Homebrew Competition: Why bother?

competition picAs this blog would suggest, I like making, drinking and discussing beer. I brew fairly regularly, although not as frequently as I’d like.  I’ve gotten to a point where I feel the beers I make are fairly high quality. Unfortunately I suffer the classic homebrewer dilemma. You pour your friends a beer and they either absolutely love it, hate it or smile and drink it without offering useful feedback. Whichever situation you come across, it leaves you without a road map to better your beer. So what is a homebrewer to do? Enter a competition!

Firstly I have to say I am hardly a competition brewer. In fact, last week, the 2 beers I sent to the National Homebrew Competition constitute my first submission to any competition. So why the sudden interest in competitive brewing? Well it’s not due to some innate competitive nature. It’s my desire to get professional feedback on my beer. I can’t think of any other way to receive professional and anonymous feedback.

There is no pressure on the judge to be nice and no overly simplified critique like, “Yeah that tastes pretty good.” In addition, beers are judged according to the BJCP guidelines so it is not about whether or not they love the beer, but how well it was brewed to a particular style. Thus the feedback you get is better than what you can expect after saying, “Hey bro, whatcha think of this beer I made?”

I look forward to getting the results from the beers I submitted to NHC. I plan to submit beers to a few local competitions as well, Slurp and Burp, Oregon Hombrew Festival, COHO Spring Fling Homebrew Competition to name a few. I would encourage any homebrewer to enter competitions as a means to gain feedback and professional insight into their craft. You can find information on any number of competitions throughout the country by searching the National Homebrewers Association website. Good luck and happy brewing!