I'm obsessed with Allagash, especially the stuff they do with brett. So when I found out they were sponsoring an event at Threes Brewing here in NYC I knew I wanted to get involved.
Lucky for me, a homebrewing competition was part of the event. I entered, was excited to be selected for the first round and then was EXTREMELY excited to be slected to pour my beer at the People's Choice Competition (sponsored by our local homebrew shop Bitter & Esters).
This was my first time doing an in person competition. I had never poured my beers for strangers before so I was pretty nervous about the reaction.
I showed up on competition day with a very classic saision (all Belgian pilsner with some oats and wheat for mouthfeel, saaz hops, the whole thing!) and was floored by how creative the competition was! Everything from rye to limes and even brett were in the competitive saisons. I had fun trying everyone's and pretty quickly it was time for the "people" roll in and make their "choice."
I met so many great people and was overwhelmed with the positive feedback about my beer. This experience definitely taught me to stop questioning myself. One of the other brewers even said to me, "Don't describe your beer as a 'plain old saison' its great!"
When it came time to pour for the Judges Choice I was so busy talking to people at my table that I poured the bottom of a bottle into the cup. Oops!! I hope the judges like yeast!
By 4pm all my beer was gone and we went back to hanging out with the other homebrewers. When the representative from Allagash, Karri, came out to announce the winners, I didn't even pay attention! I was up against so many people that had competed before that I had no expectation.
So you can imagine my surprise when she announced I had WON People's Choice. I got back to my place in the back of the pack, ecstatic about my gift card to Three's and thinking about how great it felt to know people truly enjoyed the beer. When Karri announced I had ALSO won Judge's Choice. Whatttt?! I was thrilled.
So, a few things I learned from this whole competition thing:
- One, I need to do it more! Sharing my homebrew is so fun and rewarding.
- I need to be more confident in my skills. I'm always apologizing for my beer not being perfect, but what is perfection anyway??
- I'm so thankful that Allagash made Saison Day a holiday! It will definitely be on my calendar next year.
- Three's is an awesome brewery. So much space for NYC and lots of different styles - a dream!!