Boston, MA – Innovative home brewers from Georgia and Illinois triumphed over more than 700 competitors to win this year’s Samuel Adams LongShot American Homebrew Contest – Category 23. Jim Koch and the Brewers of Samuel Adams beers, encouraged this year’s entrants to incorporate unusual and unique ingredients into their recipes.
Georgia resident Richard Roper created a brew he named Friar Hop Ale, and Illinois resident Rodney Kibzey submitted his Blackened Hops beer. As avid homebrewers know, the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) classifies beer styles into 22 different categories depending on style and brewing process, and they reserve “Category 23” for beers whose ingredients are so unusual that they need a place all their own. This year, the brewers at Samuel Adams wanted to focus the annual competition on these innovative beers.
In addition to Richard and Rodney’s winning brews, Samuel Adams also honors Employee Homebrew Winner Caitlin DeClerq for her Honey Bee’s Lavender Wheat beer. All three winning homebrewers will have the opportunity to brew alongside the Samuel Adams Brewers in Boston. Their recipes will be bottled and available nationally in the 2011 LongShot Category 23 Variety 6-Pack.
“I started homebrewing the first batch of Samuel Adams Boston Lager in my kitchen 26 years ago, and ever since then I’ve been passionate about creating unique and interesting brews that challenge the perception of what beer can be," said Jim Koch, founder and brewer of Samuel Adams beer. "This year we asked homebrewers to push the boundaries and brew their own one-of-a-kind beers. I was very impressed by the quality and creativity of the homebrew entries submitted to this year’s Samuel Adams Longshot American Homebrew Contest - Category 23; Richard Roper’s Friar Hop Ale, Rodney Kibzey’s Blackened Hops and Caitlin DeClerq’s Honey Bee’s Lavender Wheat are all exceptional beers that will give American craft beer drinkers an opportunity to taste interesting ingredients and flavors that they may have never expected in a beer.”
For more than 10 years, Samuel Adams employees have competed in their own annual homebrew competition. The staff contest challenges Samuel Adams employees to channel their passion and knowledge for craft beer by experimenting in their own kitchens. Once all the employee homebrews are submitted, Jim and the other brewers at Samuel Adams spend a day tasting the employees’ entries, and they choose three finalists. Those three employee homebrewers attend the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) and ask attendees to vote for their favorite. This year, GABF attendees chose Caitlin DeClerq’s brew as their favorite.
A panel of industry judges including Jason Alstrom and Todd Alstrom of Beer Advocate, Tom Dalldorf from Celebrator Beer News, John Holl, freelance beer writer, Julie Johnson of All About Beer, Bob Townsend from Southern Brew News, and Tony Forder of Ale Street News joined Jim Koch in selecting the consumer winners. Together, they selected the winning brews based on the American Homebrewers Association Beer Judge Certificate Program guidelines. Each beer was carefully evaluated on the aroma, appearance, flavor and mouthfeel of the beer as well as the overall uniqueness of the process ingredients used and creativity.
The 2011 Samuel Adams LongShot American Homebrew Contest - Category 23 Variety 6-Pack will be available nationwide in select retail stores beginning March 2011 for a suggested retail price of $9.99. The variety pack will include two bottles each of Richard Roper’s Friar Hop Ale, Rodney Kibzey’s Blackened Hops, and Caitlin DeClerq’s Honey Bee’s Lavender Wheat.
ABOUT THE WINNERS AND 2011 CONTEST
Richard Roper’s Friar Hop Ale combines his love of hops with his affinity for spicy Belgian ales. To develop his recipe, Roper created a hybrid of two styles, uniting the big hoppy taste of an IPA with the spicy, fruity flavor of a Belgian. The toasty caramel sweetness from the malt and Belgian candi sugar mimics a Belgian ale, while the big citrus hop notes of an IPA balance the style. A spicy yeast fermentation and hints of orange and coriander round out the brew. Richard’s Friar Hop Ale is a refreshing beer that can be enjoyed any time of year.
Rodney Kibzey’s Blackened Hops is a perfect combination of deep roasted malt character and citrusy hop bitterness. Harnessing eight years of homebrewing knowledge, Rodney found that combining debittered dark malts and citrusy hops yielded a surprising and unique flavor for this brew. Its black color hints at roasted malt and coffee flavors, but it is the big hop character really steals the show. Packed with citrusy and piney American hops, this beer has a big flavor and clean bitterness. This is Rodney’s second LongShot American Homebrew Contest win; he won in 2007 with a Weizenbock and his beer was included in the 2008 LongShot Variety Pack.
Caitlin DeClerq has worked as a member of the Samuel Adams sales team since 2006. She created her Honey Bee’s Lavender Wheat with dried lavender petals, giving it a fragrant but soft aroma. A citrus tartness and slight sweetness from the honey and vanilla balance out the finish in this California resident’s brew, perfect to sip while kicking back and relaxing.
2011 SAMUEL ADAMS LONGSHOT AMERICAN HOMEBREW CONTEST CATEGORY 23
Creativity is paramount in the 2011 Samuel Adams LongShot American Homebrew Contest - Category 23. For a second year, aspiring homebrewers will be challenged to push the boundaries of traditional brewing by submitting original brews that don’t fit into any of the traditional Beer Judge Certification Program style categories.
Interested beer drinkers can go online in March 2011 to www.samueladams.com for contest rules, regulations and information on purchasing a homebrewing kit. In addition, they can download Jim Koch’s video, “The Art of Homebrewing” offering his personal tips on making a successful homebrew. Winners will be announced at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival.
Jim Koch knows first hand the challenges and the personal rewards of creating a quality homebrew. He brewed the first batch of Samuel Adams Boston Lager in his kitchen in 1984. Now, 26 years later, Koch is a recognized pioneer of the U.S. craft-brewing revival. He continues to push the boundaries of brewing, by leading the charge in the extreme brewing category, and following his passion for elevating the craft beer-drinking experience.
When Samuel Adams began offering its homebrew contest 10 years ago, it was Jim’s dream that it would be a springboard for aspiring brewers, bringing attention to the quality of homebrewing, and perhaps launch a career or two. To date, Bob Gordash, winner of the 1996 LongShot Homebrew Contest, and Don Oliver, winner of the 2006 Samuel Adams Longshot American Homebrew Contest, have gone on to become professional brewers, turning their homebrewing hobby into a career as Jim did 26 years ago.