2013 LongShot Winners Announced!

Amidst the excitement of the Great American Beer Festival, earlier today we gathered at Marlowe’s in Denver to announce the three beers that were crowned the 2013 Samuel Adams LongShot American Homebrew Contest winners.

Jim was on hand for the announcement and recognized the winners as a few of the most talented homebrewers in the country. The level of enthusiasm for homebrewing and brewing craft beer is at an all time high in America.  One indicator is that the craft beer landscape has exploded into more than 2,500 craft breweries across the country, compared to the 83 that existed during the 1980s when Jim first got his start. The morning was filled with great discussion around regional homebrew clubs, what beers are  on-tap for future homebrews, and we even heard a few attendees talking about a future collaboration beer in the future!  That kind of creativity and collaboration is what craft beer is all about.

So without further hesitation, the 2013 LongShot winners are:

longshot 1

A big, malty Stout with notes of chocolate and coffee, Russ Brunner’s American Stout carries a velvety finish with notes of roasted cocoa. The LongShot judges were drawn to the richness of this stout and balanced taste, with hints of citrus and pine from the American hops adding a subtle bitterness. Russ shared that while he had been homebrewing for three years, this Stout was the first recipe he created on his own.

Perhaps the most unique style, Cesar Marron’s Grätzer (Grätzer was added to the 2013 Beer Style Guidelines earlier this year), is a light, Polish smoked wheat beer.  This brew packs a punch of smoky sweet flavor from the heirloom smoked malt, and spicy and herbal notes from Saaz hops.  Cesar says he drew inspiration for this unique recipe from a strong interest in the unusual, yet traditional, style.

Representing the Samuel Adams employees with a winning homebrew is Teresa Bury’s Pineapple India Pale Ale. This IPA is brewed with four different American hops that pack a punch of grapefruit character we’ve come to expect from these types of hops. However Teresa’s version provides mellow and complementary tropical fruit notes from the addition of real pineapples. We were interested to learn that Theresa had made it a personal challenge to brew a beer that carried a strong hop flavor but that was also balanced with her favorite fruit, pineapple. As she said, “I’ve been brewing beers to fit friends and family’s tastes for years, and I decided one day to brew one that fit my style.”

longshot 2

While we wait for these three brews to hit shelves next spring in the special LongShot variety 6-pack, we’ll be watching to see what these homebrewers brew next. Perhaps one of them could join the ranks of Bob Gordash (winner of the 1996 LongShot Homebrew Contest) and Don Oliver (winner of the 2006 Samuel Adams LongShot American Homebrew Contest) who have gone on to become professional brewers.

Congratulations to our three winners and to the more than 1,000 homebrewers who sent in entries! The passion for craft beer is stronger than ever because of the  community of homebrewers who put so much time and effort into their craft, pushing the boundaries of better tasting beer.

Cheers!

LongShot Winners Announced!

Earlier today we gathered at Marlowe’s in Denver for brunch to do some final sampling and vote tallying to determine the three beers that would be crowned the 2012 Samuel Adams LongShot American Homebrew Contest winners. While all of the finalists were hoping to be victorious, there was a common “it’s just great to be here” shared by all the competitors. As one of the finalist said on Thursday night at the Great American Beer Festival, “…to be surrounded by this many talented brewers and have my beer among theirs, well, I didn’t think that’d be happening when I started my first mash a few years ago.”

Jim toasts with our three LongShot Winners

While last year’s winners featured three extremely malt-forward offerings, this year’s winners will bring a very different flavors to drinkers.  Starting with Samuel Adams employee winner, Dave Anderson won with a Strawberry Lager. Prior to announcing Dave as the employee winner Jim jokingly said, “the Cincinnati brewery is hoping that Dave doesn’t win because they’re not sure how they’re going to get 1,800 pounds of strawberry’s into the brew house.” This bright and refreshing wheat beer doesn’t skimp on the strawberry taste as Dave used three pounds of strawberry in every batch.  We loved the lingering, almost creamy, sweetness that this brew leaves on the palate. Sam drinkers who reach for our Cherry Wheat or Blackberry Witbier will enjoy this style.

Our next winner, James Schirmer of California, brewed an American wheat beer that we could envision drinking on a remote West Coast beach. Named Beerflower Wheat, we found this brew to be an awesome balance of smooth, sweet malt flavors with an interesting twist of citrus and herbal notes. While Jim introduced this beer he complimented James on his use of hibiscus which really gave the beer a delicate flavor while offering a slight floral and almost sweet aroma. A slightly darker beer then Dave’s Strawberry Lager, this brew will give you a nice medium body that finishes crisp on the palate.

A true coast to coast competition, our final winner Zach Adams (must be something in the last name) hails from Connecticut where he brewed an Imperial American IPA dubbed Magnificent Seven. For our Sam drinkers who enjoy a nice hoppy offering, this will be your favorite. Poured with a beautiful bronze coloring, we enjoyed the hop bitterness with hints of grapefruit, pine and earthy notes that are traditional in American hops. Depending on who you ask, this medium-bodied brew will also offer a wide variety of aroma ranging from caramel to citrus/lemon to piney. We caught Zach’s buddy Pat who traveled with him to Denver who was sharing the good news with family back home in Conneticut. A humorous ’I wish I had payed more attention while Zach was brewing in the garage’ was shared by Pat.We’re excited to get started on production of these three brews (well, except maybe for Dave’s) with an eye on releasing in February of 2013. We look forward to sharing more of these three talented homebrewers stories in the coming months leading up.

Congratulations to our three winners and to the over 1,000 entries we received! Cheers to the growth of craft beer… one homebrew at a time.

Tags: ,