Home brewing in Connecticut Discussions - CT Beer Trail

Saturday, August 20, 2011

CT Beer Trail & Cambridge House Brew Pub Home Brew Competition

Hosted by: Cambridge House Brew Pub, CT Beer Trail, Zok’s Homebrewing & Winemaking Supplies, Brew and Wine Hobby, Maltose Express

The Competition at a Glance: Cambridge House Brew Pub Granby, Zok’s Homebrewing Supplies, Brew and Wine Hobby, Maltose Express and CTBeerTrail.net are proud to present the First Annual CT Beer Trail & Cambridge House Brew Pub Home Brew Competition. This event will be held on Sunday, November 13, 2011 at the Cambridge House Brew Pub, located at 357 Salmon Brook St., Granby, CT.  This competition will not be a sanctioned event, but the beers judged will reflect the categories described by the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP), available at bjcp.com. Only category 1-23 will be accepted. There WILL NOT be mead or cider category entries accepted.

NOTE: Homebrewers must enter their beers using the standard BJCP categories, designating the category and sub category entered by the appropriate numbers and letters. The organizing committee will then collapse all entries into eight (8) distinct categories. The categories will be Light Ale, Amber Ale, Dark Ale, Light Lager, Amber Lager, Dark Lager, Belgian Strong Ale and Specialty Beer. These eight collapsed categories will incorporate all twenty-three BJCP categories. *Ex. Dark Ales will incorporate Stouts, Porters and Scottish/Irish Ales. Other collapsed groups will be similarly combined.  Beers in these collapsed categories will be judged together, and the final result will reflect the individual merits of each beer. Though it may appear that we are judging apples and oranges collectively, the resulting winner of said category will stand out as a definitive beer in its style parameters.

The competition organizers promise a professionally run competition with feedback for all entries. Brewers will receive comments on their beers from official BJCP score sheets filled out by judges recognized by the BJCP, professional brewers and novice judges under the direction of experienced BJCP judges, who have volunteered their valuable time. In addition to the first, second and third place winners in the eight distinct categories, a “Best of Show” winner will be awarded by a special judging panel. Additionally, a “Brewmaster’s Choice” award will be sponsored by the Cambridge House Brew Pub. The winning beer selected as the “Brewmaster’s Choice”, which may or may not be the “Best of Show” will then be brewed at the brewpub at the discretion of the Cambridge House Brew Pub’s owner. We will also conduct a separate judging which is strictly for novice homebrewers who have entered their beers in competition for the first time.  This judging will be similar to a “Best of Show” panel, but the beers will not have to win their respective classes to be included. We feel this new award will prompt many new homebrewers to enter their beers into competition.

Entries may be sent or dropped off at the locations listed below:

  • Zok’s Homebrewing & Winemaking Supplies
  • Brew and Wine Hobby
  • Maltose Express
  • Beer & Wine Makers Wharehouse
  • Cambridge House Brew Pub

Sunday, January 16, 2011

CT Beer Trail: Blazing a trail to local craft beer

Connecticut area beer bloggers wanted!
Connecticut has a seriously underrated beer community and I intend on changing that. I'm working with the breweries, brewpubs, home brew shops, and eventually the states beer bars to bring them all together in an online community site, CTBeerTrail.net.

The intent of the site is to shed some light on the state's best kept secret, its beer and the wonderful people that bring it to us. I want to enable Connecticut's craft beer producers, supporters and home brewers to educate the state's beer drinkers, and to inform beer travelers on where to go to get some great beer in the Constitution State.

The site is still under initial development and beta testing, but don't let that stop you from checking it out and signing up. The goal is to get the site rolling for a gradual launch in February. I'll be adding more local CT beer business to our already growing list, and we'll be featuring in-depth articles on the people behind CT beer in the months to come. Eventually the site will be THE place to go for the latest in beer events in the state, and the best way to connect with craft beer professionals and fans within the state.

If you are a Connecticut area beer blogger and have any interest in having your content featured on the CTBeerTrail site, drop me a line. In the mean time, remember if your not making your own beer then at least buy and drink local beer.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Beer Review: Raging Bitch 20th Ann BIPA

Our friends over at Flying Dog were kind enough to send me a couple of bottle of their Raging Bitch Belgian-style IPA just before Christmas.  I'm finally getting to posting my review...

Beer: Flying Dog's Raging Bitch (20th Anniversary) Belgian-style IPA
Served: From snifter
Location: At my house
Style: Belgian IPA

Inspired by the American India Pale Ale (IPA) and Double IPA, more and more Belgian brewers are brewing hoppy pale colored ales for the US market (like Chouffe & Urthel), and there's been an increase of Belgian IPAs being brewed by American brewers. Generally, Belgian IPAs are considered too hoppy by Belgian beer drinkers.

Various malts are used, but the beers of the style are finished with Belgian yeast strains (bottle-conditioned) and the hops employed tend to be American. You'll generally find a cleaner bitterness vs. American styles, and a pronounced dry edge (very Belgian), often akin to an IPA crossed with a Belgian Tripel. Alcohol by volume is on the high side. Many examples are quite cloudy, and feature tight lacing, excellent retention, and fantastic billowy heads that mesmerize (thanks, in part, to the hops).

Belgian IPA is still very much a style in development.

Average alcohol by volume (abv) range: 6.0-12.0%  On to the review...

1. Appearance - Burnt amber with a cloudy haze.  A beautiful creamy head with some lacing.

2. Smell - Starts with some malt and Belgian yeast, finishes with hoppy citrus and...  raisin?

3. Taste - Wow, that started off very hoppy, taste of grapefruit, distinct yet subtle Belgian yeast flavor gradually balances out the flavor as the beer settles.  Initial hop blast mellows and a butter scotch and citrus flavor join it on stage. A dry finish, very tasty.

4. Mouthfeel - Nice carbonation, a little prickly with the grapefruit flavor and texture, but in a great way.

5. Drinkability
- Goes down surprisingly easily considering the IBUs and alcohol levels.  But if you take the time to enjoy this one slowly, it makes for a nice fireside beer with a kick.  I can see myself picking up a six pack of this delight over the winter for a change of pace from winter beers.

Drinkability Scale from 1-10: An 8.5.  It would be a 9, but you can only drink so many 'high octane' beers in one sitting.  This is more of a sipping beer.  But a delight none the less

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Give the gift of glassware this year

Are you looking for a last minute holiday gift idea for the beer enthusiast in your life? Why not get a high quality beer stein or beer glass from the folks at 1001beersteins.com?

Imagine the joy in their eyes when they discover their new stein on Christmas morning. Better yet, imagine their happiness as they enjoy a craft beer from their new glass by the holiday fire. It’s a great idea, but which stein or glass is right for them?

Not to worry, 1001beersteins.com has a seemingly endless variety, ranging from traditional German Beer Steins to fun and unusual novelty glassware. I personally have my eye on the Air Force 1 Liter Boot for next year’s Oktoberfest party at the work. Functional glassware and a conversation piece all in one, what a great gift idea!

If you’re looking for something personalized to your loved one’s job or hobby, try searching by price, category, and best sellers and sales to find something that will suit your taste and your budget. I’m sure you’ll find the perfect gift, but hurry Christmas will be here before you know it.

Friday, December 3, 2010

6th Annual Not So Snooty Beer, Wine and Cheese Adventure (Photos)

This year's event was a success, thanks largely to the outstanding support and participation from Connecticut's beer community.  Josh Mead was kind enough to capture the evening's activities in a series of photos.  Check out the entire collection here.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Introducing would-be brewers to homebrewing

This post should really be entitled "Re-Introducing Myself to Homebrewing" seeing as how I have not brewed in well over a year. Pretty pathetic for a guy who runs a blog called "homebrewbeer.net" but sometimes the truth is not pretty.

Making time for hobbies and diversions has been a challenge for me, with a toddler and a new born in the house. I've been trying to find the time to get back into it, and a friend may have given me the push I needed to get back on track.

A buddy from my weekly bible study brought up the idea of brewing, and asked if I would be interested in getting together with him and his brother for some beer making fun. Apparently they have both become disillusioned with their careers and toyed with the idea of opening a brewery or brew pub.  They figured a little homebrewing might be just the thing to get their feet wet.

Ahh... The old "lets open a brewery" plan B that lives in the back of the minds of so many craft beer lovers, including mine. When our day-to-day lives slaving away at what ever we do for a living loses it's luster, visions of brew tanks dance in our heads.  Sadly the plan typically includes these steps, and these steps only:

  1. Brew a few batches of beer
  2. Stumble upon the ultimate beer recipe with no real brewing training or experience
  3. Some how find funding to open a brewery or brewpub
  4. Become wildly successful with minimal effort

I'm still on step 1 myself...  Oh well, no harm in dreaming and having fun while doing it.  So, what's a good simple first beer to make with newbies?  Any thoughts?

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