A Triumphant Return…Sort Of

Written by Dee Gross for crazycow252.blogspot.com

After months and months of preparation, two huge events converged on the same Saturday. My comprehensive final and The Music City Brew-Off.  Two glorious events that could change both our lives in a profound way.

 

 

The brew off was finally here.  This first night, as always is a dinner.  I sadly, was studying for my comprehensive exam and drinking sub-par margaritas, but Husband was able to drink in everything the night had to offer.

 

 

 

 

 

It was held once again at the Courtyard Marriott in Goodlettsville, TN.  The event has almost outgrown the conference room, but the staff was so nice and helpful, it will be hard to find another hotel that keeps talking about what a “fun” group we are.  Though it was a bit crowded, the evening still held many delights.

 

 

 

 

Once of the first wonderful surprises was this gentleman.  He is the host of an internet beer show that is quite popular. If you want to see the episode he created about the brew off or another others he creates, check out Chip Walton with Chopandbrew.com.

 

 

 

 

Amid all the hobnobbing, there was the beer drinking.  This was the first of many brews to come  or New Belgium 1554.  There was a representative from Sweetwater Brewing so plenty of beer came from them as well. Husband’s favorite was the LowRyeder IPA which won a gold medal at GABF.

 

 

 

 

 

The dinner was catered by the same group as last year and the BBQ was delicious.

 

 

 

There was a feast for the dinner attendees. And of course, there was the beer. New Belgium’s Shift Lager to be specific.

 

 

 

 

 

 Along with the food and the beer, the club also arrange for this guest speaker, John Kimmich from The Alchemist Brewery in Waterbury,VT.  He is the maker of Heady Topper, also known as the number one beer in the world.  The reason it is one of the best beer is his company devotes all their time to creating this beer.  They do not make any other product in pursuit of perfecting this IPA. However, John stated that they are experimenting with a few new selections to keep the inspiration and creative juices flowing.  Heady Topper is his main focus though and is always being developed further.

 

 

Needless to say, this beer was truly amazing.

 

 

 

It looks like liquid gold and tastes, as Husband describes, it is one of the most complex beers he has ever tasted. The nose has a cornucopia of tropical fruits such as pineapple and pink grapefruit.  The body was of a cream ale texture.  The finish was of slightly bittered hops but not overpowering the other complex flavors.  Simply glorious, husband states that it was like having a unicorn dancing on his palate.

 

 

 

 

 So pretty.

 

 

 

 

As you could imagine, I was extremely jealous. Unfortunately, I had to prepare for my exam, and Husband had to drink the best beer in the world.  Seems like a fair trade.

 

 

 

 

Husband has found his beer crush.  I had never seen him so smitten or seen him act so shy.  The following day, he had to opportunity to offer a taste of his beer to this beer god, and he would not do it.  He was too intimidated.  Perhaps, when we go to Vermont to get some Heady Topper, he can bring his brews and try again.

 

 

The next morning, I spent three hours taking my comprehensive exam.  I wrote until my hand went numb and still kept going.  After my brain had been warped into mush, I went home and prepared for the brew-off.

 

 

 

 

Though we debated about bringing any of our own brews, we decided to bring three: the new Black Tripel, the Tripel, and the Stout.

 

 

The best part of the Brew-Off is getting to sample the inebriating offerings from all the other clubs that come.  The Music City Brewers Club has a station of course.  They had an IPA and an ESB to share, and Husband’s brews, too.

 

 

 

This club is from Clarksville.  My favorite of theirs was a strawberry wit made from 10 pounds of real strawberries.  It had the best finish of light strawberry flavor. They also had a Sour Cherry ale which was quite tasty.

 

This club is called the Misfits of Brewing Science.  They had, by far, the coolest taps. This set up was handmade by the club members.  What is interesting about this club is that there is no central locations.  The group is made of an amalgamation of members from across the state. My favorite offering of theirs was a chocolate, toasted coconut peanut butter stout.  Yep, it was delicious.  It was called the candy bar stout, and I could have enjoyed many servings of these.

 

 

The last club other that the Music City Brewers was the Mid-State Brew Crew from Murfreesboro.   They won many of the metals, but funnily enough, they did not have very many I enjoyed compared to the other offerings.  Winning is all about being true to style and has little to do with the taste of the beer. This club has brewing to style down.

 

After we tried many of the beers, it was time for the raffle drawing and the awards ceremony.  As always, as the evening progressed, the harder it was to give away the prizes and awards.

 

 

 

The was the $1 raffle ticket table.

 

 

 

This was the $5 ticket table.

 

 

 

 

After many rounds of awards and raffle ticket winners, Husband’s number got called.

 

 

 

 

We got a major award, also known as a growler carrier.   It was the only prize we got for the evening, but that was okay we would love it as if it was our own.  Our scores were higher than last year and the feedback was invaluable as always.  Husband may never win, though because he is too stubborn to brew to style.  He would much rather brew to his own taste and create crazy fusions between beer styles. His new Black Tripel is a prime example of that but is very delicious and addictive. Perhaps one day his taste and the style will align, but he wouldn’t be the mad scientist if he did that.

 

 

Then it was time for more tasting, and Husband could not resist setting up a station to serve his beer.

 

 

 

 

 

This was a beer judge who was obsessed with the Black Tripel.  He actually tried to steal the growler.  We took it as a high compliment, as we chased him down to retrieve our precious brew.

 

 

 

 

 

He also got to share and chat with some of our friends from the Music City Brewers Club.  Here they are comparing notes on the judges score sheet.

 

 

 

 

 

This is one of the big winners.  He loves Husband’s beers, and it seems inevitable that they end up in a circular conversation about brewing.  It is always entertaining and informative.

 

 

In addition to the socializing and the beer sampling, there were also beer experiments.

 

 

 

This group was taking all the dredges from all the beer to create a new sour beer.

 

 

 

 

 

Looks yummy.  This could end up wonderful or awful, but either way it will be fun.

 

 

It was about this time that I completely ran out of energy.  I have given everything I had and now I needed a nap.  Plus, I discovered pleather leggings and a room full of tipsy beer enthusiasts equals interesting interactions.  While I slept the night away, Husband continue to sample and socialize.

 

 

 

The evening was truly wonderful.  We only had one casualty in the way of this beer tasting glass from last year.  If you know my Husband’s obsession with glassware, you will realize that this is a big deal.  So R.I.P. little friend, I am so sorry my husband broke you with his face.

 

 

A little bruise and a lot exhausted, we left the event and headed home.  I went on to pass my comps and Husband went on to brew another day.