The Northwest Firefighters are expecting about 80 varieties between home-brewed beers and those provided by microbreweries during the Second Annual Oktoberfest, set for this Saturday.

Last year local firefighters got the idea to raise money for local charities in a unique way by hosting a “Home Brew Challenge,” where departments in the region and around the state gathered to present their own brews.

After a successful inaugural year, Brian Sturgeon, of the Northwest Fire Union International 3572, said the event has returned this year with eight departments statewide competing.

Individual firefighters statewide have been working hard over the last two months to see if their brew can stand the test of not only the judges, but also the general public.

Last year, some brews were deemed outstanding, while others were not as good.

Some of those preparing for competition include last year’s winner, Sean Dibbern, a Northwest firefighter.

Dibbern won with an Irish crème ale last year. This year, he’s working on a chocolate raspberry concoction.

“It’s really a best-of-show competition,” said Steve Tracy, owner of the Thunder Canyon Brewery. “We choose the brew that we feel is a good beer. It has to be a nice, clean beer that the public would like.”

About 3,000 people are expected to attend and fill the event site, at Thunder Canyon Brewery in the Foothills Mall parking lot. Strugeon said they are ready and excited.

With about 1,000 visitors last year, the firefighters were able to donate $7,000 to local charities.

This year, the group is aiming a lot higher, having already sold 500 tickets for Saturday’s event, and planning to sell a lot more as it gets closer.

Tickets can be purchased online, at, or at Thunder Canyon Brewery.

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