A relatively new establishment in the area, Creekside Bistro, has decided to do its part in spreading the homebrew love.
Bear, the owner of Creekside, is running a Spring and Fall competition to get local homebrewers together and bring some judges in to see what we're doing right, what we're doing wrong, and to just enjoy some fellow brewers' beer.
Admittedly, this one was a little last notice, but with 14 entries it wasn't a bad turnout. Entries were separated into Extract and All-Grain categories. First place in All-Grain went to Red with an Irish Red (appropriate, I thought), who really led the pack. Then came an old work buddy, Todd, with a Milk Stout and 3rd/4th place was separated by just one point. Guess who narrowly missed third with a single hop IPA? :-/
My entry was the “Here come the drums…” IPA. It was an all-Centennial hopped IPA with 1oz FWH and 1oz of dry hopping, with the rest all in the middle. This is definitely one of the most Hop-forward beers I've made, but I still managed to keep it balanced with the malt fairly well. My inspiration was the Bell's Two Hearted Ale, though in retrospect, I wouldn't exactly call it a clone. Here's what the judges thought of it:
The answer was pretty clear for me. I have an oxygen problem, or a lack thereof. Gotta remember to aerate that wort kiddos! I knew that was a shortfall in my brewing setup, but I didn't realize how much it was affecting the quality. So, on to the homebrew store and start looking into diffusion stones for me. Having said that, the judges liked it overall, so this recipe is clearly a keeper (I like it too, so that helps), with just a little bit of tweaking.
One judge even wanted some oak in it. Interesting idea. We'll see…
All in all a fun time. Next time promises to be much more organized and Bear is hoping to max out at 20 entries. It's a smaller establishment so I think 20 entries is probably just about right. Fall competition is Oct 1, 2011.