The home-brewers of today might be the professionals of tomorrow, so this week The Brit is experiencing something different – beer judging!
Marc Wilson, head brewer at Oswego Brewing invited The Brit and other “celebrity” judges (his words not mine!) to help review the entries for the Oswego Brew at the Bridge home-brew competition. The final grand winner of this competition gets to brew a full batch of their beer which will then be available at the Oswego tap-room.
Joining Marc and myself were Gillerson’s Grubbery owner, Dan Emerson, Flight bottle-shop and taproom owner Tony Weeks, Emancipation Brewing‘s owner/brewer Lincoln Slagel, OBC’s tap-room manager Aaaron Royston, and last but not least, Hopvine’s brewer and part-time co-host of the podcast, Ken McMullen.
Dividing up into teams, each with a professional to guide us, we sampled the nearly 50 entries and used a home-brew judging form to pass on our ratings and thoughts on each brew. From this, the winners of each category were selected who then went on to the final judging that took place at the festival on Saturday.
And the winner is…Tony Daniels from PALE, with his Trappist Single called Thirsty Abbott. Congratulations to Tony and we had a lot of fun judging, and were impressed with the overall quality of all the entries! Cheers!
Play the show from the PodBean player, or our player below…
Yup, it’s that time of year again when we assemble a panel of ‘experts’ to review some of the brews readily available on the shelves this season, both from Illinois and beyond. On hand to pass arbitrary judgement we have beer-guru and ex-cohost, Mark Naski, Hopvine brewmaster Ken McMullen, beer historian and glass collector John Bittermann, and PALE homebrew member John Lawlor. Note: this show was recorded ahead of CLB’s Oktoberfest celebration, and ahead of The Brit’s retirement. CLB is done, and The Brit is free!
We always have a calibration beer and this time round Mark has brought something original from the state of Idaho, Bear Island Brewing‘s Imperial Idaho Potato Ale! Mark tells us the story of how it came about, and the military connection to the beer and brewery.
Our Oktoberfest brews were randomly selected, and randomly selected for tasting by the panel picking a number, then tasting and commenting on the beer, followed by a reveal. At the end we’ll pick our favorites and not so favorites. And if you don’t agree, well, send us an email!
The pub chat hits many topics such as; why classic styles are making a comeback, what starting and finishing gravity means, what is Plato, what is honey malt, which German festival to attend, we dare to question a brew from Brooklyn Brewery and what we’d say if we met Garrett Oliver, and what storing a beer in the car does to it (apologies to Lucky Monk!).
We have an extra beer for our wrap-up, brought by Mark from Ram in Boise. It’s an award winner from 2018 GABF!
This week we have a special edition of the podcast, recorded over two sessions down in Georgetown IL, home of Big Thorn Farm & Brewery. Here, Anna Schweig and Aaron Young have created what some people may think of as the perfect lifestyle – open air, country, and brewing beer. Here in Vermillion County, BTFB sits on 15 acres of woodland and open field where a grass roots brewery has been quietly creating some of the finest non-mainstream styles in Illinois.
The Brit, Phil Clark, and co-host Ken McMullen spent time with Anna and Aaron, but technical issues meant a return trip to capture more audio. And on this visit, a small breeze blowing through the Treehouse Bar caused more issues for the recording. However, we’ve done some post-production and we hope you will find the result, a good listen.
We hear how they started with nothing, cleared the land, put in solar power and some wind power, and are now a unique off-the-grid brewery. Then they erected the fabulous Treehouse Bar, where toy can relax in among the beautiful trees while sipping on everything from sour cherry gruits to green grape saisons. And for those who want to make a day of it, bring your grilling supplies and food and make use of the many BBQ’s and picnic benches they provide. In the winter, the Greenhouse bar is reported to be the place to go, where a double-barrel stove keeps their clientele warm and snug, even when it’s freezing outside.
Listen in, then head down there and experience it for yourself; we’re rating this one of the Top 5 breweries to visit in Illinois!
Play the show from our player or the PodBean player below…