Right after work on Wednesday, Sj, Steven and I rocketed out of Waconia on our way to Chaska to pick up Matt and Anna. From there mistress leadfoot (Sj) got us heading up I35W in great time...until some sort of accident farther up-stream caused a huge car log-jam leaving us in stop and go traffic for the next 35 minutes. Luckily Jerry and Mike L. had saved us a large table and even had drinks waiting for us upon our tardy arrival. Thanks guys, that is a wonderful welcome!
The place was hopping, with most of the back dining room filled with eager homebrewers. At least 10 JABbers were present, as well as some folks from MHBA, Primary Fermenters, and some of the other smaller clubs that I need to get better acquainted with. Gera Exire Latour and Tim Roets had organized a few tables into first, second and third place prize piles before we arrived and set up a small microphone. They were kind enough to wait until our carload of JAB arrived before starting the ceremony, but a lot of the folks had been there since about 5PM. We promptly ordered food and got to work on our drinks. I was pleased that there was plenty of Thunderstorm (a Belgian with lemongrass and orange blossom honey) to go around, though some of my less discerning friends (Mike and Jerry) who I won't name here are not fans. They are incorrect! The AC either wasn't working or couldn't keep up with the crowd and the 95 degree weather outside, so the place got pretty toasty as the evening went on. That just reminded me of our Extreme Beer Judging at the Fest grounds, but minus the dust and turkey legs.
Gera began the official proceedings with some background on the competition and about the special Historic beer category before launching into the winner list. She would read off several categories and then take a break for Tim to read off some raffle winners (everyone present got a ticket.) This was as nice way to extend the event a bit, giving us time to talk to winners, drink great Town Hall beers and eat our dinners! Tim also came by a few times over the night with Beer Trivia for each table so we could win bottle openers and other cool prizes. Tim and Gera did a great job on getting sponsors and swag this year so there was plenty to go around! The Renfest medals had not arrived in time for the ceremony, but they had given us enough mugs that each first place winner received a large and colorful 2013 commemorative mug. I was lucky enough to get several of my beers into the winner's circle and ended up with a large pile of prizes. This more than paid back the cost of my entry fees to the competition. A lot of my friends won medals as well including Jeff Malek, Kyle Sisco, Brett Glenna, Joe Lushine, Mark Glennon , Wayne Doucette, and more!
Once all the categories had been announced, Mike Hoops came up to talk about Tim's Kolsch (the winner from last year's BOS round and currently on tap at the brewery,) and about the potential difficulty in getting into the GABF in the next few years. He and Gera then announced the Best of Show winner that will be brewed at Town Hall for the coming year: Ben Adair's Colonial Ale! This is the first time one of the historic beers has made it to BOS and I'm very excited that the beer will be brewed commercially. I would have preferred if my stout or apricot beer had won, but hey maybe I have another shot next year! Interestingly myself and Jeff both won medals in that category as well, but were apparently beat out by a pretty amazing beer. I brewed a Gose beer with French grey sea salt and coriander specifically for this competition (mainly so I wouldn't have to judge the category for the fourth year straight!) and was pretty pleased with the result. A perfect refreshing and tart beer for a crazy hot end of summer.
|My rockin' swag!|
Overall I had a great time at the award ceremony. I loved hanging out at one of my favorite breweries with a bunch of my fellow homebrewers, and the event was a great excuse to get down there during the week. Let's have a big "Huzzah!" for the 2013 Renaissance Festival and Byggvir! Thanks to Town Hall, Mike Hoops, the MN Renfest and all of our other sponsors.
The official winner's list can be found HERE!