Thursday, May 1, 2014

UNYHA Annual Homebrew Competition

Last week, the Upstate New York Homebrewers Association (UNYHA) held their annual competition.  In fact, this was their 36th competition, which is a pretty impressive stretch if you ask me.

I decided that I should enter a few beers into the competition, it's a great way to get some top notch feedback on your beer and brewing techniques, and I'm always looking for ways to improve my beers.

With that in mind, about two weeks ago I went and got some new bottles, sanitized and filled the two beers I was entering. Both of which were in Category 16 of the BJCP style guidelines.

16-A Witbier and 16-B Belgian Pale Ale. The reasons for picking these beers was pretty simple, I felt that these were the two best beers I've made so far, and they were the two that were in kegs and ready to go!

Packed, Labeled, and Ready to Go!

I went to the bursting to help get the beers unpacked and labeled with the competition info. Each beer got a randomly generated number to ensure that the judging was done blindly, and a few styles get some additional info. (Spices used, fruit used, base beer style, etc.)

Then on Wednesday the competition got underway. I went to help steward, which is sort of a cross between a file clerk and a waiter. The best part about stewarding is being able to sit, and sometimes taste the different beers and discuss them with the judges. I felt pretty good talking about different off-flavors, styles, and brewing techniques with the judges since I'd went through our BJCP training course last spring. Plus we had free pizza, and some growlers from Rohrbachs who were awesome enough to let us use part of the brewery to conduct the competition.

Judging went on again Thursday evening, then all day Saturday before all the beers, ciders, and meads that won their respective categories were lined up and judged for best of show. Unfortunately, my beers weren't among them, but that's alright, every beer couldn't be a winner. There were 273 entries, and UNYHA has some fantastic brewers!

All-in-all, it was a great week of judging, stewarding, trying great beers, eating free pizza, and just hanging out with fellow homebrewers. It got me really excited to get a few more brews under my belt. Stay tuned for the results on my beers when I get my scoresheets back.