Beer Summit, Vengeance du Gros Homme, and Patriot Homebrew competition

Update on What’s been going on…

Beer Summit 2009 – Winter Jubilee

On Saturday – January 17th, Ryan – Amber and I took the train to Boston. Yeah, we decided to go into Boston on the coldest day of the year — but we had a good reason: The Beer Summit – Winter Jubilee. Due to the strange train schedule, we ventured into the city early. Did the cold slow down of brain cells or we were out of our mind?  Not sure, but we decided to walk from North Station to past the theater district (to get to the Castle).  Boy was it a cold walk.

OK, now to the event. This was our first time attending the Beer Summit. We knew that they host 3-4 events a year, but we didn’t know what to expect at the Castle. It was a fun time, but it got rather crowded and the restroom lines were rather long. Here are some highlights of the event (from my perspective):

* Peak Organic was pouring their Espresso Amber – which is very delicious. Each bottle contains an equivalent of 1 shot of espresso in each bottle.  If you haven’t tried it, pick up a 4 pack before its all gone.

* Blue Hills Brewing Company poured their first official beer and attended their first event.

* Redhook brought along their Winder Brother’s beer with them. There’s a rumor that they might be distributing the Windmer beer’s in New England sometime in 2009.

* Martha’s Exchange brought a couple of amazing offerings, including a cask conditioned beer.

* We learned that a fellow UMASS Lowell guy (James) is working at Pennichuck Brewing Company.

It was nice to see some old colleagues and meet some new friends.

Here’s the long list of Breweries that were present:

Allagash Brewing Co, Aspall Cyders, Atwater Brewing Co , Babycham Perry, Batemans Brewery, Belhaven Brewery, Berkshire Brewing Co, Blackthorn Cider, Blue Hills Brewing Co, Boston Beer Company, Boulder Beer Co, Brasserie Kronenbourg, Brasserie Lefebvre, Brasserie Unibroue, Brasseries Grimbergen, Brewery Malheur, Brooklyn Brewery, Cabot Cheese, Cape Ann Brewing Co, Carlsberg USA, Charles Wells Pub Co, Cisco Brewers, Clipper City Brewing Co, Cody Brewing Co, De Koninck Brouwerij, De Proefbrouwerij, DL Geary Brewing Co, Dogfish Head Brewery, Dr. Gonzo’s Uncommon Condiments, Eurobrews, Franziskaner Weissbier Brewery , Gardner Ale House, Gerbs Gourmet Pumpkin Seeds, Gina Cigar, Green Mountain Beverage, Harpoon Brewery, Haverhill Brewing/The Tap, Honest Town Brewery, Hugs & Halos, Ireland on the Road, Jasper Murdoch’s Ale House, Konig Brauerei, La Resistance Distributing, Lagunitas Brewing Co, Long Trail Brewing Co, Mad River Brewing Co, Martha’s Exchange, Mayflower Brewing Co, Mercury Brewing Co, Narragansett Brewing Co, Newport Storm Brewery, North Coast Brewing Co, Offshore Ale Co, Opa Opa Steakhouse & Brewery, Paper City Brewery, Peak Organic Brewing Co, Pennichuck Brewing Co, Rapscallion Brewery, Redhook Brewery, Saranac, Sebago Brewing, Shipyard Brewing Co, Smuttynose Brewing Co, Southern Tier Brewing Co, Spaten North America, Stoudt’s Brewing Co, Trinity Brewhouse, Tuckerman Brewing Co, Victory Brewing Co, Watch City Brewing, Widmer Brewing, Woodstock Inn & Brewery, Young’s Brewery

Martha’s Exchange: Vengeance du Gros Homme Release Night‏

On Friday January 23rd at 8pm Martha’s Exchange of Nashua, Ryan and I were present for the unveiling of, Vengeance du Gros Homme (for non Francophones – Revenge of the Fat Man) a collaboration between Martha’s Greg Ouellette and Mike Roy of Salem Beer Works.

Vengeance is based upon Roy’s Imperial Stout recipe that triumphed in the 2008 Quentin Cup, a homebrewing competition started by Greg and his friends back in 1994 and still going strong almost 15 years later. At 7.2 % this is a very “session able” winter stout that does not lack character. Greg’s recent samplings note that it has a great full body, with plenty of roast,caramel/toffee, a slight red wine tannin character underneath and a hint of smoke. A blend of American and English hops give it a good hop presence and even comes through in the nose along with some roasted notes. It feels bigger than the ABV suggests.

Ryan and I arrived at the restaurant early and we found a place at the end of the bar. Their food menu is a mixture of pub fare and full course meals. We selected their buffalo fingers and pulled pork quesadilla apps. This was our first visit, so we played it safe and got the hot sauce on the side. We were glad that we did. It was a scorcher. Also, the pulled pork quesadillas were perfect.  The beer sampler contained 6 different beers.  In addition, they currently have a Flemish Sour available in bottles – yum. It was one of the best that I’ve tasted.

Once the clock struck 8 PM, the Vengeance was unleashed. I am a fan of Russian Imperial Stouts, but this one was a little different.  I believe that non traditional Centennial hops were used for bittering.  This modification to the typical recipe added a hoppy citrus – grapefruit – taste with a soft bitter finish. I appreciated the deviation from the norm. The bitterness smoothed out the typical warm ending.

For more info on Martha’s, check out their website:

Patriot Homebrew competition – hosted by Boston Beer Company:

Saturday, January 24th, I participated as a judge for the Patriot Homebrew competition. The judging took place at the EMC club of Gillette Stadium. The winner of the event will have their beer brewed by Sam Adams and it will be served at all Patriot Home games. What a prize!!

I was selected to judge Pilsners in the morning session and IPA’s in the afternoon session. I think this was my 6th or 7th homebrew competition that I have participated in, but it still feels like my first. There is always a chance to learn more and I was fortunate to be paired with a bunch of judges that enjoy teaching.  Beer is so complex and I still feel like a newbie. During the pilsner judging, I learned that fruity esters can be a cause of fermenting at a warmer temperature than recommended.

By the end of the day, 17 different beers (from the 175 entered)  were selected for the the best of show competition. The goal was to select the top 5 beers and then Boston Beer Company will select the finalist. I believe the top 5 beers included the following: Oatmeal Stout, California Common, Oktoberfest, Maibock and a ESB.  Last year’s winner was an IPA brewed by Adam Walsh. Who will win this year?

The strange beer of the day was a Maple Bacon Porter. Yes, we believe that bacon was placed in the fermenter. When popping the top, there was a chunky layer of fat sitting there – staring at you. When it was poured into the glass, it looked like floating chunks of egg. It was rather strange. I wasn’t involved  judging this beer, but a I did give it a try. As you can imagine, when it was poured into the glass, the head immediately dissolved. It was heavily carbonated, but it didn’t taste that bad. I had a mental block and couldn’t really drink it. I can’t image drinking a full pint, but I hope the brewer enjoys it.

If you have any questions or if you have photos to share from the event, please let me know.



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