In case you were unaware, your very own Seattle Weekly is holding a competition among home brewers for who in town can cook up the best beer in town. Or I guess I should say that we were holding such a competition because, this afternoon, all the weeks of work and years of practice came together as 27 wildly different brews were cracked, poured and sampled upstairs at Brouwer's Cafe.
In attendance (in official capacity as judges) were homebrewer and dedicated drinker Brian Hill, Ian Roberts from Brouwer's, Mark Krukar, a BJCP sanctioned judge (meaning he's a pro according to the Beer Judge Certification Program, which totally sounds like something made-up, but isn't at all), Alejandro "Big Al" Brown of Big Al Brewing (who will be brewing up kegs of the winner's beer) and yours truly. All those other guys are experts--the kind of fellas who can talk about hops and malt and the nose and clarity of a beer without sounding like they're just making it up as they go along, the kind of guys who actually know the difference between a dopple and a dunkle and can speak about them in an educated fashion. But me? I'm just a passionate amateur drinker who'll happily knock back Coronas if that's what's available and not feel in the least bit bad about doing it. Still, I've got a palate on me, and an understanding (like some people have for art) of what I like, and the way things finally shook out (after two hours of dedicated drinking, sniffing, color-checking and scoresheet filling-outing), all five of us came to an easy agreement on who the clear winner was.
Wanna know who took home the prize this year?Well, I'm not going to tell you.
Sorry, but right now there are only about 10 people on earth that know who got the big gold star from the judges, and the only way for the rest of you to find out who has the best brew in Seattle is to come on down to the official Homebrew Competition awards ceremony which will be taking place on October 23 at 2 p.m. at Brouwer's.
Why the long wait? Because Big Al needs time to work with the winner and brew up a few kegs of the championship beer, which will be on tap at Brouwer's on the day of the big event and for at least a month after.
But if I can say one thing without giving away anything about the winning brew, it would be this: It's gonna be worth the wait. The judging this year was brutal, harsh and highly critical, and the fact that this single entry (of the 27 laid before us, running the gamut from lager to milk stout) was able to satisfy everyone at the table is, frankly, quite remarkable.
I mean, even I liked it.
And I'm pretty sure it wasn't a Corona.