Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Those are some expensive ribbons...

Homebrew competition season here in the Chicagoland area is late winter/early spring. Between February and March you have the BABBLE Brew-Off, the Drunk Monk Challenge, and the BOSS Chicago Cup. As I've discussed before, I have a love/hate relationship with competitions. The love stems from the fact that you get great feedback and, hey, it's fun to win. The hate (or, more accurately, annoyance) stems from the fact that I find the winners to be somewhat arbitrary; a full post on this very topic can be found here.

Generally speaking, I like to enter the local competitions but shy away from ones where I have to ship entries. It gives me some good feedback without wasting too much beer and money. Due to Jonas being born in February, I completely forgot about BABBLE Brew-Off and didn't remember Drunk Monk until it was too late. I managed to remember the BOSS Chicago Cup, and the good news is that two of our four beers placed! Our Downdraft Helles took second in the "light lager" category. We actually entered it as a Dortmunder Export because I thought the late-hop addition made it a little too hoppy to qualify as a Munich Helles, and Bamberg/Franconian Helles isn't a BJCP-recognized style. I'll be curious to see what they have to say about the balance. Our F6 Sticke Alt took third place in the "specialty beer" category.

The other two beers entered were our It's A Boy! Dunkelweizen and our Road House Red. I thought the Dukelweizen might have a chance, but I'm not surprised it didn't place--particularly considering the first-place winner in the category was Rodney Kibzey's Weizenbock... as in THIS Weizenbock. I wasn't too happy with the Red (I'll do a full review later) and mainly entered that one to get some feedback, so I wasn't too disappointed that it didn't place.

Overall, I think what made me happy with this competition is that the beers that I thought should win did, and the ones I thought shouldn't didn't. Sometimes it's hard to judge your own beers. You spend so much time formulating a recipe and brewing and tasting that it becomes a challenge to approach it objectively. It's quite possible that the results were simply a fluke, but it's also possible that I'm getting better at figuring out when my beers are good and when they're just okay, and that's a skill I'll need to take my brewing to the next level.

So, getting back to the title of this post, why are the ribbons we won so expensive? Well, I got a surprise in the mail the other day. On our way to Two Brothers Brewpub to drop off the entries, I got nailed by a red-light camera in Naperville while making a left turn. So... $100 for the ticket plus $21 for the entries divided by two ribbons equals $60.50 per ribbon. Such is the price of homebrewing, I guess...


Blogger Señor Brew™ said...

Your cat needed some lazrs to shoot at the cop cam. Pew pew pew!

Congrats on the wins.

11:41 PM, April 01, 2009  
Blogger Russ said...

If cats could shoot lasers, I might actually consider getting one. Until then, I'll stick with dogs...

4:08 PM, April 02, 2009  
Blogger Señor Brew™ said...

Hey Russ, I got another leaky keg--I was going to email you about it, but I figure I would post here, make your blog look popular. :-)

I had a cobra tap on as you suggested. Maybe it's the O-ring on the beer out post (it could be the same keg, I don't remember), or maybe it's the quick disconnect (it could be the same one as before, I swap them around indiscriminately). I caught it pretty early, lost maybe 3 quarts of a not so great dusseldorf alt.

I'll post more on my blog.

11:31 PM, April 03, 2009  

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