Homebrew Competitions are a great way to receive feedback for improving your brewing techniques. The main function of a competition is to provide quality advice for making our favorite hobby all the more enjoyable.
What’s the Process Like?
Brewers sign up for each month using the links below, and drop off their beers in anonymous bottles. We review and score the beers based on brewing quality and style accuracy.
Who are the Judges?
What Styles Can I Submit?
It depends on the month. We have a different theme each month. Click the link below for more details, and to sign up!
How Do I Compete?
Step 1. Complete a BJCP Bottle ID Form For Each Bottle – This is VERY important – we need to know what the beer is!
Step 2. Click the Competition Link(s) below to enter your beer and contact details.
2018 Homebrew Competition Lineup:
Join us this Saturday for an ultra-exciting LIVE and in-person brewing demo! Watch the process and learn some new tips. We will have beer specials all day. Bring your friends! New to homebrewing? Come see what this hobby is all about.
This event is FREE
Last week was the 35th Annual National Homebrewer’s Conference. This year hosted by the great beer town of Philadelphia. We (or I, George) was lucky enough to attend, and am very happy to report back on the overall experience. The location was perfect, the seminars were fun and informative, and beer tourism was phenomenal, and in fact, really made the trip for me.
Philly boasts some of the coolest beer bars & beer-centric restaurants you could wish for. We arrived on Tuesday, two nights before the conference began, and our first order of business was to visit Monk’s Cafe, a cozy Belgian-beer-lover’s paradise. In fact, Michael Jackson commented that it was America’s best Belgian beer bar, and many would argue that this is still true. There certainly isn’t anything quite like it in San Diego, although if you combined the tap list at Small Bar, with the bottle list at Hamilton’s Tavern, you would get kinda sorta close. You’d be missing moules frites, however (sad face). There is also a good offering of German beer bars in the city. Bru Carft, and Brauhaus Schmidtz being the two we had the pleasure of checking out. Again, we simply don’t have these sort of options in San Diego. Occasionally you can count on a solid Kolsch at Tiger!Tiger!, or Blind Lady Ale House, but there aren’t any places with the consistent selection of these Philly beer spots.
Food wise, we enjoyed the above mentioned spots, but other standouts included The Farmer’s Cabinet. Rag time piano, lots of wood, and an ecclectic beer list featuring many fantastic Northern European breweries (Haandbryggeriet of Norway, for instance). A large group of fantastic homebrewers with large hearts enjoyed an outstanding meal there.
The conference itself offered a solid variety of topics to satisfy the interests of any homebrewer. Topics included, sensory analysis (presented by San Diego’s own Kara Taylor of White Labs), Cider (again, San Diego great, Chris Banker of QUAFF), hops, hops, oh and one that talked a little about hops, mash chemistry, building a walk-in cooler, a “going pro” panel, mead and chocolate pairing, and more. You can view the details/presentations from previous years here. As of this posting 2013’s notes are not available yet, but they will be shortly.
Many of the seminars include samples of beer, but there are many other opportunities to fill your glass throughout the weekend. The Pro Brewer’s Night is a great opportunity to sample pro beers from nearby and from around the country. Club Night is the zaniest of all, and is essentially a rager done in all the nerdy glory that only homebrewers can accomplish. Clubs from near and far offer samples of their brews for all to try.
All-in-all I highly recommend making the trip out to NHC every year if you can. Next years will be hosted by Grand Rapids, MI. So we will see you there.
My account of the weekend is a summed up version of an all out action packed visit, so please include any of your favorite moments below.
Jeff from Mash Heads, a homebrew club in San Diego proposed an experiment in which we dry hopped bottles of beer with different varieties.
We had a keg of Mission Brewing light lager to work with, an ideal base for our experiment. We filled 15 22 oz bottles using a ratio of 1/2 oz per gallon, many higher gravity IPAs use 1 oz per gallon.
Jamie and Tricia from Mash Heads were kind enough to host the tasting at their house. There were about 12 Mash Heads present.
For info about the hops we used, and some tasting notes check out Jamies blog at The Cask & Barrel.
Molly and I had a chance to take a nice drive up to Paso Robles (pronounced row-bowls for some). We spent three days visiting several wineries (I’ll leave the wine reviews to molly’s Bar We There Yet??). We had a chance to visit the wonderful Firestone Walker, where we enjoyed a private tour, and several tastings. Among our usual favorites from this brewery, we were happy to try the Velvet Merkin (Barrel Aged Velvet Merlin – coming in bottles soon).
While searching for other breweries to visit, we came across news for the grand opening of Barrel House Brewing Company, just a mile or so south of Firestone Walker. We were excited to see another large brewery open in the area, but bummed that we would be heading back home just one day before their February 23 Grand Opening. We sent them an email, asking if we could stop by for an early morning visit on Friday, and they graciously obliged.
Chris took us around the grounds including a beautiful garden, waterfall, and stage for live music. We sampled their Kolsch and their IPA. both were clean and true to style. They talked about getting used to brewing on a much larger system, and the adjustments they intend to make on their tried and true recipes.
Overal, we had a great time meeting the Barrel House Brewing Co. crew, and are looking forward to checking back in with them on our next visit to the area. They are a genuine bunch and are certainly passionate about their craft. We wish them the best of success. Be sure to visit if your passing through.
This August Molly & I will be heading out to the East coast for some family time, followed by several weeks in Europe, which will be capped off at a close friend’s wedding in the South of France. Needless to say, we are thrilled as we prep for this trip. I love the miniature isle at Target, finally an excuse to buy that mini deodorant. It probably won’t even last the whole trip, but oh well, it’s cute.
Even more exciting is doing the prelim research on what we would like to do during our visit. Although I do appreciate the Lonely Planet type guides for their focus on fun-filled travel, we have found that the Rick Steve’s lineup of travel advice fits our nerdy, history-related interests, and that we can fill in the gaps for our other interests with some well worded google/blog searches (read the latter as beer/wine/food interests). Rick Steve has let us down several times when it comes to restaurant recommendations (read “family-friendly” as “the Chili’s of Brussels!! Yay!”)
Unfortunately, sites like BeerAdvocate.com have never done much for us when it comes to finding the beer spots where others don’t expect to find it. This stood out to us on our last trip to Italy, as well as our trip to Spain before that. It seems that if BeerAdvocate users don’t expect good beer to be there, they will convince themselves that it won’t exist. Worse yet, they will go online and tell everyone that it does not exist, thus perpetuating the very lie that denied them the pleasure of great beer abroad. What a shame!
Perhaps we will have time in the future to go back to our notes regarding Milan, Florence, & Venice. In each of these places we read everywhere that there was no craft beer to be found. Tell that to the shopkeeper in Venice that has over 100 bottles of beers decorating his windows, and perhaps more of them filling his numerous display fridges. We found that place on the first day… within about 30 minutes of wandering (perhaps we’ll post on the art of wandering about in a city). The Dog Fish Head collaboration we found the next day at a separate place, and it went great with our meals… I’ll tell you what.
So back to our current travel prep, especially Berlin: our first stop in Europe this August. BeerAdvocate and related sites list a few places that we are certainly looking forward to, and we have already created bookmarks for them on our “OffMaps” App on our IPad. The bulk of these options however, are large scale breweries… we want to go a bit deeper than that. It must be there right?!
So far all we have had to do is search for “German Beer Blog.” The top returns include a site that introduced us to 3-4 bars/breweries/cafes, that BeerAdvocate left out. I wil post the link to that blog here, and simply list those establishments below, in case you are also looking for some Berlin beer spots to enjoy during your next stay.
So in the end, the point of this ramble is to advocate digging a bit deeper than your usual resources when it comes time to plan your next trip.
Do you have any Berlin beer/food/wine spots you’d like to recommend?