Meet the 5 finalists in Samuel Adams’ Brewing the American Dream craft brewery competition

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American beer maker Samuel Adams has launched its 11th Annual Brewer Experienceship craft brewers competition — and there are only five contestants left.

The brewers that remain come from all over the country — and know how to brew some seriously delicious beer.

The participants traveled to New York City so that their beers could be taste-tested and voted at the first annual Samuel Adams Crafting Dreams Beer Bash in New York City’s Soho on September 7, 2022.

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The winner, to be announced at a later date, will receive full mentorship under Sam Adams as part of the Brewing the American Dream philanthropy.

Brewer Experienceship finalists watch Samuel Adams founder Jim Koch speak at the first annual Samuel Adams Crafting Dreams Beer Bash in New York City on September 7, 2022.
(John Nacion imaging)

In an interview with Fox News Digital, the finalists indicated that – while the odds of winning the competition would be huge – just being able to partner with their fellow brewers was a win in itself.

Here’s a little more on the last five of this year.

Brewing with Brothas Brewing Company, California

RiSean Tinsley-Duffey and Denzel Jackson of Brewing with Brothas have big dreams for their business.

The two brewers, who have been in the business for about three years, brought their signature Black Belgian Tripel beer to Wednesday’s event.

Three cans of Brewing with Brothas craft beer will be displayed at the first annual Samuel Adams Crafting Dreams Beer Bash in NYC on September 7, 2022.

Three cans of Brewing with Brothas craft beer will be displayed at the first annual Samuel Adams Crafting Dreams Beer Bash in NYC on September 7, 2022.
(John Nacion imaging)

Tinsley-Duffy said winning the competition would bring “much needed mentorship”.

They also said they want to show others in their community that they can “start something from scratch and be entrepreneurs,” he said.

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“Anything is possible,” Jackson noted, as the pair felt “fired up” for successfully making beer in the first place.

Denzel Jackson of Brewing with Brothas Brewing Company speaks with Samuel Adams founder Jim Koch at the Crafting Dreams Beer Bash in New York City on September 7, 2022.

Denzel Jackson of Brewing with Brothas Brewing Company speaks with Samuel Adams founder Jim Koch at the Crafting Dreams Beer Bash in New York City on September 7, 2022.
(John Nacion imaging)

“Through these collaborations, we are grateful and grateful for the people we have in our circle and for being able to learn,” he said.

Tinsley-Duffey and Jackson hope to establish a brewery open to the public in the near future.

Fibonacci Brewing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio

Betty and Bob Bollas of Mount Healthy, Ohio launched their brewery business by taking advantage of their land’s proximity.

In the 1800s, numerous mulberry trees were planted in the couple’s area – so they decided to brew mulberry sour beer.

Betty and Bob Bollas of Fibonacci Brewing Company listen to Samuel Adams founder Jim Koch speak at the first annual Samuel Adams Crafting Dreams Beer Bash in New York City on September 7, 2022.

Betty and Bob Bollas of Fibonacci Brewing Company listen to Samuel Adams founder Jim Koch speak at the first annual Samuel Adams Crafting Dreams Beer Bash in New York City on September 7, 2022.
(John Nacion imaging)

“We’re a small company that wants to stay small,” said Betty Bollas. “We are extremely community oriented.”

Since Mount Healthy is an “entirely low-income neighborhood,” Fibonacci is looking for ways to give back to the community through programming, such as monthly farmers’ market benefits.

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Brewer Bob Bollas said he loves making beer because he can connect directly with the people who enjoy it.

“We can share the experience of the beer we make with the people who actually consume it, as we only sell our beer locally,” he said.

Rhythm Brewing Co., New Haven, Connecticut

Rhythm Brewing owner and master brewer Alisa Mercado brings girl-boss energy to the industry.

Mercado’s mission is to pay tribute to her grandmothers – who were both lager lovers – by offering her own light, unfiltered lager.

Samuel Adams founder Jim Koch and Rhythm Brewing founder Alisa Mercado pose for a photo during the first annual Samuel Adams Crafting Dreams Beer Bash in New York City on September 7, 2022.

Samuel Adams founder Jim Koch and Rhythm Brewing founder Alisa Mercado pose for a photo during the first annual Samuel Adams Crafting Dreams Beer Bash in New York City on September 7, 2022.
(John Nacion imaging)

“We just hope this experience will take our brand to the next level,” she said.

“We really want to diversify the industry and become the new face and taste of craft beer,” she said.

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Mercado, who is also a professional salsa dancer, described her business as a “family work of love” with “a lot of people” behind the brand.

Rhythm Brewing Company founder Alisa Mercado (left) raises her light lager with guests at the first annual Samuel Adams Crafting Dreams Beer Bash in New York City on September 7, 2022.

Rhythm Brewing Company founder Alisa Mercado (left) raises her light lager with guests at the first annual Samuel Adams Crafting Dreams Beer Bash in New York City on September 7, 2022.
(John Nacion imaging)

“When you taste our Rhythm beers, you not only taste a good beer, you are sipping history,” she said.

Checkerspot Brewing Company, Baltimore, Maryland

Checkerspot Brewing Company co-owner and brewer Judy Neff showed her Juniper’s IPA, a brew originally concocted “years and years ago” at home.

She described the brew as a mix between West Coast and New England “hazy, juicy” IPAs, which co-owner Rob Neff considers “one of his favorites.”

Judy and Rob Neff of Checkerspot Brewing Company pose with a sample of their beer at the first annual Samuel Adams Crafting Dreams Beer Bash in New York City last week.

Judy and Rob Neff of Checkerspot Brewing Company pose with a sample of their beer at the first annual Samuel Adams Crafting Dreams Beer Bash in New York City last week.
(John Nacion imaging)

“We are ready to take another step, so this is the perfect timing for us,” said Rob Neff.

Judy Neff explained that Checkerspot has been striving to grow “in the best possible way” since they began their brewing journey four years ago.

“I like the process of making something,” she said. “You can bring people together and actually do positive things with beer.”

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“It’s one of the few remaining industries out there [in which] people really work together and try to help each other.”

Wolf and Warrior Brewing Company, White Plains, New York

Wolf and Warrior Brewing Company brought its Patagonia brew — an Argentine take on golden beer — to the competition.

The brewery, owned by Mike Chiltern and his wife Jelena, is named after their two children.

Wolf and Warrior Brewing Company co-founders Mike and Jelena Chiltern pose with Samuel Adams founder Jim Koch (center) at the first annual Samuel Adams Crafting Dreams Beer Bash in New York City on September 7, 2022.

Wolf and Warrior Brewing Company co-founders Mike and Jelena Chiltern pose with Samuel Adams founder Jim Koch (center) at the first annual Samuel Adams Crafting Dreams Beer Bash in New York City on September 7, 2022.
(John Nacion imaging)

Mike Chiltern left a 25-year career in media to pursue his separate passions in brewing.

“Being an artist is finding another canvas and my canvas turned out to be the brewhouse,” he said.

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He added that being recognized for doing well in what he is most passionate about is a “huge kudos”.

Jelena Chiltern said the beer brewing collaborative space has given the couple access to “so many people” who are knowledgeable and willing to help.

“It’s just cool to be able to make something with your own hands,” said Mike Chiltern.

“And then give people a drink and see that they enjoy it and talk about it.”

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The pair grow a small number of their own hops in their backyard, which Jelena Chiltern considered the “most charming part” of the process.



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