This past Saturday Binny's in the South Loop hosted their annual homebrew competition.  It was amazing for us to see just how popular homebrewing is becoming.  This year our contest filled up in a record 13 minutes, whereas our previous years contests took several days to fill up.  The quality of the homebrews also greatly exceeded past years' entries.  We would like to congratulate the winners and thank each and every homebrewer who entered a beer into the competition.  A special thanks also goes out to Sam Adams for all of their contributions. Without further ado, here is the list of winners: Best Label:  Zachary Halpin Applebock The judges picked out about our favorite six labels, and then let everyone at the bar last evening vote on their favorite label, and this one came out on top. 10th Tom Matthews Witbier Tom's beer was true to style, and very well made.  The beer was crisp, with notes of coriander, wheat, and yeast. 9th Justin David Hallas American Brown Ale Justin's beer was balanced perfectly between its chocolate, caramel, and nutty flavors. 8th Michael Kupka Oatmeal Stout Michael's beer was on the sweet side for a stout, reminiscent of one of the best out there, Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout. 7th Mike Belmonte Mango Habanero IPA Admittedly, we thought this might be a laugher when we read the name, but were surprised by its great balance and just how well the habaneros worked.  This beer would go great with food. 6th Matthew Wendeln American IPA Matthew's West Coast style IPA had a huge hop profile with just enough malt to balance the hops without overwhelming them. 5th Jason Addington Barleywine Jason's beer was a sweet version of the style, with just enough hops to balance the sweetness.  His rich and creamy, malt forward brew had flavors or raisin and cinnamon. 4th Ken Pegram American Pale Ale Ken brewed our favorite hoppy beer of the day, and that was saying a lot considering hoppy brews dominated the entries.  It had a bright color, beautiful nose, and a delicious grapefruit flavor. 3rd Blake Hennesey (Pictured, bottom) Oak Aged Vanilla Bourbon Stout  Blake's beer was a very drinkable version of a bourbon flavored stout, clocking in at 5.7% ABV.  The vanilla, bourbon, and chocolate were balanced wonderfully. 2nd  - Neal Laben (Pictured, middle) Maibock Neal's beer was spot on for the style.  It was malty with a perfect touch of hops, and extremely drinkable. 1st Thomas Saldona (Pictured, top) Russian Imperial Stout w/ Licorice & Cocoa Nibs Thomas's beer was the consensus winner.  His complex homebrew incorporated dark and roasty flavors, while the licorice and coco showed themselves on the finish. Congratulations Thomas and have fun at the GABF! First Place Second Place Third Place