“Longshot” is a homebrew contest sponsored by Samuel Adams. The winners get to have their beer nationally distributed. It generally attracts upwards of 700 entries; that’s a lot of competition.
I finally got around to picking up a six-pack of the 2010 winners. (You can get more information from the Samuel Adams press release.) And none-too-soon, as the 2011 winners will be announced at the Great American Beer Festival at the end of September.
From the press release:
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.
These certainly are interesting. Unclassifiable, almost.
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.
Orange with a bit of chill haze. Head drops right away. There’s that Belgian spice: coriander, clove, banana. Mouthfeel is light, especially for how “big” it is. It’s pretty good, and I’ll gladly have another. However, if I’m going to have an unholy alliance of a Belgian style and an IPA I prefer Raging Bitch from Flying Dog.
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.
Dark chocolate brown with a macchiatto head. Aroma has some of that nice roasty flavor, but I’m getting quite a bit of pine from the hops. Good, rich, bitter flavor, reminescent of a good coffee. Even more bitterness in the aftertaste. I like this one a lot. (7% ABV)
Caitlin DeClercq 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.
Light gold and clear with a white head. Floral aroma, which is to be expected with lavender petals, but it’s not perfumy, like I’ve had with some beers. Nice, full body. Not overly sweet, which I was afraid of. Nice bitter aftertaste, but balanced. I really like this. I want some more. (5.5% ABV)
Congratulations to all the winners. That’s quite an accomplishment.