Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Back in the game!

In 2015 the only competitions I entered were the Ales for ALS competition in Essex, and the competition at the New England Homebrewer’s Jamboree. Neither of those were official Beer Judge Certification Program competitions, and I didn't get scorecards for either. Last year I paid entry fees for a few competitions, but never sent in my entries. I forgot to send in my entries for the National Homebrew Competition, the biggest competition in the country. That got me banned from the 2016 competition.

Competition entries ready to go!

My only excuse is laziness. To enter a competition you have to drive to a drop off location which is usually a homebrew shop. That means driving from Beverly to Woburn or Cambridge. The alternative is shipping entries which entails finding an appropriately sized box, packing your bottles carefully, and paying at least $20 to ship via UPS or FedEx (because Beer Mail is still illegal).

About a week ago I met up with my oldest friend at a party. After about five Glenlivets he was imploring me to enter more competitions. I think he saw my not entering more competitions as a sign that I am not taking my brewing seriously enough. I tried to explain to him that the purpose of most competitions is to get constructive feedback and that they really aren't all that important. He persisted and I promised him I would start entering my beers into competitions again.
The Camp Randall Red IPA I brewed for the Barrel House Z competition was ready to go and needed to be dropped off. I took that as an opportunity to drop off some other beers as well. Jennie and I opened the first bottle of Pyrite Pistol and determined it wasn't quite ready yet. After two weeks there was no carbonation and the beer tasted lifeless. The beer sat in a secondary fermenter for five weeks, I probably should have added some fresh yeast at bottling. If the Geary's HSA clone is any indication, the beer will carbonate and improve over time. I am not worried yet.
The HSA has steadily improved over time and I am quite happy with it. I entered that, BeerSmith's Dry Irish Stout, and the Camp Randall Red IPA into the Greg Noonan Memorial Homebrew Competition hosted by the Green Mountain Mashers in Burlington, Vermont. The judging is April 30 in Burlington. I am tempted to volunteer just so I can drink Heady Topper, Lawson's, Hill Farmstead, and Fiddlehead while I am in the area. There was a drop-off location at the Modern Homebrew Emporium in Cambridge. I dropped off my entries, had a nice chat with the owner, and picked up ingredients for a future batch. When in Rome!
The drop off location for the Barrel House Z competion was at the Homebrew Emporium in South Weymouth. The shop in South Weymouth did have Wyeast 1318 yeast, one of my favorite strains. Not only is it awesome in traditional English styles, lots of "New England IPAs" also use the strain. I look forward to working with it again.
As I was already on the South Shore, it only made sense to stop by Trillium's new brewery in Canton. I mean it was practically on the way home! Two growler fills, six bottles, one t-shirt and $115 later I had all of the juicy, hoppy deliciousness I could stand.
Enjoying a sample at Trillium.
Looking into the brewhouse. 

Half of my Saturday was devoted to dropping off and buying beer. It didn't leave time for brewing and bottling. I might have to have a brew night to kick-start my pipeline.
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