I somehow totally missed out on even knowing about Top Brewer, but I did manage to get to an event. Top Brewer is a local Minnesota homebrew competition that has a new and interesting twist: several homebrewers were picked to compete in four rounds of taste-off competitions at the various Blue Plate Restaurants. The winners from each will go on to a final round where they are given ingredients and must do their best to make that particular recipe. I believe that the overall winner will get to brew with Lucid Brewing, who is a big sponsor of this event. Several of my friends and acquaintences have been in on the action over the last month or so. I managed to miss all of them but one due to being out of the country...or just back and jet lagged.
Last night's qualifier was held in Maple Grove at 3 Squares, my favorite of the Blue Plate restaurants. My mom lives in town there and loves beer, so it was a no-brainer to drive out there. Everything was held outside on the patio, so it was a bit chilly. They did have some heat lamps and a gas fire pit to warm things up a little. It got crowded too which helped block out the wind. On arrival we were checked in and given our bracelets. We were given a ticket for a free Lucid beer: they had several on tap outside in a jockeybox (Air, Saison, and Dyno I think.) They also had Foto and Cammo inside...I got the latter since it is my favorite beer that they make.
Several of the Primary Fermenters were there to support club-mate Dan Herman who's pumpkin porter was in this round of the competition. The brewers were not allowed to tell us which beer was there, but we found out later after the voting was done. I did wear my PF T-shirt to represent since there were no JAB members involved. I'm fickle that way. We also talked a bit to Steve Piatz and his wife Janice a bit. He also had a been the competition. It is always nice going to homebrewer events these days since I will always know a few people and get to meet more over time. I have finally found my own weird little dysfunctional group that understands what drives my passion for beer and brewing.
Overall my favorite beer of the ones we tried was a Belgian Dark Strong that was bursting with complexity and well hidden alcohol. It didn't win. My second favorite was Dan's porter, a well made beer, but a lot of folks hate pumpkin beers with a passion.
My mom and I went into the restaurant to warm up and get dinner. The fish and chips was fantastic this particular evening. It was great to get some time to catch up, since I have been so busy recently.
A very fun way to spend a Thursday night, and I look forward to second round. I've sent in my application for the next Top Brewer which should take place in the Spring. Cross your fingers for me, I've already got some ideas of what to brew...