Saturday night was Cycle Works second Bikers Love Brews/Pedaling for Porters home brew contest, to call it an annual event would be a bit of a misnomer as the last one was held in July of 2013 but plans are in the works to make it so. I was at that event, back when I was a mere fellow customer and ThNNDDR participant; if you'd like to read up on that first event you can find it here.
The concept was originally cooked up by Nathan after several customers brought in some of their home brews and would stick around to talk about the ins and outs of home brewing. From that the idea was born, find a group of home brewers that were also active in Lincoln's cycling community and try to make a fun event for brewers and judges alike with a little friendly competition thrown in for good measure. Nathan was in town for the event but unfortunately had to leave before Saturday due to unexpected circumstances, it's a shame he wasn't around to see the second rendition of his idea come to life. Especially with all the work he put into the event remotely, guy can still work his magic even from hundreds of miles away.
Getting things ready for the big event, showed up about 4:30 to help setup tables and clear out enough floor space for 100+ people. Rick and I were sort of stuck with the setup but Debe's and Michaela's help was totally voluntary and very much appreciated and it allowed us to get things set in no time at all.
Can't forget the raffle prizes, had lots of great sponsors for the event; Northern Brewer, Modern Monks, Zipline, QBP, Boiler Brewing (Lincoln's newest brewery), Ploughshare, Blue Blood Brewing Company and of course Cycle Works and The Moose's Tooth. Blue Blood Brewing really stepped up to the plate and offered to allow the winning team the opportunity to brew their beer at the Blue Blood facilities and have it as a featured tap when they open their new Robber's Cave taproom. I'm not even a home brewer and I was pretty excited about that, can't imagine how stoked the winning team must be.
The only thing that might go better with beer than bicycles is pizza and thanks to the great folks at Spokes Mobile Wood Fire Pizza we had delicious food for the event as well. If you've never had a pizza from them, get on Facebook and find a location where they will be and go there. You won't regret it but get there early or expect to wait a little bit because once they fire up that oven and start making the pies the smell is amazing and draws a crowd.
Right around 6 o'clock the brewers started showing up so that they could get things set and ready for the crowds that would show up at 7.
With a bit of time to spare, the brewers got a chance to walk around and sample everyone else's beer so that they could size up the competition.
In no particular order, a few of the beers that were brewed for the competition. Unfortunately I was pulling double duty for this so I didn't get around to everyone's booth for the tasting or the pictures. All of the ones that I did try were absolutely amazing.
Right at 7 the doors opened for those who had one of the magic tickets, after grabbing their raffle tickets, scorecards and pencils they were unleashed on the 14 brew teams and the judging began. Each score card was numbered 1-16 (room for expansion) and it was the judges job was to taste each Porter and rate them 14-1, with 14 being the favorite and 1 being the least favorite. As you can imagine the tallying of 85+ scorecards can take awhile so there was already talk about narrowing that down for next time and just having everyone vote for their personal top 3.
Had a pretty amazing group of judges for the event, huge thanks to everyone who came out to help determine the winner. With the beer flowing and the pizza cooking, each judge had about an hour and 15 minutes to walk around and talk to each brew team while sampling and rating their beer. I don't know about the judges or the brewers but as the emcee for the night, that hour and a quarter just flew by.
With the time up and the scorecards all turned in it was time to tally the votes and give out the schwag via the raffle while the totals were tallied. A lot of rad prizes given away, I personally would have loved to have gone home with any of them, a big thanks again to all of our sponsors who contributed some truly amazing prizes.
As I said I was on double duty for the night and I dropped the ball on the picture side of things and didn't get any of the raffle winners or ,even sadder yet, didn't get a picture of the winners either. Total and complete failure on that end of things... however I can tell you who did win. The 2nd runner up or 3rd place was the team with the Baltic Porter (affectionately also dubbed the Caucus beer due to the fact that the brewers dropped the beer off and then left to attend the Caucus before returning near the end), runner up was a Chocolate Chipotle Porter and the winning beer, with the opportunity to brew their beer at the Blue Blood Brewing Company's new Robber's Cave taproom, was an absolutely delicious Peanut Butter Porter made with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups! It smelled ridiculously like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and tasted just as good as it smelled, I'd definitely pony up $5 to have a full pint of this beer when it's featured at Blue Bloods.
As I said, we aren't sure if this is going to be a semi-annual event or an annual one but we will be back for sure either way. Thank you one final time to all the sponsors, brewers, pizza crew and judges for helping to make this a really rad event. You guys all rock!