Thursday, June 23, 2011

PBW Recap: Homebrew Competition at The Draught Horse

I had a hard time pulling myself away from The Forum of the Gods but had to get up to Temple's campus for the wheat homebrew contest at The Draught Horse. I gulped down the last of my Bitches Brew and hopped on the subway, I must say those SEPTA Independence Passes really came in handy during PBW. It's always nice to be back on campus for whatever reason but it's especially nice to be back in the neighborhood for a homebrew contest, oh how we've grown.

This was the third homebrewing competition held at the Horse, the first was back during PBW '10 where my roommates and I took 1st Place with our DIPA 'Hop & Circumstance', the second was last winter where I came in third with my coffee-brown ale 'Ugly Mug'. These contests are especially enjoyable because they are not BJCP sanctioned and are run a bit differently than your normal competition. They're much more laid back and everyone actually gets to try the different entries which is an added bonus.

There were about 15 brewers this go-around, each bringing some kind of wheat beer with them. I ended brewing my Drachent√∂ter Dunkelweizen specifically for this event and I was really pleased with how it turned out. Head retention wasn't exactly what had been hoping for though, it doesn't have that big frothy head that you've come to expect from a dunkelweizen but it still tastes great. This was my first foray into wheat beers so I wanted to do something classic without any fancy additives or anything, some styles just don't need it. I would say that a majority of the other entries were Belgian Wits with only a few other dunkelweizens in the mix. There were also of course a few standard hefeweizens in there along with not one but two kiwi-wheats. I work with one of the guys who brewed a kiwi-wheat which he decided to do to stand out from the crowd 
and while that didn't exactly work out I must say that his was much better than the other.

Luckily the brewers didn't  have to give a little speech about their beer this time so things went along a little smoother than the last competition. I sampled each beer, feeling out the competition of course, found a few  that stood out to me along with a couple that, let's say...confused me a bit. After the judges had sampled and scored each beer there was a break before the winners would be announced so I enjoyed some $3 drafts from Coronado Brewing Company who sponsored the event along with Philly Beer Scene. That Idiot IPA is 

Prizes were awarded to the top 3 brewers. After third place was announced, my name was called for the second place brewer...sweet! I went up to the judges table, shook some hands and took my prizes back to my table feeling pretty good. A minute or two later, I'm called back up to the table because there was a "mistake" and thus I return my prizes in a rather sheepish and embarrassing display. While I was still up there, fellow ALEien John Yeomans was called up for the real second place. Feeling just a bit awkward I started to head back to my group but was called back because I had actually won the contest! Nathan, the bar manager, apologized for the mix-up and that he knew immediately after he called my name the first time that it was a mistake. Woo! I really wasn't expecting to be called up as the winner so it was a pleasant, albeit overly-dramatic, surprise indeed.

I actually just picked up part of the prize, a case of steaks from US Foods, a randomly wonderful bonus. They also gave me a gift card to for The Horse, a $100 gift card to Wine, Barley, & Hops homebrew shop, Philly Beer Scene pint glass, shirt, poster, and a pretty nice looking plaque to hang on the wall with pride. Apparently there will also be a little article about my beer in the next issue of PBS so make sure you keep an eye out for that. It was great meeting all the different homebrewers and getting to talk about our beers, the tips and compliments were really appreciated. Much thanks to The Draught Horse, sponsors, and the judges...especially Matt Konopka who gave me one of the best compliments on his scorecard, "I want to buy this beer."
I'll take that.



  1. Those are some legit prizes! Many congrats my friend. You're the Juan Fernandez of the Draught Horse Homebrew contest

  2. There is so much meat in my's a beautiful thing. Being the Juan of homebrewing is quite a compliment as well.