Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
If you have a hydrometer or a carboy in your basement, chances are you've made your own beer before — heck, you may consider yourself somewhat of a budding brewmaster.
Well, if you think your lager or ale stands up to other homebrewers, you may want to think about entering the first annual Half Pints Pro/Am Brew Challenge. Put on by the Winnipeg Brew Bombers in conjunction with local brewery Half Pints, the competition pits homebrewer vs. homebrewer in a battle to see whose beer reigns supreme.
(Of note: There are also categories for mead, cider, and perry [pear cider], which I get to help judge.)
There are two overarching categories — professional and amateur — with first, second and third place in each category. A professional and amateur winner will be named from each beer category on both sides, from which a Best of Show will be crowned.
The winner of Best of Show gets a special treat — they'll get to make 1,000 litres of their beer at Half Pints Brewing Company as a special release, which will then be available at the brewery and at select pubs/beverage establishments on tap.
Interested in entering? You can do so here until November 22.
Judging takes place from Nov. 28-30, which is closed to the public. There are, however, a few public events taking place over that weekend. Thursday night is the Judges' Pub Night at the Yellow Dog Tavern (which will feature a special Half Pints cask), Friday night is the Brewer's Beer Dinner at Mise Haute Prairie Cuisine, and Saturday is the awards ceremony, taking place at Barley Brothers. Tickets for the beer dinner are $65 plus taxes and gratuities — for the menu etc. click here. The other events, to my knowledge, are free.
Brew Bombers vice president David Phillips says he hopes the event can eventually morph into some sort of craft beer week.
Of note: serving home brew to the public isn't allowed, so you won't be able to taste the competition unless you make friends and do so behind closed doors, which is really a shame.
The deadline for getting your beer/mead/cider/perry in to the competitionis Nov. 22, so fire up the bottling line and get to it. Registration is online here.
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About Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson
When he wasn't bashing on a drum kit in local punk rock bands, Ben spent the mid '90s hucking cases of wine around to pay for two English degrees. Now he's the Winnipeg Free Press wine columnist and blogger.
The extent of Ben's wine experience in the mid-90s was memories of accidentally leaving a bottle of White Zinfandel in the freezer overnight, and the ensuing mess he was left with. Between 1996 and 2005 Ben absorbed all he could about wine while working at wine shops to pay for school. Meanwhile, he was churning out papers for his BA and MA in English (from the Universities of Winnipeg and Manitoba, respectively).
Ben became the Winnipeg Free Press' weekly wine columnist in 2005, and two years later joined Wine Access magazine as a contributor, a member of their national tasting panel and a judge at the Canadian Wine Awards and International Value Wine Awards until the magazine closed up shop in 2013.
In 2013 Ben joined the Winnipeg Free Press as a copy/web editor.
Blogs that Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson follows:
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