On June 5, Club members convened at Dad & Dudes Breweria in Aurora for our Spring Homebrew Competition at the invitation of Tom Hembree (Dad). This competition drew the second largest number of entries in Club history – 18 varieties of summer beer styles. Not only were internal Club bragging rights at stake, but Tom and his son (Dude) selected from the top five Club ranked beers for the main prize: a ProAm brew with the Breweria.
It was pretty much agreed that members’ beers are really good and getting better. It was very hard to pick from among the many choices, but we all soldiered on, fulfilling our tasting responsibilities and voting for our top three personal favorites. Voting was accomplished by colored bottlecaps assigned a 3-2-1 value deposited into plastic cups. Members could not vote for their own entries.
The top five rated homebrews were, in ranked order: Brent Motz (Munich Helles – 15 points). Judy Kuenker (Kolsch – 9 points), Bob Gertie (Peach Cream Ale – 9 points), Deb Cobb (Kolsch – 9 points), and Will Trail (Rye Saison – 8 points). The three way tie for second (three beers had 9 points each) was broken by weighting the numbers of first, second and third place votes. Interestingly, Judy and Deb brewed the exact same Kolsch recipe, the only difference being that Judy used gelatin as a fining agent in the secondary fermentation process.
These five Club selections were then presented to Dad & Dude for their tasting and final choice. In the
meantime, HopAholics polished off the remaining samples and shared some non-competition brews. After an agonizing selection process, Tom announced the final order. The Peach Cream Ale was fifth, the Munich Helles was fourth, and the two Kolsches were basically tied at second and third (go figure). The big winner: Will Trail’s Rye Saison. In announcing the final ranking order, Tom congratulated the Club on producing some “seriously good beer” and described how difficult the choice had been. He said that his team was using a 50 point rating system, broken into several categories. The spread between the fifth ranked beer and the winner was two points, with the Rye Saison victorious by one-half of a point. Talk about close!
Will and Tom will get the grain bill together and make arrangements for a commercial brew in the near future. So, look forward to sampling some winning Rye Saison at Dad & Dude’s Breweria later this summer.
Following all the excitement, some Club business was actually accomplished. Details of promoting the July Elizabeth Celtic Festival and the HopAholics first AHA-sanctioned Homebrew Competition were reviewed. Some really slick advertising posters were produced and members are working to place them in local brewpubs and other appropriate places. Also, our HopAholics Club shirts were distributed to those who ordered one. These light grey, richly embroidered beauties will make quite a statement at this summer’s upcoming events. Stay tuned for more information coming your way!