The prizegiving for the 2011 National Homebrew Competition was held at Pomeroys in Christchurch on a Saturday afternoon. I had spent the morning riding fantastic beech forest singletrack on my bike and was happy to grab a pint of delicious craft beer and sit down to see how everyone did in the competition.
I had 6 beers entered and while I had hopes that 2 of them would do well, I was not sure about the other 4. Having only started brewing in March this year I had entered mostly looking for feedback from the judges on what was right and what was not with my beer.
Ally and James and Nathan got the show on the road in front of a small crowd of beer geeks. They let us know that both the number and standard of entries were well up on last year, with 55% of entries gaining a medal which is fantastic. I like the idea that more and more people are brewing, and that most of them are making great beer!
Ally went on to announce the category winners, with the majority of the first categories being won by people who were not present at the prizegiving. Ally got to the award for the “Best Ale” and I was very pleasantly surprised to hear my name. I was stoked! It was still all sinking in while I was getting the certificate, shaking Allys hand and posing for the photo. I will be interested to find out which of my ales it was that won, as it does not say on the certificate (edit – results up now. It was my American Brown that won)
Absolutely chuffed with having won something I sat back down. Ally started announcing the Champion Brewer with a little story about how they realised they had 2 people who were very close in the running while they were judging on the Sunday. The Champion Brewer is decided by the medal points for the top three beers per entrant. The medal scoring system is broken into 3 further levels, so a Gold medal might be a Gold 1, a Gold 2 or a Gold 3. The top score would be one brewer scoring 3 x Gold 1 medals.
As Ally got close to announcing the Champion Homebrewer he was looking at me… and then announced my name as the 2011 Champion Homebrewer. Super surprised I was up shaking his hand again! I really had not expected to do so well and am definitely very happy to have won the Champion Homebrewers prize!
It was great being able to talk to all the other brewers at the prize giving and find out how they had done with their beers. Congratulations to all of the medal and category winners! Well done on brewing great beer! The results so far are:
- Best NZ beer goes to Llew Bardecki
- Best overall beer goes to Tony Fulkner.
- Best Imperial beer to Craig Fitzgerald
- Best porter stout fruit beer goes to Chris Moore
- Best lager/pils hybrid goes to Stew Marshal
Full results up on the Soba website here
Winning the best ale category means I will have a couple of sacks of Gladfields pale ale malt coming my way. I am super happy about this as this is the base malt I usually use. I will have to make sure I get plenty of brews down to use it while the malt is still fresh! If I get brewing now it could be a very merry Christmas.
For winning the champion brewer award I get a 30 litre stainless steel conical fermentor from Farra Engineering in Dunedin which looks super nice! I am really looking forward to brewing with it!!
The beers I entered in the Competition and how they did are:
1. Caspa – New Zealand Pale Ale. Brewed in September. As reviewed here by “Beer For A Year” – Gold 1.
2. Gonna be Hughes – New Zealand Pale Ale. Brewed start of September. Gold 1
3. Inzane Brown – American Brown Ale. Brewed in July BIAB. Gold 1
4. Marksman Bitter – Ordinary Bitter. Brewed late August. Gold 3
5. Cawaka – American Amber Ale (done with NZ hops). My first all grain brew done BIAB back in June. Bronze 1
6. Maeve – Irish Red Ale. My second all grain brew done BIAB, also done in June. Bronze 1.
I am currently brewing with a 40L stainless steel pot, 3 ring burner, large chilly bin with stainless steel braided hose in the bottom for a mash tun and plastic carboys to ferment in. I do ferment in a temperature controlled cabinet, which keeps the fermentation temperature to within a degree. Still bottling all my beer currently, but I intend to move to kegging sometime in the near future.