and attendees alike. Local brewers will be offering samples and competing for “Mayor’s Choice,” “People’s Choice” and “Best Brew Overall.” “This event continues to grow immensely, and it’s great to showcase home brews from across the state here in Ottawa,” said Ottawa, Ill. Mayor Robert Eschbach. “We have clubs participating from DeKalb to Decatur.”  

New this year will be the “Small Town Showdown,” a friendly but competitive faceoff between the best brews of both Jacksonville, Ill., and Ottawa. “We worked with a group from Jacksonville last year on cross promoting each of our beer festivals, which worked out great!  But, we wanted to do it again this year with a competitive element,” said Executive Director of the Ottawa Visitors Center Curt Bedei.

Jacksonville will be sending their overall 2015 Craft Brew Festival winner (Ian and Andrew English from Gravel Springs Brewing) to face Ottawa’s soon-to-be crowned 2016 overall winner.  In August, Ottawa will send its overall best to Jacksonville to face their newly crowned winner at Jacksonville Main Street’s second annual Craft Brew Festival. The Craft Brew Festival will be held in Jacksonville on Saturday, August 6, in conjunction with Art Fair on the Square. A number of guest judges, some from out of town, have been selected for this year’s Mash Up in Ottawa; visiting judges from Jacksonville include Sean Meek, Guido Strotheide, Wes Kitner and Kyla Hurt.  More information on both craft brew events can be found at and

For more information or to register for the Illinois State Championship, please visit our website at or call the Ottawa Visitors Center at 815-434-2737. General admission to market and morel auction is free. Morel hunt fees are $30 for adults or $15 kids under 12 ($5 additional fee for day-of registration). Please register by May 1.

CONTACT: Ottawa Visitors Center – 815-434-2737

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