Monday, September 2, 2013
Homebrew competition provides tasty glimpse into DFW’s craft beer future
Many of the homebrewers aspire to open their own breweries someday.
DEEP ELLUM Patrons of the 2nd Annual Labor of Love Homebrew Competition got a taste of what’s to come in the DFW craft beer scene on Sunday.
Deep Ellum Brewing Company invited more than 40 local home brewers to its facility on Labor Day Weekend to serve up original recipes created with ingredients provided by the microbrewery. Home brews were judged in a variety of categories and, after an evening of intriguing samples, seven aspiring brewers and hobbyists walked away victorious, carrying an artistically spray-painted beer case as proof.
Brewers Ed Koranda and Jeremy Brodt of Mox Nix Brewery (Grapevine) won the Best Malt Beer award as well as Best in Show for The Dubya Weizenbock, one batch (30 barrels) of which Deep Ellum Brewing Company will brew and serve on tap at the brewery. Other winners include:
Best Whim Beer — Thomas Warmath and Jerrod Womack for their Fallen Saison
Best Hoppy Beer — Lin and Sara Tsung of Night Owl Craft Ales for the Gozer IPA
Best Spicy Beer — William Neuman for his Spicy Farmhouse Ale
Best Session Beer — Peter Hemmington of Short Shift Brewery for his Marilyn Blonde Cream Ale
Best Dark Beer — Karl Sanford and Jeremy Brodt of The Manhattan Project for the Edgar Sengier's Beligican Brown Ale
Best Sour Beer — Kimberly Rhea with North Texas Homebrewers Association for her Tartalicious Sour Ale
People's Choice Award — Oak Highlands Brewery
When gates to the event opened at 5 p.m., a line of thirsty hopheads took over the block outside of DEBC. They were offered a complimentary beer to ease to heat of the day, though the relief was short lived. Home brewers’ tables were crowded into a warehouse space within the brewery, and walking from table to table was like trudging through Bayou marsh land.
However, the heat and humidity did little to deter excitement during the event. Buzzing around pink-cheeked and sweaty, beer enthusiasts chatted about barley, grains and the like as home brewers poured sudsy samples of truly unique beer. The experimental nature of home brewing yielded an abundance of distinct and never-before-tasted flavors Sunday, even for this reporter, who makes a living of “researching” local brew.
Unfortunately, I was unable to try every winning recipe. By the end of Labor of Love, drinkers had floated many of the kegs, especially the ones dubbed awesome by DEBC’s panel of judges. (Winners were announced at 8 p.m.)
The winning IPA from Night Owl Craft Ales, which is a home brewing collective out of the Fairview/McKinney area, is surprisingly light, with a champagne-like finish. It's accessible to even those partial to another style. But what really turned heads at this table was the group’s Hatch Chili Saison, a pungent and incredibly spicy blend that would pair well hummus or a grilled cheese sandwich.
Jeremy Brodt of The Manhattan Project brewed the Belgican Brown (that’s not a spelling error) for a friend’s wedding. He took a traditional Belgian recipe and added some American flair, so the flavor sits lightly on the tongue but also has complexity.
The Dubya from Mox Nix is a commanding, full-bodied hefeweizen whose banana notes jump out at first sip. Kimberly Rhea’s Tartalicious is just that, with a strong mustard effervescence. And the Marilyn Blonde Cream Ale from Short Shift is light beer that sits thickly in the mouth and is smooth from the first to the last gulp.
Other unique brews worth mentioning include Last Call Brewing Company’s Coffee Pale Ale — robust in flavor, but less demanding that a porter or stout — and a Honey Basil Hefeweizen from the North Texas Hombrewers Association, which had a fresh farm-to-mug taste.
Labor of Love was a great event not only because of the premiere beverage offerings. It was also a window into the area’s craft beer future. Some of the brewers, like Mox Nix brewer Koranda, were just competing for the love of beer. Koranda works as a special agent for Homeland Security and told Pegasus News he has no firm plans to open a brewery. Others, such as Hemmington of Short Shift Brewery, aspire to take the professional plunge.
Either way, North Texas craft beer has a tasty outlook and a market that is thirsty for more.Follow @tineywristwatch
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