Monday, June 4, 2012

Nationals Update

Since this is the first time I've attempted to put beers into the National Homebrew Competition, I figured I'd chronical all the cheers and tears associated with the process.  About a month ago the judging for first round took place in the basement of a shady VFW, (but thanks to those guys for allowing us to judge there!)  I helped judge several flights and since I'm a light-weight had to have Sj come pick me St. Paul.  Big categories with up to 14 beers judged by each table, the cap on the total for our region was 750 beers.

Just this last week I recieved notice, first by e-mail then by snail mail of my placings.  The actual score sheets and places were actually released earlier so there was no huge suprise here.  Two of my beers are going on to second round, which will take place at the National Homebrewer's Conference in Seattle in late June.  I recieved these ribbons and certificates in the mail.  Interestingly, the certificates are based on your score, and not the place of the beers.  Front and center in the above pic is my Gold Certificate for my Imperial stout with a score of 39--yet that one didn't even go on to second round!  I'm thinking of wallpapering my basement walls with these, since I'll probably get more in future years...

Next step is mailing three bottles of both my beers that placed.  This will include the last three bottles of one batch and I'm finding it hard to give them up!  There are quite a few concerns with shipping beers: how much trauma and shaking will occur; will they break or leak; will they sit in a hot warehouse or truck for two days before delivery; etc.  I'm leaning towards sending them second day or next day to minimize the time in transit, but that will not be cheap.  When the competition was held in Minnesota, this would have been so much easier, but I wasn't comfortable competing with the big guys at that point in my brewing career. 

Once my beers make it to Seattle, they will be judged for the final round.  With 10 regions all sending in about 750 beers, they came out with nearly 8000 beers total for the first round.  The top three beers in each category then move on to second round, making my odds about 1 in 30 for each of my beers in that round.  I'll have to wait until the Awards Banquet on Saturday the 23rd of June to find out if I have The Stuff.  Luckily I do get to go to NHC this year, so I will be present to enjoy the anticipation!  I've got several other friends with beers going on to second round that I can cheer for too.

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