05 May 2007

Competition time!

Invariably, the spring and following summer seasons mean beer competitions. There are a few in the fall and even less in the winter, but the warmer months seem to be high time. The American Homebrewers Association has their annual National Homebrew Competition in April through June---the first round being in April and the finals being at the National Homebrew Convention.

Last month I entered 3 beers---a Maibock, an Oktoberfest, and a K├Âlsch---in a local brewpub competition. The competition wasn't AHA sanctioned and asked for only -one- beer per entry. There was no entry fee either. The winning beers were a Coconut Porter, a Weissbier, and a Honey Ginger Ale. Then it dawned on me: this was a People's Choice competition; in other words, the brewmaster picked the beers he/she thought would be most marketable for their brewpub, as the winner got to assist with the brewing of that beer on the brewpub's 4.5 barrel system. Part of what makes competitions so great is the invaluable feedback you get. Presumably, as this is not an AHA-sanctioned competition and was just a way for the brewpub to drum up sales, I probably wont' be seeing any score sheets. Kinda sucks, but it was free so I can't complain.

Oh well, there's plenty more comps!

Of note is the Spirit of Free Beer competition hosted by Brewers United for Real Potables (BURP), a Metro DC homebrew club. The club's 15th annual competition is being held next Saturday, May 12th and my entries are in!

Another interesting competition is the Sam Adams Long Shot. Unlike the competition mentioned in the first paragraph, this is not what the brewmaster feels will fill his pockets the best. The winner gets a one-time $5,000 royalty and has his beer produced for a Long Shot specialty line that's brewed once a year after the competition. You even get your mug on the label! Last years winning beers were a Boysenberry Wheat, a Dortmunder Export, and an Old Ale. Again, these styles were judged
by category---notice, no "kitchen sink" beers here!

Jim Koch has always been a big supporter of the homebrewing community, being a former homebrewer himself. Maybe I'll send one off afterall...


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