By William Brand
Saturday, October 13th, 2007 at 9:48 pm in Uncategorized.
DENVER – There’s always a local angle – at least if one comes from the San Francisco Bay Area, I guess. Here’s the latest: An ace homebrewer from Clayton out in Contra Costa brewed one of the three winning beers that Boston Beer Co. will release nationally this winter in its Longshot package
He is Mike McDole, a member of the Diablo Order of Zymiracle Enthusiasts, based in Walnut Creek. His beer is a double IPA, 9.6 percent ABV, 100 IBUs – seven kinds of aromatic malts and a hefty malt bill for balance. More on Mike in my column next week.
His co-winner is Rodney Kibzey, of Chicago, Ill., whose entry was a mighty weizenbock.
This was a national contest, sponsored and underwritten by Boston Beer, but company founder Jim Koch, speaking today (Saturday, Oct. 13, 2007) at a media brunch at Earl’s Cafe on the 16th Street Mall, gave credit to homebrewers across the country, who helped organize it, sifted the entries and chose the finalists.
A panel of six judges chose the two winners. I was invited and sadly, becaue I’d just had surgery, I couldn’t do it. According to Tony Forder, of Ale Street News, one of the judges, it was a tough competition, the finalists were deadlocked for a time _ the beers in the finals were that good.
“Finally,” Tony said, “we each voted for our favorite; we were divided 3 -3.” Basically, he said, those were the winners, Mike’s double IPA and Rodney’s weizenbock.
It was a lemon-colored, cloudy wheat with characeristic nose of cloves and malt. Rodney explained it’s a blend of 60 percent wheat, and pale barley malt and a bit of darker Munich barley malt.
The final beer in the Longshot Six Pack was chosen this weekend by festival goers at the GABF, who could try three beers, brewed by homebrewer employees of Boston Beer. The winner will be known when the votes are counted.
The beers were a grape fruit ale, a malted rye IPA and a Bavarian weiss or wheat beer.
The fruit beer was a surprise, medium copper color, hops and ripe fruit in the nose and the subtle, but definite taste of grapes in the follow. The brewer, Lily Hess, who lives in Hawaii, said she wanted to combine her two loves, beer and wine, ergo grapes. They were a late addtion in the brewing process, she said.
The Malted Rye IPA had a definite hoppy edge and the mysterious (to me) dryness from the rye. The brewer, Scott Cook, who lives in the Pacific Northwest, said he eased the hop bitterness with a touch of honey.
The weiss was a cloudy lemon, with a hint of orange in the nose, taste was full and malty with a definite taste or orange in a tart follow. The brewer, Mike Kramer, of Boston, said the beer’s unfiltered with a touch of bitter orange added at the end of the boil to balance the sweetness of the malt.