Chowder cooking challenge!

Lompoc Brewery has been hosting their annual chowder challenge for the past decade. Let the challenge begin!

There are 12 contestants, all of which are brewing companies, and they battle it out to see who can make the best clam chowder.

Troy Harris, one of this year’s contestants from Cascade Brewery, has a secret for success this year.

“Our hopeful winning equation is to do what we do best: make great clam chowder!” Harris said.

The cook-off, located at Lompoc Brewery’s Fifth Quadrant location, is open to the public. That’s right; the public gets to decide who made the best chowder and who gets to take the chowder cup home.

Everyone judging will get to try a two ounce sample of each chowder. The cups are not labeled so the cook stays a mystery; therefore, the contestants are able to taste their competitor’s chowder, too. Once all 12 of the chowders have been tasted, the public votes whose they enjoyed the most.

“The judging is blind by the attendees.” Harris said. “I don’t even know which chowder is ours. But usually I can identify our secret ingredients. The process consists of 12 tastes, one of each contestant, and a voting card with space for tasting notes.”

This family-friendly event is from noon to 3 p.m. Ages 12 and up are able to participate in the sampling for $10. There will be live music, a beer garden, raffle and pub food for purchase.

“The atmosphere is fairly busy, but offers space for people to move around.” Harris said. “The event is held outside in a tent and there’s usually live music. Lots of people attend throughout the run of the event… at least until the chowder runs out!”