Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Greg's Adventures in Homebrewing: The All-Grain Leap,
Part 3: That Time I Won a Homebrew Competition

Hey everyone! I’m back to tell you the tales of the BBQ & Brew event that took at the NewBo City Market in Cedar Rapids. After all of my all grain experiments and producing some decent beers, we thought it was time to enter a competition and see what other folks around Cedar Rapids thought about my work. 

I entered two beers, a honey red ale and that magnificent saison I mentioned in the last post. The honey red was called Red-Headed Honey. Two guesses who the lovely red-headed lady that was named after? ;) That ale was the 1.0 product that my regulator died on during the first try. The saison was name Victorious Saison – a name chosen by my Welsh brother-in-law. (I think he named it wisely.)

The ladies really seemed to like the red. It was quite light and really smokey at the end. One lady I awnted to just give a bottle because she came back four or five times. The saison also got great reception by a wide range of folks. I was facing some stiff competition though. One guy made an amazing rye citra hopped saison that I kind of kept going back to for a taste because it was amazing! (Jess will agree.) The guy next to me made two: a blonde and a watermelon beer. Mixed together, the result was crazy good. Homebrew competitions never disappoint the taste buds. And it was a pleasure to chat with all the other homebrewers.

After the judging, the results were in. My saison got 1st place with the judges' vote! I was quite pleased to say the least. Jess and I knew the beer was good – it was nice to hear good things about it from the expert palettes. Some of the judges wrote comments on the score sheets. One said he'd pay money for that beer. (That was especially flattering come from a certain professional brewer whose brewery Jess and I frequent for tasty brews: Lion Bridge.) Toward the end of the day, Jess managed to swap beer for some of the BBQ. The guy who won 1st place with his chicken BBQ gave us chicken in exchange for some saison – and it was the best damn chicken I’ve ever had in my life! 

On the way home we got a nice surprise. The guy who organized the entire event asked if we wanted the big BBQ & Brew banner. Of course, we did! And it is now hanging in my living room. 

All right readers, that finishes this three-parter. Hope you enjoyed it and I’ll catch you next time.


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