I did not think last year’s Beer Nut Homebrewing Contest could be beat. Boy, was I wrong.
The second Beer Nut Homebrewing Contest had more, and overall better, beers.
On Sunday, at Strange Brew Beer and Winemaking Supplies in Marlborough, Brian Davis’ Schwarz (black) Ale beat out 60 other beers to be named this year’s champion.
“Are you (expletive) kidding me?” said Davis, of Worcester, when informed he won. “I couldn’t be happier.”
For being named champion, Davis will now brew his beer at the Wormtown Brewing Company in Worcester. He will work with head brewer Ben Roesch to recreate the Schwarz Ale on a larger scale. It will then be distributed to whichever bar or restaurant wants to carry it.
“I can’t wait to be able to go to a bar and see my beer on tap and be able to order it,” Davis said.
The other finalists, in order of finish are Matt Butler of Framingham and his Brown Ale, Kevin Anderson of Brighton and his IPA, Michael Zaremba of Marlborough and his Scotch Ale and Bill Nevits of Hudson and his dunkelweizen.
“The beers, for the most part, were very good quality,” said Roesch, who was one of the judges. “Choosing the best of show was very hard, because they were all good beers. We would have been proud to brew any of the winners.”
The other judges were Jack Hendler, head brewer at Jack’s Abby Brewing in Framingham; Aaron Mateychuk, head brewer at Watch City Brewing Company in Waltham; Matt Gamble, director of operations for Clown Shoes Beer in Lexington; Brian Powers, owner of Strange Brew; and me.
Jamie Magee of the Yankee Brew News also filled in for Roesch, who had to temporarily leave the competition before coming back for the final round.
This year, there were 61 entries compared to 59 last year. The entries were split up into five categories: Light beers; Ambers, Reds, Pales and Brown Ales; Dark Beers; IPAs/Double IPAs; and Speciality.
One team of judges scored the Ambers, Reds, Pales and Brown Ales, as well as the Dark Beers, while the other judges scored the rest of the beers.
The beers were judged in five categories: aroma, appearance, flavor, mouthfeel and overall impression. After the judges picked the winner of each category, the judges all tasted the five winners to name the best of show.
Last year, there were two clear favorites in the final, but this year each beer received several votes. The Schwarz received three first place votes to take the win.
All of the judges said they were surprised how many good beers the homebrewers came up with.
“I was very impressed,” said Hendler. “I thought there were several good beers.”
Gamble said, “I thought they were great, particularly for homebrew. There was very good quality all the way through.”
Mateychuk agreed, and said, “There were a lot of beers that were well done.”
The day was fun, with several of the competitors hanging out and getting a chance to win one of several door prizes available.
“We had a great day,” said Powers. “I was so glad to have the homebrewing community come out and support the contest this year.”
Special thanks go out to Wormtown for brewing the winning beer, as well as Dogfish Head Craft Ales in Delaware, Watch City Brewing Company, the Harpoon Brewery, Samuel Adams and Julio’s Liquors for donating the prizes.
Thanks are also due to Beer Advocate, Wachusett Brewing Company, the Horseshoe Pub and Jack’s Abby for the door prizes.
Josh Dion of lostinthebeeraisle.com and his wife, Melissa Dion, deserve thanks for helping set up and handle the drawing and awarding of the door prizes.
And most of all, thanks to all the homebrewers who entered. It was a great year and I hope you all enter again next year.
Norman Miller is a Daily News staff writer. For question, comments, suggestions or recommendations, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 508-626-3823. Check out The Beer Nut blog at http://blogs.wickedlocal.com/beernut/.
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