Five years ago, The Bruery held its Batch No.1 homebrew contests, and it led to the very first beer that they brewed. On February 17, The Bruery convened a contest to determine their 1,000th batch of beer!
It was a BJCP (Beer Judge Certified Program) certified homebrew competition at their barrel house and I was stewarding at the event, which determined the winning beer that will be “brued” by the the Bruery and sold as their 1,000th batch of beer. That lucky “beer will be entered into the 2013 Great American Beer Festival as a Pro/Am entry and may even be distributed on a national level!” according to the Bruery.
There were certain style restrictions in place. You could only enter beers from these categories: 13F, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23. Now if you don’t have your beer styles memorized the options were Russian Imperial Stout, Belgian and French ales, Belgian Strong ales, regular Strong ales, Fruit beers, spice/her/vegetable beers, smoke/wood aged beers and the catch-all, Specialty. Tables were set up with score sheets and the judges were parceled out to groups to judge in two initial rounds to be followed by a final tasting round.
There was a lot of creativity on display and ingredient lists that would make you look and taste twice. Guava, pumpkin, Mesquite powder, pecans, black pepper, tawny port and even arugula were inside some of the bottles in the competition.
Close to 200 homebrewed beers were poured and sipped by the judges and Brian Pramov and Bryan Keas of Denver, Colorado, were the winners with their entry, Night Ryder (name may be changed between now and when it flows from taps later this year), an “Imperial” Black Rye IPA. Yes, a brewery known for Belgians and stouts will have a trendy style beer for 2013.
Your Beer of the Week comes from the Stift Engelszell Trappistenbier-Brauerei, the newest, official Trappist brewery. Gregorius is a quad that is laced with honey. I got a taste of this 96 out of 100 rated beer (on the Ratebeer website) at the Four Points LAX. It pours a dusty brown with a sweet aroma. That first sip is super malty with a big hit of sweetness that isn’t cloying at all. The ABV is well hidden here. The notes of honey really come through with each sip.
Your Homework this week stays in the world that both The Bruery and Gregorius would feel at home in. Take the time to re-acquaint (unless you haven’t tasted them, shame on you) some of the classics of the European beer world. A partial list would include Chimay, Orval, Omer, Saison Dupont and for a change of pace some Pilsner Urquell. These are the beers that created the lust for better beer in America, lo those many years ago, and should be in your regular yearly rotation of beers.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.